Huntley’s Gavin Heard, who is legally blind, won all four events in the Athletes with Disabilities division at the IHSA Boys Swimming and Diving State Meet on Feb. 26.
Despite it being his first state experience, the Red Raiders senior took first in the 200 free (2:08.48), 50 free (26.44), 100 free (55.32) and 100 breaststroke (1:11.04). He swam all four years on the high school team, but this was his first time competing in AWD events.
“It’s so much different from regular meets because it’s more crowded and louder,” Heard said of the state experience. “It’s a different atmosphere. It was intimidating.”
For his standout performance at state, Heard was voted Northwest Herald Athlete of the Week by readers. He answered a few questions about making his state debut, what scares him, his favorite swimmers and more.
How did you get your start in swimming?
Heard: After trying many different sports, I decided to give swimming a try and found out that I really loved it and I was actually pretty good at it.
What was the best part about swimming at state?
Heard: Having the experience of swimming with other amazing swimmers was exciting.
What will you remember most about the state experience?
Heard: I will remember that I had an opportunity to go to state my senior year and proudly represent Huntley.
Where would you like to go most on a vacation?
Heard: I think Hawaii is a fabulous state in the United States. The weather is perfect, the swimming is wonderful and the beaches are beautiful. Hawaii would be my ideal vacation.
Who is your hero?
Heard: Michael Phelps is someone that I really respect and would like to model my swimming career after him.
What is your favorite class in school?
Heard: I like mathematics because it is very concrete and understandable.
What is something that scares you?
Heard: Going to college scares me. I feel that I will be starting all over again to learn the ropes and adjust to college life.
If you had one last meal to eat, what would be included?
Heard: Lou Malnati’s deep dish sausage pizza, cheeseballs and a Coke.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Heard: I was told that I could achieve anything that I put my mind to. Using that philosophy in swimming helped me succeed.
Who is your favorite professional athlete?
Heard: I like Caeleb Dressel, who is an American professional swimmer.
What is your most prized possession?
Heard: Besides my family, I like my newly acquired state medals and skateboard collection.