MUSCATINE, Iowa–For Abby Lear, swimming represents a family tradition. “My interest started when I was very young, as my family has been involved with swimming for many generations,” she shared: “My Great Grandpa was the one who really encouraged me to do swimming, as he was a coach for many, many years. My Great Aunt Muffy and Grandma Julie also had a big part in helping me start my swimming career, as they were involved in swimming for a long time, too.” Now, Abby has added her own chapter to this history by earning the title of 2020 Mississippi Valley Conference Swimmer of the Year.
A swimmer her whole life, Abby first started to compete at the age of six on the Muscatine Community Y’s team. Now a junior in high school, Abby swims for both the Muscatine High School team and Davenport Metro, a club USA swim team. Currently, Abby most enjoys competing in 50 and 100 meter freestyle, some of the most challenging swim events. Her coach, Judd Anderson, explained that winners typically lead by only hundredths of seconds and that as little as half a second can separate first and last place.
Along with enjoying the challenge of the sport, Abby enjoys the strong bond she shares with her fellow teammates. “I have friends that I get to compete with, as well as against, around Iowa through club and high school,” she said. “It is very fun having them around, and getting to practice and go to meets is something I always look forward to.”
During her first three years in high school, Abby has distinguished herself many times. She has competed in the state meet for both her teams each year. She has also earned a spot on the first all-conference and all-district teams for her individual events. Along with earning all-conference swimmer of the year, Abby also earned fourth place in both 50 and 100 meter freestyle at state and secured a spot on the all-state second team for each.
When Abby learned the MAC named her swimmer of the year, she felt both elated and a little shocked. “I was very surprised that I received such an amazing honor, but I am very thankful that I did,” she said. She also expressed thanks to everyone who has helped her improve her swimming. “I couldn’t have gotten where I am without my family, my high school team, high school coaches Judd, Ellen, and Triscia, as well as my club team, and club coach Ramsey Vens.”
Anderson took pride in her achievement as well. “It’s not something that’s conferred lightly–it takes a lot of hard work,” he emphasized, adding: “It’s kind of nice when the kids are recognized by the other schools and coaches. She’s an outstanding athlete.”
As a junior, Abby looks forward to one more year of high school competition. After she graduates, she hopes to continue swimming at the collegiate level and to study nursing.