C.J. Hendry to swim for spot on Olympic team

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When C.J. Hendry heads to Omaha, Neb., for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for swimming that begins Monday, she is hoping to write a storybook ending.

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C.J. Hendry, who competed at Florida State University until graduating in 2011, will compete for spots in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly during the Olypic team trials in Omaha, Neb., this week.  DAVID JOHNSON/FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
DAVID JOHNSON/FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
C.J. Hendry, who competed at Florida State University until graduating in 2011, will compete for spots in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly during the Olypic team trials in Omaha, Neb., this week.

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The 2007 Evans High School and 2011 Florida State University graduate will be competing for spots in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly.

“I don’t really have any expectations,” Hendry said. “I have goals, obviously, times I would like to achieve. I just want to swim faster than I’ve ever swam. I just want to have fun because this is the biggest meet of my career. All the club swimmers, this is what they want to get to.”

Hendry began swimming at age 7 at the Farmington pool in Evans. She swam for Fort Gordon for a year, joined the Aiken-Augusta Swim League when she was 10 and then attended Evans High School. While there she was a 16-time Georgia State All-Star and 2007 Georgia High School Association 100 backstroke champion.

“Being 23 I’m as fast as I’ve ever been,” Hendry said. “Some people are fast when they’re 16, some people are fast when they’re 20. So it’s crazy to finally reach this point and say ‘Wow, I’m going to trials.’ It’s pretty cool.”

After graduation from Florida State, she still knew what she wanted to do.

“I decided I wanted to keep training for the trials,” Hendry said. “I had gone to Baton Rouge to train with the LSU team for a little while. I ended up coming back to Tallahassee over the Christmas holidays and picked up training with my home at FSU and my coaches here and it’s worked out really well.”

And she keeps her schedule chock full.

“We have 10 practices a week,” said Hendry, who also is a volunteer coach for the club team. “Two hours in the morning, two hours in afternoon.”

As of June 14, Hendry was ranked 59th out of 172 in the 100 butterfly, 78th out of 162 in the 50 freestyle and 89th of 140 in the 100 freestyle.

“I hope to surprise myself in the freestyle and maybe put up some good times,” Hendry said. “The 100 butterfly is definitely one of my favorite races, though. The butterfly is a stroke that comes more naturally to me and the 100 is just fun because it’s fast, it’s powerful.”

Swimming shorter distances has been a transformation of sorts.

“I did distance my whole college career,” Hendry said. “I focused on 200s. I did 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke, 200 freestyle. … All the stuff I’ve been doing since August of last year has been completely different training than I’ve ever done and it’s kept me interested. It’s a lot more fun to do a 50 than a 200.”

OMAHA BOUND

C.J. Hendry isn’t the only local swimmer going to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Three Aiken-Augusta Swim League members also will be there:

• Steven Kekacs, who just graduated from Aiken High, qualified in the 200 fly and the mile and 800 free.

• Katherine Huff, a recent Lakeside grad, made the time in the 50 and 100 free.

• Fourteen-year-old Jackie Jenschke, who will be a sophomore at Aquinas, will compete in the 200-meter backstroke.


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