Bryan Henry – Special Olympics Swimmer

If there is one thing that the Apex High School Cougars can rally behind it is sports. Apex has a rich tradition of strong competition in sports throughout the years, as well as a strong student support for our athletic teams. On July 1-6 a former Cougar will line up with the hope of  Olympic Gold in his eyes.

Bryan Henry is a former Apex High Cougar, but more importantly he is a Special Olympics USA Games swimmer. On July 1-6, the Special Olympics will take place, and Bryan Henry will compete. He will be travelling with sixty-one other athletes to Seattle, Washington, and he will be competing with three other athletes from NC in swimming. I had an extraordinary opportunity to ask Bryan and his mom a few questions. This first set of questions were answered by Bryan’s Mom.

Q: When and why did Bryan first start swimming?

A: Bryan started swimming just like any kid over at our neighborhood pool.  Sarah, his younger sister, joined the summer swim team and went on to pursue swimming year round with Raleigh Swimming Association (RSA).  Bryan wanted to swim on a team, so we looked at Special Olympics.  He needed to know how to swim two different strokes to join the team in Fall, 2008.  One of Sarah’s coaches from RSA started to give Bryan formal swimming lessons and Bryan joined Special Olympics that fall.

Q: How did swimming change him as a person in your opinion?

A: Swimming provided inclusion for Bryan.  Luckily Bryan had a natural talent for swimming and took to the sport well.  Bryan joined RSA to swim year round in 2009.  He swam with RSA for three years, which helped solidify his strokes and love of the sport.  After Bryan graduated high school, he pursued a Master’s team for swimming year round.  Bryan joined Raleigh Area Master’s swim team in 2012.  Bryan has been on this current team for six years.  The team offers many friends for Bryan; many are ex-collegiate swimmers.  Bryan swims weekly with the master’s team three-four practices a week.   He has been on Special Olympic swim team, the Raleigh Racers for ten years.  They practice January-June each year.  Swimming provides exercise, socialization, competition, and structure for Bryan.  It is Bryan’s favorite sport to participate in.

Q: When and how did he get the opportunity to swim with the USA Special Olympics team?

A: Bryan won four gold medals in Special Olympics Summer Games at Triangle Aquatic Center.  If an athlete wins at least one gold medal, they are placed in a lottery for the state and randomly selected. Four swimmers from NC, two boys and two girls, are on the swim team.

These next questions were answered by Bryan himself.

Q: What did you enjoy about swimming for Apex?

A: I joined Apex High School’s swim team my junior and senior years, 2011 and 2012.  I made lots of friends on the team.  I enjoyed doing the chant before swim meets, being on relays, and going to Regional.  The swim team banquet was major fun.

Q: What awards/achievements did you earn at Apex?

A: Bryan won the 2011-2012 coaches award for the boys.  Also the team selected him as the friendliest person on the team.

Q: What does you enjoy most about swimming?

A: Swimming is a fun sport for me because it gives me lots of energy and staying in shape.  I like swimming with all of my friends.  I like when my friends cheer me on in swim meets.  I get to go to Seattle, Washington for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.  I will be swimming the 100 free, 100 butterfly, and the 200 IM.  My favorite stroke is freestyle followed by butterfly.

Q: Who is your favorite teacher from Apex?

A: My favorite teachers from Apex High School are Margaret Kallander and Jana Hill.

We wish Bryan the best of luck at the 2018 Special Olympics in Seattle, Washington. We know you will do great Bryan and look forward to seeing you win! Go Cougars!

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