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Overcoming A Near-Fatal Bicycle Crash

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Courtesy of Annie Chapman Brewer
Guillermo Romano Ibarra at Lake McBride State Park. Ibarra is a part of the medical scientist training programming at the University of Iowa and the swim group ICOWS, which stands for Iowa City Open Water Swimmers.

Guillermo Romano Ibarra came to eastern Iowa in the summer of 2019 to be part of the University of Iowa Medical Scientist Training Program. The rigorous seven or eight years of study results in an M.D. and a Ph.D.

Before that, Guillermo was living in Seattle when he started thinking about attending medical school. Iowa attracted him for a couple of reasons. His mother attended the University of Iowa and there were plenty of opportunities to continue an active lifestyle.

Guillermo says he’s always gravitated to more technical sports like swimming and cycling. Back when Guillermo lived in the Pacific Northwest, he helped coach a Paralympic swim team of disabled athletes called The Shadow Seals. He also enjoys weightlifting and running.

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River to River host Ben Kieffer (left) and Guillermo Romano Ibarra (right) at Lake McBride State Park.

When Guillermo moved to Iowa City to begin medical school, he found an apartment he fell in love with.

"And it was this beautiful 19-teens building," said Ibarra, "brick on the outside and hardwood floors, and you had these arches inside ... There was a spiral staircase in the back and I loved that apartment."

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River to River host Ben Kieffer (left) and Guillermo Romano Ibarra (right) in the water after a swim at Lake McBride State Park.

Soon after settling into his new apartment in Iowa City, Guillermo rode part of Iowa’s famous RAGBRAI bike ride across the state with some friends. From there, he began to discover more trails in the area. Cycling was becoming a refuge for Guillermo. It was a nice change of pace from the demanding rigor of medical school.

On August 28, 2019, Guillermo took his high-performance road bike in for maintenance. Right after the tune-up, he decided to set out on a ride in the country on a beautiful late summer evening. The plan was to head south from Iowa City toward the town of Lone Tree. Little did he know, when he locked his door behind him, it would be the last time he would set foot in that apartment.

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River to River host Ben Kieffer (left) and Guillermo Romano Ibarra (right) in the water after a swim at Lake McBride State Park.

Water has the power to heal. That's why host Ben Kieffer met Ibarra at Lake MacBride on this special edition of River to River.

Guest:

  • Guillermo Romano Ibarra, medical student, Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Rick Brewer is a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River