PHOENIX, Arizona, November 29. SARAH Henry joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show shortly after turning heads at the Phill Hansel Invite with a stunning time in the 500 freestyle.
Henry, a sophomore at Texas A&M University, relives the experience of nearly breaking the NCAA record in the 500 free, how she prepared for the meet and how her performances there are causing her and head coach Steve Bultman to reshape her season goals. Though the Texas A&M women's team is gaining publicity largely in part to the appearances by Breeja Larson and Cammile Adams at the Olympics, Henry is glad to finally be able to step up and contribute after redshirting last year to repair a torn ligament in her knee. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Tiffany Elias: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, November 29th 2012. I am your host Tiffany Elias. Our guest in the FINIS Monitor is proving to be another threat on the Texas A&M roster. Sarah Henry has already posted a mid-season time that not only would have won NCAA's last year, but came very close to the NCAA record. Joining us from College Station, Sarah, welcome to the show.
Sarah Henry: Hi. Thanks for having me.
Tiffany: Well you are off to a great start this season. Still quite a bit to go before we reach NCAA's, but posting some remarkable times, good job.
Sarah: Thank you very much.
Tiffany: So in particular let's talk about your 500 freestyle performance at the Houston Invite. Now you were 4:33 and this is at a mid season meet. Let's just put this into perspective. Haley Anderson won NCAA's in a 4:34 last year. Now we didn't see Allison Schmitt in that event, but she does hold the record at 4:32. What are your thoughts at being 4:33 at this point in the season?
Sarah: I am just very excited. It was quite a surprise for me when I touched the wall and looked at the scoreboard but going into Christmas training now I have to sit down with Steve and reevaluate my goals a little bit, but it will just keep me going when things get hard in the next coming months and hopefully I will faster at the end of the year but I am not worried about placing. I just want to go best time so okay.
Tiffany: So you said that you were shocked when you saw your time, what was your goal going into the event?
Sarah: Our goal for the meet was just to try to get invited to NCAA's and so I was going for an A cut, but by the end of the season my season goal was a 36 so I have to look at that again.Tiffany: Wow, definitely going the need to reevaluate. How much would you say you are rested for that meet?
Sarah: We came down a little bit on that Monday and then — but we still had doubles and on Tuesday we had one practice so we went back up a little bit but it was a good rest and on Wednesday we went to the meet and did a meet warm up and then got ready to go on Thursday so it was a good rest, but it definitely wasn't anywhere close to what we would do for an conference meet or NCAA's.
Tiffany: That has to be extremely motivating so definitely need to reevaluate those goals now that you crushed it. Like you said you just want to go at best time. Do you have any thoughts of what that might be around now or do you need to talk to Steve about that a little bit more?
Sarah: I really need — I need to talk to Steve and I think I have been underestimating my abilities recently, so especially after the summer I have a little more confidence in myself and set no limitations so we would give it a go and whatever works up into the season works, but I still have 2 years after this year.
Tiffany: Well what is interesting with 2 years left you actually redshirted last year, so why did you take that year off?
Sarah: Well tore my ACL and MCL and meniscus after my junior year in high school and then after my freshman year at A&M I re-tore it, and it was terrible so I had to go through the whole procedure again and get reconstructive surgery and it just was the decision, personal decision and at that time I sat down with Steve and talked about it and I thought it was in my best intention to take the year and recover
.Tiffany: Well based of what you have already done. It sounds like that was probably a good plan.
Tiffany: You have been able to fly under the radar now with Texas A&M getting so much attention from Breeja and Camille after the Olympics, do you feel like you have been able to just fly under the radar and now it is your chance to step up there and show what you are able to do?
Sarah: I have. I think — well they got a lot of attention for good reason and I was sitting in the background you know I have to go to the meets last year so I would come in and do a little extra cardio and stuff and so the hard work is definitely there. It was incredibly disappointing that I had to redshirt the year and started all over rebuilding muscle and stuff but I am just ready to let go and see what happens so, so far so good.
