Arielle Aney: More Than an Athlete

The Spectator honors the athletic accomplishments of the late Arielle Aney (‘20).

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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By The Editorial Board

In her four years at Stuyvesant, Arielle Aney left behind an incomparable legacy, reigniting the Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity swim team, the Penguins, while leaving her mark on everyone she met. Arielle’s swimming dominance was matched only by her genuine, humble character, and her legacy at Stuyvesant will be forever cherished. Since her freshman year at Stuyvesant, Arielle swam competitively in the PSAL and as a member of the Y Flying Dolphins swim team at the 92nd Street Y. Under the wings of Penguins head coach Silvana Choy and YFD head coach Amine Boubsis, Arielle transformed into a star swimmer through her hard work and dedication. She won accolades for her PSAL and YFD performances and brought the Penguins––who were already a historically dominant team––to unprecedented heights. While Arielle was deservedly recognized for her countless achievements, she quickly attributed them to the team as a whole and will be remembered for the unique character she brought to Stuyvesant. She was an inspiration to her teammates, both in and out of the pool, for the unrelenting work ethic and perseverance she brought to every practice and meet. Even with her unparalleled success, Arielle remained incredibly modest and never failed to put her team first. The praise she received from coaches, teammates, and teachers alike extended far beyond the pool. Each recognized the humility and energy that characterized her as an incredible teammate. While undoubtedly an inspiration as a swimmer, her influence extended to all aspects of her life. Join us as we trace her footsteps in a journey that changed the world of Stuyvesant athletics forever.

Arielle joined the team in her freshman year but had swam for many years prior, beginning her swimming career at the age of seven. Though moves to Singapore and Australia were a change of pace, swimming followed Arielle everywhere she went. “I swam everywhere I lived. It’s kind of nice that it’s such a universal sport,” Arielle said. Upon her return to New York in 2016, Arielle brought her craft to Stuyvesant. In a freshman year shortened by her club commitments, Arielle consistently finished second or third––in a pool of mostly seniors––in her meets. When Arielle re-joined the team in her sophomore year, she saw immediate success––ending her first full PSAL year by winning Rookie of the Year, her first of many accolades. Swimming for the Y Flying Dolphins always kept her busy, with Arielle competing in nine ranked meets in New York, New Jersey, and even a trip down to North Carolina. Through these meets, Arielle established her dominance, consistently being the Flying Dolphins’ best swimmer and in the top 10 across a variety of events. Though Arielle swam just as well in both national and high school level competitions, she had a strong preference for swimming alongside her fellow Penguins. “One of my favorite things about [high school] swimming is the team aspect. The best way to make sure a team gets better is to lift everyone up and make sure you’re all working [toward] the same goal. There’s something wonderful about that. I think it makes you work just a little bit harder,” Arielle said.

In her final year as a Penguin, Arielle shone as always, placing first in all but four races, the rest of which she placed second. She had numerous achievements that year, from winning Most Valuable Player in the PSAL for a second time, to winning the Francine Schnarr Memorial Award for Outstanding Senior Swimmer, to qualifying for New York State Championships in the 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay, 100 freestyle, and 200 freestyle. The team as a whole performed exceptionally well, sending multiple swimmers with Arielle to state championships and winning the PSAL “A” Championship for the third time in a row.

During her time as a student-athlete, Arielle sent shockwaves through the swimming and Stuyvesant worlds. Her grit and determination brought her a plethora of awards, but her impact was far more powerful than that. She cared deeply about the team that surrounded her, always staying after practice to help teammates perfect their strokes. She always took the last pick of the available races, choosing to fill whatever role the team needed most. She prioritized her team’s achievements over her own. Even with the burden of high expectations as both a swimmer and a student, she took those expectations in stride. Her incredible talent led her to be recruited by Carnegie Mellon University, and though her swim career was paused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and her cancer diagnosis shortly after, Arielle competed until the last stroke. She was an emblem of student-athletes, one that balanced colossal academic workloads with sports practice and games. Arielle was one of us, but also all of us. Her story draws empathy from the thousands of student-athletes that have walked Stuyvesant’s halls. So as her journey concludes, we thank Arielle for gracing Stuyvesant as a swimmer, a student, and most importantly, a friend.


Francine Schnarr Memorial Award for Outstanding Senior Swimmer in the Public School Athletic League (2019-2020)

Rookie of the Year (2017-2018)

MVP (2018-2019, 2019-2020)

Qualified for NY State Championships (2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020)

PSAL “A” Champions (2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020)

Spectrum News NY1 Scholar Athlete (2020)

USA Swimming AAA Status for Freestyle

Recruited by Carnegie Mellon University for Swimming and Diving Team