MUSCATINE, Iowa–Competitive swimming has played a significant role in Muscatine native Erin Gould’s life. “As soon as I could swim across the pool, at age six or seven, my parents signed me up for Y swimming,” she recalled: “I remember really enjoying swim meets and being very competitive. There was a large group of kids around my age who excelled in the sport, and that made traveling to state and regionals something I looked forward to each season.”
After years of swimming at the Muscatine Community Y, Gould joined the varsity swim team at Muscatine High School, where her impressive backstroke skills took her to the state swim meet every year. “My proudest accomplishment while swimming for MHS was qualifying for the state meet all four years in the same event, 100 back,” she shared. “I was typically on a state qualifying medley relay as the backstroke leg too.”
Gould graduated from Muscatine High School in 2004 and went to Western Illinois University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in business management. During that time, she continued swimming competitively. She considers the time she spent with her college swim team some of the best of her college career. “It wasn’t easy to be a collegiate student-athlete, and from that experience, I learned valuable time management skills, and I also learned a lot about myself,” she said. “I was challenged at every practice and landed a few spots in the top 10 fastest times in school history, including second in the 200 back in 2008.”
Gould now works at the Stanley Center for Peace and Security as an executive assistant and lives with her husband and son, Lorin and Lincoln Gould. In her free time, she coached swimming at the Muscatine Community Y and found she especially liked working with the upper elementary and junior high school swimmers. “I enjoyed coaching the youth team for the Y and always connected well with the older kids in the 11-up age group,” she explained.
When Muscatine swim legend Judd Anderson announced his retirement from coaching girls’ swimming, she welcomed the chance to maintain the program he put so much care and hard work into. “Having swam for the outgoing coach who dedicated his life to this program, I saw the opportunity to honor his legacy while bringing a fresh perspective to the Muskie pool deck.”
As a new coach, Gould knows she has big shoes to fill. “There will be a learning curve for me, the assistant coach, and the girls, and I hope that we can overcome these challenges together, knowing there will be some trial and error,” she acknowledged.
Still, Gould feels hopeful for the season ahead and looks forward to the growth and positive experience the team will have. “My top priority is making sure the girls have the right foundation to build their confidence and see their own potential.”
The Muscatine High School girls’ varsity swim team will welcome a new assistant coach, Reese Kilburn. Kilburn swam on the boys’ varsity swim team, attending the state swim meet twice before graduating from Muscatine High School in 2015. Kilburn earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and now teaches level three special education at Susan Clark Junior High School.