US Open Qualifier Brayden Henkel Sends Commitment to Wisconsin

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Sprint specialist Brayden Henkel of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Piranhas has committed to swim at the University of Wisconsin, joining the Badgers’ class of 2027.

I’m extremely excited to announce my verbal commitment to swim and study at the University of Wisconsin. I’d like to thank the coaching staff for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I’d also like to thank my family, friends, and coaches across the globe who have supported me throughout this journey. Go Badgers, and ON WISCONSIN!!

Henkel, representing Albany Academy, is the 2022 New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) state champion in the 100 breaststroke (54.88) and runner-up in the 50 freestyle (20.94). Henkel was also a two-time champion at the 2022 Adirondack Gold Short Course Championships, where he topped the podium in both the 100 (55.79) and 200 (2:06.76) yard breaststroke. He also notched a 9th-place finish in the 100 fly at the Adirondack Gold Short Course Championships. Prior to the competition, Henkel’s best time in the 100 fly stood at a 55.50 from 2019. In prelims, Henkel improved to a 55.09, only to blast a 51.67 in the finals, lowering his time in the race by nearly 4 seconds in a single competition.

Top SCY Times

  • 50 Free — 20.90
  • 100 Free — 46.71
  • 100 Breast — 54.88
  • 200 Breast — 2:06.76
  • 100 Fly — 51.67

Henkel could have placed in the ‘C’ finals of both the 100 and 200 breaststroke the 2022 Big Ten Championships. Overall, Wisconsin had 2 men score points the men’s 100 breaststroke and 3 score in the 200 breaststroke at the 2022 Big Ten Championships. Henkel will have a good breaststroke group to train with at Wisconsin, including William Myhre, Matthew Segal, Truman Teduits, and Eli Fouts. Mhyre racked up 36 points between the 100 and 200 breaststroke at Big Tens, while Caleb Aman brought in 27 points in the 200 breaststroke with a 3rd-place finish. Aman, who was a senior during the 2021-2022 season, has not indicated that he is returning in 2023 as a 5th-year student-athlete.

Henkel’s 100 breaststroke time from 2022 would have ranked him 5th on Wisconsin’s team for the 2021-2022 season. His front-end speed in the event could also make him a relay asset on the 200 and 400 medley relays in future seasons.

Henkel has shown promising improvement year-over-year in the 100 yard breaststroke, taking nearly 5 seconds off of his time over the previous 4 years. As a 15-year-old, Henkel won the 100 breaststroke at the 2021 Speedo Sectional Championships, held in Christiansburg, VA, earning a Futures cut in the process. At the same meet, Henkel placed 5th in the 200 yard breaststroke (2:07.71) and 9th in the 50 freestyle, swimming under the Futures cuts in each of those races as well.

The New York Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) state record in the 100 breaststroke stands at a 53.94, set in 2019 by Jason Louser, who currently swims at Cal and is one of their top performers in breaststroke and IM. Henkel is now within 1 second of Louser’s state record, and at his current rate of improvement, he has a shot at lowering it before he finishes his senior season.

100 Yard Breaststroke Improvement

2019 2020 2021 2022
59.81 58.54 56.38 54.88

Joining Henkel as members of Wisconsin’s class of 2027 will be Isaac FleigNathan WelkerLuukas VainioLance Swanepoel, and Jack Madoch. Henkel is the first true breaststroker in Wisconsin’s class of 2027, with the class also containing butterfly, freestyle, and backstroke specialists.

The Wisconsin men earned a 4th place finish at the 2022 Big Ten Conference Championships under head coach Yuri Suguiyama.

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About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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