Athlete of the Week: Bridget Heartlein

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Ethan Cost, sports writer

Bridget Heartlein, freshman, managed to shave six seconds off her best time in the 500 meter freestyle event at the Parkway South Invite Jan. 16-17, but came just short of qualifying for state. But the Pioneers, who took fourth at the competition, are more important to her.

“Even though it’s like a one-person sport, it’s really about the team,” Heartlein said. “ You always want to do your best for the team.”

Along with achieving her personal best, she was able to help her team greatly despite placing ninth among her competitors. According to Matt Beasley, head girls’ swim and dive coach, Heartlein was able to capture some points for KHS and was the first person that came to his mind in terms of making an impression recently.

“She’s had such a great work ethic,” Beasley said. “You don’t hear her complain. She just kind of shows up everyday and puts in the work and then does everything that I ask her to do.”

Heartlein has been swimming since she was 10 years old. She currently swims for a local St. Louis team, FAST (Flyers Aquatic Swim Team). Beasley mentioned being part of a club team can lead to a “me mentality,” but it has not affected Heartlein in the least.

“She has not missed a beat as far as being a part of our team,” Beasley said. “She really gets the team-first mentality.”

Heartlein was so pumped and nervous for the event that she based the story she was writing in English on swimming the 500. But she said the nervousness disappears every time she steps onto the starting block.

“When I dive in the water, I start smiling,” Heartlein said.