Against the Clock

March 14, 2003

By Jessica Schmick, WSU Sports Information Student

The path to the NCAA Swim Championships for Washington State's Lindsay Henahan started with a piece of paper.

For the past three years that piece of paper sat posted in her swim locker. To Henahan, a senior co-captain, it was more than just a sheet of white, it was a dream, a goal, a time.

The paper posted on the locker read: '53.80'. The number was in reference to her goal time in the 100 butterfly. Henahan posted the time in her locker three years ago as a sophomore at Washington State. Not only would this time be a WSU record, it would also earn her an automatic trip to the NCAA's, falling under the automatic qualifying time of 54.14.

'People would walk by my locker and laugh,' Henahan said. 'No one saw my goal as realistic.'

Going into the Pac-10 Championship meet, Henahan already had a hold of the WSU record in the 100 butterfly. She also managed to grab pool records in that same event at both Gibb Pool at WSU and Stevens Natatorium at Oregon State. However, there was one thing Henahan didn't have and that was an invitation to the NCAA Championships.

'I've qualified for other championships before, but the one meet I've really wanted to compete in is the NCAA's.' Henahan said. 'This whole year I knew I could do it.'

On the second day of competition Henahan competed in her best event, the 100 butterfly. After swimming an extremely impressive leg of the WSU 200 medley relay, it was time for Henahan to face her dreams and the paper in her locker.

'I actually forgot about the piece of paper with the time on it,' Henahan said. 'I went into the race relaxed. I just went for it.'

Henahan was able to step up to the race and not only qualified for the NCAA Championships, but also conquered the paper, beating her goal time, swimming a 53.75.

'It didn't seem real,' Henahan said. 'I was just so excited.'

Henahan's time placed her 16th in the nation in the 100 butterfly. The top 16 in preliminaries make the finals at the NCAA Championships.

'Ideally I'd love to be in the top eight,' Henahan said. 'I think anything is possible.'

The co-captain will also compete in the 50 and 100 freestyles, making the B cut during the Pac-10 Championships.

Henahan is one of just four seniors on WSU's women's swim team. Last season's senior-less squad lost eight underclassman to transfers and swimmers quitting the team. The Cougars also named a new head coach at the beginning of this season. Erica Quam came to WSU after assisting Southern Methodist University's women's swim team for five years.

'I did a good job adjusting,' Henahan said. 'The coaches have been very helpful and positive. We've been able to work together well.'

The senior plans to continue swimming in the near future.

'I don't want to stop swimming,' Henahan said. 'I feel like I have a lot more improvements to make.'

She hopes to fulfill her ultimate goal, competing in the Olympic Trials. She plans to prepare for a spot at the trials by competing in long course races. She intends to make the first of her competitions this summer at the Summer Nationals August 5-9 at College Park, Md.

As a Rochester, N.Y., native, Henahan attended Irondequoit High School. She currently holds one school record at WSU and a spot in the Cougar All-Time Top 10 list in three other events, including two number two spots.

Henahan will leave Tuesday to fulfill her dream at the NCAA Championships. As she leaves Washington State behind, she leaves a legacy, a record, and a piece of paper.

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