Submitted content courtesy of the IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis
A Carmel Swim Club member is going for gold in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games as she represents the Republic of Seychelles.
Alexus (Lexi) Laird, 23, has dual citizenship in the U.S. and the Seychelles, a small country of islands off the east coast of Africa.
Laird went to high school in Kokomo, Ind., and then went on to attend the IU Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, where she was a captain for IUPUI’s NCAA Division I swimming and diving team.
Laird graduated in December with double majors in accounting and finance and currently swims with the Carmel Swim Club.
It was several years ago when one of Laird’s coaches put the idea in her head that she could potentially swim for her mother’s home country. Her mother was born and raised in Seychelles, and after moving to Germany, she met and married Laird’s father, a member of the U.S. Air Force. Laird said when she swims for Seychelles, where many members of her family still live, she swims for her mother, who passed away when she was only 4 years old.
“I’m able to connect with her this way. My mother passed away when I was very young, and when you’re young, you don’t remember a lot of things. Swimming has brought me closer with my family there (in Seychelles), and they’ve become a big part of my life,” Laird said. “I’ve heard so many stories about my mother. She was a sweet woman and so caring.
“The girls who I swim with in Seychelles, many of their mothers were friends with my mom. To be able to honor her in this way is awesome.”
Laird’s swimming career with the Seychelles National Team has taken off over the past couple years. She’s set multiple national records for the small island nation in backstroke and freestyle events. She’ll swim the 100-yard backstroke in Rio.
Laird said, above all, the ability to reconnect with family in Seychelles, especially those who knew her mother well, has meant so much. The most important part, she said, has been honoring her mother’s memory and learning more about her mom from those who were close to her growing up.
“This is a chance of a lifetime,” she said. “I’ll never forget the moments I shared with those closest to my mom, and I can’t wait for the moments at the Olympic Games.”