"Amazing Iowa Athletes" Highlights Accomplishments of Iowans

From ice skating to ultimate frisbee, the new children's book "Amazing Iowa Athletes" highlights both prominent and little-known Iowa athletes who have accomplished extraordinary feats. 

Author Katy Swalwell joins Talk of Iowa to discuss the A to Z  guide published by Raygun.  Illustrations by a range of Iowa artists, sponsored by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, line the pages.

Swalwell says the book features anyone who has spent time and accomplished great things in Iowa as well as athletes who were born here but moved elsewhere to compete. 

"Everyone in the book has a very deep connection to and love for Iowa for sure," Swalwell says.

She says she focused on athletes from a wide variety of sports and backgrounds so that children feel represented while learning something new. 

During the podcast of this episode of Talk of Iowa, we also hear from some of the athletes featured in the book. Jen Loeb, the first Iowa woman to summit Mount Everest, is the first athlete featured in the book. She describes her experiences climbing the tallest mountains in the world.

Ice skater and 2019 U.S. Pairs National Champion Timothy DeLuc talks about the significance of his experience coming out as gay, and his partner, Ashley Cain-Gribble, reveals how she has dealt with body shaming while competing on the world stage. 

Later on, Barbara Stinson talks about her new role as the president of the World Food Prize.


  • Katy Swalwell, author,  ISU associate professor of education 
  • Jen Loeb, mountain climber, humanitarian
  • Timothy LeDuc, ice skater, 2019 US Pairs National Champion, and 2019 World Team Trophy Champion
  • Ashley Cain-Gribble, ice skater, 2019 US Pairs National Champion, and 2019 World Team Trophy Champion
  • Barbara Stinson, World Food Prize president