Setters Profile: Alexis Heiny

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JAMES MIRANDA , Sports Editor

In the past, Alexis Heiney won medals for her backflips in gymnastics. Now, she has taken those talents to the swimming pool, and her success has followed.

Heiney, a part of the Pace women’s swimming and diving team, is a multisport athlete who in her young diving career has accomplished a lot. She is no stranger to athletics and competition.

The Connecticut native began gymnastics when she was two and started soccer the year after. For most of her life she balanced both school and the two sports.

“Gymnastics taught me a lot of time management,” Heiney said. “[It also taught me] respect for the sport, for teammates, and for coaches.”

Gymnastics was her sport; she won countless medals. She stopped playing soccer to focus more on gymnastics, but that was halted by an injury that has become common to gymnasts: Osteochondritis Dissecans, which affected her left elbow.

“It happens with a lot of gymnasts,” said Heiney, who was a three-time state champion. “The bone started to chip and die. [The doctors] had to take out some of the dead bone; it was very painful and at one point I couldn’t even move my arm.”

She was advised to stop gymnastics, but the sports junkie needed a new outlet.

She discovered diving through a friend who was on her high school gymnastics team. Her friend had convinced Heiney to try out for the diving team with her. She tried out and was a natural at it.

“I did gymnastics until I was 16 and that really helped with diving,” Heiney said. “The high school season was short and I had to learn basic dives so I did it as fast as I could. I just got better and better. I really like the adrenaline of [diving] because if you make one wrong move you can fall and hit the water wrong and mess it all up.”

After her recruitment late in her senior year of high school, she decided Pace was the place for her. She fell in love with the people and personalities.

Upon arriving to Pace this year, she was one of many different faces on the team. She didn’t feel like an outsider, but most of her teammates were. There are 10 people from nine different countries collectively from both teams.

The Pace swimming and diving teams’ seasons have been the best in its history. They have enjoyed a plethora of talented rookies that have gone beyond expectations partially because of the teams coming together to form one cohesive unit.

“This year’s been really good for us and the team’s great,” Heiney said. “We’ve had a lot of team bonding, we really push for each other, and cheer for each other at meets a lot. We’re really there for each other.”

The formation of the team has resulted in success both individually and collectively. From Feb. 4 to 7, the swimming and diving teams competed at the Northeast-10 (NE-10) Championships. Both teams placed fourth, but they also broke 24 school records and were awarded eight medals.

Heiney won two medals in the championships—silver for the three-meter dive and a bronze for the one-meter dive.

“I’m very happy about the medals I’ve won this year,” said Heiney, who was named Setter of the Week on Feb. 8. “I’m glad that all the practicing paid off.”

However, Heiney’s lower back has been a pestering injury that is preventing her from competing in the Metropolitan Conference Championships on Feb. 19. However, she’ll be there to support her team in the sport she loves the most.

“[Diving represents me the most because] it’s where I ended up and where I want to be now,” Heiney said.