Tiffany: Are you back to full speed as far as strength goes in the water? Do you feel like you have healed from your procedures or is there still a bit of rehab going on?
Sarah: Well since my second ACL, I am going to have chronic knee pain, so there is always the pain that is there and my range of motion in my knee isn't back. It wasn't back for the first surgery and it definitely is way worse than it was for the second one so my breaststroke has taken a little bit of a hit but I have to — you know I can't do a lot of starts during practice and I am not allowed to run stadiums and like I have to modify things so that I don't get any so that I don't re-tear anything again but they are really careful with that, but it is close to full percent, but it will never be a 100% again.
Tiffany: Well maybe what is helping is something that A&M is putting in the water because you guys have been doing phenomenal over the past year and really making a name for yourself, and now after the Olympics and now proving that you guys have more depth to your roster so it is a really great thing that you have been able to step up during these mid-season meets.
Sarah: Yeah, I am glad to be back and we are excited for this year.
Tiffany: So transitioning into the SEC, you have one conference meet under your belt. You sat out last year, but I would have to assume that the emotions going into the SEC conference have got to be a little bit different than before. What is that like on your team?
Sarah: Well, anxious and excited going into SECs this year it's at home so people are going to be really, really nervous and as long as we keep those nerves in check and feed into our atmosphere. It is just going to be a great experience and is going to be so much fun.
Tiffany: So you think you will be nervous for a whole meet or do you think that, that is really going to benefit your team?
Sarah: I think maybe like the first session we will be really nervous, but once we get our footing and we get going and it is just going to be lights our so and I am very excited to see what is going to happen.
Tiffany: Well I think the pride that and can bring with the students and also just being able to sleep in your own bed is a huge thing for these big meets. All right so looking ahead, you said you are going into Christmas training. Is there anything in particular that you really need to focus on in order to hopefully bring down that 500 time a little bit more?
Sarah: I think right now with finals coming up and exams and stuff, Christmas training I am going to refocus on getting enough sleep and eating correctly and since there is no class, taking that extra time to do some more cardio and some more stretching and Steve's great about being staying after practice if you want you can like work with your technique and stuff and since you have the extra time and not only that much time are beneficial in my racing this season.
Tiffany: Now you mentioned Steve. Why don't you just take a few minutes to talk about Steve as a coach. We have already heard so many great things from Breeja and Camille over the last couple of months and from all of his other swimmers. Tons of positive things to say about Steve, but personally how he has affected your swimming?
Sarah: Well, he is very down to Earth and I don't do very well with a coach that is in my face and yelling at me, so when I am training with Steve it is just positive reinforcement. I never get away with anything for stroke technique and stuff like that and he is really great about getting splits and the times and stuff like that so a great feedback all of the time and he doesn't hold your hand you know, like we are grown women so when I like made the decision to redshirt, it was pretty my decent in to talking about even racing is fine so he has been a great support with my decision for redshirting and then when I swim fast he has never – he doesn't you know let anyone's head get too big so he is just a great support system and just an absolute joy to swim for.
Tiffany: Well after your performance so far that has to be really positive reinforcement for the decision that you guys made to redshirt and another force to be reckon with on that Texas A&M team, so we are definitely excited to watch your team all the way through NCAA's and the next 2 years to come. Before we close I have read online that the worst job you ever had was coaching swim lessons, and I find that to be extremely funny because so many swimmers transition into the coaching. Is that not going to be on the agenda for you after you graduate?
Sarah: Oh, absolutely not. I am actually a physics major so I want to do research after I am done swimming so if you give me my own room with a closed door and a white board, I will be the happiest person alive so I don't really enjoy interacting with children or anything so I definitely — that will not be the route for me.
Tiffany: That is too funny. Well a closed off room is the opposite of a pool full of obnoxious kids so either way best of luck to you. We are excited for you this season and good job so far.
Sarah: Thank you very much.
Tiffany: Thanks Sarah. That is Sarah Henry in the FINIS Monitor. That will conclude today's Morning Swim Show. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the latest news. I am your host Tiffany Elias. Thanks for watching.
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