Sarah Henry was born January 13, 1992 to parents Brian and Nanette Henry in Newmarket, Ontario. She swam at West Johnston High School in Benson, N.C., where she won three state titles in three different events, the 100 yard butterfly, 200 yard freestyle, and 500 yard freestyle. Henry was named North Carolina Swimmer of the Year as well as Greater Neuse Swimmer of the Year throughout high school. She swam club at the Raleigh Swimming Association. As an extremely versatile swimmer, she headed to college with a number of very impressive times, but her specialty since high school has been mid/long distance free and IM. Before her freshman year at Texas A&M, Henry boasted 1:45-4:40-9:38-16:04 freestyle times as well as 1:57-4:07 IM times. Each of these times earned her National cuts, and she also achieved cuts in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke and 100 and 200 yard butterfly.
Henry did not hold back any after high school; in her first year as an Aggie, she broke school records in the 1650 yard freestyle and 400 yard Individual Medley and earned an NCAA ‘A’ cut and three NCAA ‘B’ cuts. The ‘A’ cut was in the 400 IM, where she placed 6th overall. She earned individual ‘B’ cuts in the 500 free and 1650 free and placed 13th and 15th, respectively, in these events at the 2011 NCAA Championships. As a part of the Aggies’ 800 yard freestyle relay, Henry earned another ‘B’ cut, which placed 12th overall. Prior to the NCAA Champs, Henry placed 2nd in the 500, 1650, and 800 relay and won the 400 IM at the 2011 Big 12 Championships.
Henry suffered an ACL tear in the spring of 2011. Despite this being the second time tearing the same ACL, Henry worked hard in rehab and recovered quickly to compete at the 2012 US Open and the Olympic Trials, posting a very impressive post-injury 7th place in the 400 IM at Trials.
In the 2012-13 season, Henry continued to get faster and stronger, earning herself an impressive report card going into the 2013 NCAA Championships– All ‘A’ cuts in her signature events, the 500, 1650, and 400 IM as well as on the Aggies’ 800 relay. Texas A&M moved to the SEC after Henry’s freshman season, and she dominated the 2013 SEC Championships with wins in the 500 and 1650 and 3rd place in the 400 IM. At NCAAs, she upgraded to three A final swims, with the exception being a narrow miss in the 500 free, where she would end up placing 9th with a time of 4:36.53. Henry’s blistering time of 4:33.07 from the Phill Hansel Invitational in November of 2012 would have actually won her the NCAA title in the event by over a second and a half. That time earned her another of the Aggies’ school records. Henry topped the field in prelims of the 400 IM and was still able to place 6th and drop .15 in finals among the crowd of Olympians, including big names like Elizabeth Beisel and Caitlin Leverenz as well as teammate Cammile Adams. Henry anchored Texas A&M’s 5th place effort in the 800 relay, and on the final day of competition, nearly took down USC powerhouse Haley Anderson in the 1650. She finished in a time of 15:46.41, tenths off her school record-breaking performance (15:45.79) from her win at the SEC Champs.
Henry proved herself a tough competitor in the dominant SEC in her junior season, placing 5th in the 500 (4:36.53), 3rd in the 400 IM (4:03.90), 3rd in the 1650 (15:52.74), and anchor the Aggie 2nd place 800 free relay (1:43.42). Once again, Henry earned A cuts in all of her events, including the relay she anchored, and headed to NCAA’s with a very strong Texas A&M squad which included Olympians Cammile Adams and Breeja Larson. Henry didn’t improve upon her SEC 500 time at NCAA’s, but squeezed into the A final with an 8th place finish (4:37.80/4:37.01p). In her other individual events, however, she did drop significant time. In a stacked IM field, which included names like Elizabeth Beisel, Melanie Margalis, and Maya DiRado, Henry dropped time from her SEC performance, going 4:02.88 for 4th place for a personal best which re-broke her own school record from 2012. The same went for the 1650, where Henry whacked off ten big seconds from her SEC swim to touch at 15:42.44, also in 4th place. Henry’s anchor duties on the 800 free relay paid off for a 7th place finish overall. Her 1650 and 400 IM times were impressive personal bests in her second season after her ACL tear recovery.
