GREENFIELD — Approximately 283 beats later, it was time for Shyanne Milne to go to the hospital.
After finishing in 13th at the IHSAA State Diving Championship as a junior, Milne had hopes of a summer filled with club swimming and fine tuning — all in anticipation of a third consecutive state run in her final season as a Greenfield-Central Cougar.
That is, until lingering issues became much worse.
Before high school, Milne began experiencing a faster heartbeat than normal. At first, she said, when she was 14 years old, doctors thought it might be asthma. Originally, the increased beats might last only five minutes. Then 10. Then it was 15 minutes. It became a normal part of her day.
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For Milne, 18, gaining a heart rate of more than 200 beats per minute while diving would not be uncommon. But for it to climb that high while she was lying down was a major cause for concern. And it all happened at school almost two months ago, forcing Milne to visit the nurse with her heart leaping out of her chest — beating nearly 300 times per minute.
“They called an ambulance,” Milne said. “The nurse was really freaked out about it. It literally felt like someone was sitting on you, it was so hard to breathe.”
A visit to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis revealed Milne had Reentrant Supraventricular Tachycardias (SVT). According to Milne, her heart had more electrical pathways than needed, which caused impulses to continuously move. The end result, called reentry, can lead to a very fast heart rate and a short circuit of sorts.
On the first day of diving practice this year (Oct. 24), rather than jumping in the pool with teammates, Milne underwent a six-hour surgery. Doctors snaked through the arteries in her legs with catheters and moved up into her heart. The overall goal, Milne said, was to burn and eliminate the extra paths.
“I had two or three pathways when you should have one,” she said. “I had little ones branching out, the heart rate would get caught in there and make it race. (The doctor) left a little one during the surgery, but it hasn’t bothered me yet.
“After the surgery, I had bruises up to my hips and almost down to my knees. I wore my blue suit the first day back, and it made them pop out.”
Now, although still rather high for an athlete, Milne’s heart rate is 107 times per minute. And with a toughness learned from gymnastics, which she was active in for 13 years prior to diving, Milne is already back in the pool and almost up to par with her scores from last season. In all, she missed just one week of practice.
The other lingering issue — a nagging stress fracture in her right knee — kept Milne from swimming club this past summer as the senior spent a month on crutches and more time in physical therapy. Mix that with her heart surgery, and Milne has every reason to be behind. Somehow, though, she continues to persevere.
She’s become accustomed to hospitals, too, she said, and didn’t mind taking her own IV out before leaving for home. Milne also had surgery to remove a cyst in her wrist two years ago.
“Gymnasts work through injuries a lot of the time, and I think it was just second nature for her,” said Greenfield-Central head diving coach Duane Knecht, who dove for the Cougars in high school and at Ball State University in college.
After learning to dive as a freshman, Milne, despite some bad luck physically, has noticeably improved each season. Her score at state increased 273 points in just a year’s time. She failed to make it past the preliminary round (31st overall) as a sophomore, then finished in the 13th spot as a junior, cruising past the prelims in ninth place.
As a junior, Milne won the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet and finished in third at the New Palestine Sectional. She went on to place in seventh at the Plainfield Regional.
This season, the 5-foot-6 Milne — per usual — is taking care of business. She won both the Turkey Breast Invitational and a dual meet with Franklin Central.
She said she has yet to attempt a back double, though, and similar dives due because of a lack of spring her in step. Those dives require a certain amount of height. Nonetheless, her score against Franklin Central was just five points shy of her personal record (six dives), she said.
“We are really trying to refine things, work on her entries,” Knecht added. “With a hurt knee, you can’t press much.”
At season’s end, when 11 dives become the norm, a top-eight finish for a spot on the podium at state is the ultimate goal. Just one bad dive can ruin one’s day in a hurry, however.
With missing time, Knecht explained, Milne was unable to add new dives to her arsenal. Although her bag of tricks can get the job done, she has little margin for error and must remain sharp and consistent.
The numbers are in her favor, though, as five of the 12 girls who finished ahead of her at state last year graduated from high school. However, as Knecht points out, that doesn’t account for freshmen or athletes like Milne, who make a big leap from one season to the next.
“All it takes is one slip-up, and you could get cut the first round,” he said. “There is no guarantee. She has to be on.”
If she can stay healthy, Milne is more than capable of swimming at the Division I level regardless of her finish at state, Knecht said. She has received interest from the University of Indianapolis and IUPUI, to name a few.
But with the time she’s missed, Milne knows there is still plenty of work to be done.
“I am trying to dive in college,” she said. “My first choice is UIndy. I just have to come in and work harder. I know I haven’t reached my full potential yet.”
Shyanne Milne, Greenfield-Central
Last Season: Milne won the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet and finished in third at the sectional, seventh at the regional and 13th at state.
Big Jump: Finished with a 126.70 at state as a sophomore and a 399.75 as a junior
Other Interests: Crime documentaries, “CSI” and working with special needs students at Greenfield-Central
Family: Mother, Debra Pennington; Five older brothers