Henry returned for her senior year in fall of 2014, and many of the IM studs from 2014 had graduated, she was likely the favorite to win an NCAA Championship in the IM. In arguably her best event, the 400 yard IM, Henry qualified for the championship heat at the 2015 NCAA Championships. After the first 200 yards, Henry didn’t have control of the lead and had to rely on her back-half to pull off a win. After suffering two ACL tears, and being told she should never swim breaststroke again, the stroke was ironically the reason she would go on to win the race. Henry pulled nearly to the front during the breaststroke leg, and swam home with all that she left holding off a charging Hali Flickinger. Nearly right after, Henry joined three other A&M teammates to race the 800 yard free relay, which took 4th overall. In addition to her medal-winning performance, Henry also took home a bronze in the 500 yard free, an event dominated by Virginia’s Leah Smith. She also just missed out on a bronze medal in the 1,650 yard free, when she touched the wall in 4th.
2012 Olympic Trials
Henry first posted big times on the national scale in the summer of 2012, a year after her 2nd ACL tear. At the 2012 Olympic Trials in Omaha, NE, she swam very well and rebounded impressively after her injury. Not only did she swim a huge schedule (800 meter freestyle, 400 meter individual medley and 200 meter butterfly), but she made it back for another swim in the 200 meter freestyle and went all the way to a 7th place finish in finals in the 400 IM. She placed 15th in the 200 free.
Henry continued to improve her long course swimming and posted great times at the 2012 US Open. In the 800 free, she dropped over five seconds from what she went at Trials, and placed 4th overall (8:26.39). She was just off her Trials time in the 400 free and took 8th at finals. This was the case again in the 400 IM, as Henry was less than two tenths off her Trials swim. After battling with USC’s Megan Hawthorne the entire race, she could not pull ahead and finished a close 2nd. After lowering her personal record in the 200 free in prelims under the 2:00 mark (1:59.54), Henry took her time down to 1:58.55, which earned her 3rd and was under the previous meet record mark. She avenged her loss to Hawthorne in the 400 IM and dropped almost three seconds from her prelims swim in the 200 meter individual medley to take the event.
2013 World University Games
Henry finally took home some hardware after the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia. Swimming the 200 and 400 IM for the US, she earned a silver in the 200 IM, improving .12 from her win at the 2012 US Open. She was 4:43 in the heats of the 400 IM but fell back to 4:46.02 for 7th in finals.
At the 2013 US Open, Henry began her schedule in the 800 free, dropping over 12 seconds from her seed time and almost beating Michigan Wolverine Gillian Ryan for the title. After topping the field in the 400 free with a new best of 4:08.93, she finished 4th in finals at 4:09.10. In the 400 IM, she again topped the field in a 4:42.35, and despite getting down to 4:40.85, just off her best, she was beat by Australia’s Kery McMaster and Cal’s Celina Li to take 3rd. Henry followed that up with a 2nd place finish behind Minnesota’s Kiera Janzen in the 200 free, just off her best again. Rounding out her meet was the 200 IM, where she placed 5th but added two seconds to her best.
2013 Duel in the Pool
Henry competed next at the 2013 Duel in the Pool, where the Americans won a thrilling battle against the Europeans by the slimmest of margins– one point. Henry herself swam the 200 and 400 IM, earning sixth place finishes in both events and gaining experience racing against some of the world’s best. She finished at 2:10.35 and 4:31.32, respectively, in the 200 and 400 IM. Note that these are SCM times.
2014 US Nationals
At the 2014 US Nationals, Henry swam to multiple top finishes. She was 8th in the 200 (1:59.05), 400 (4:12.15/4:11.19p), and 800 (8:32.42) freestyle events, and picked up a 6th place finish in the 400 IM (4:42.31/4:41.62p). She also placed 9th in the 200 IM (2:13.91).
–Originally developed by Karl Ortegon