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NCAA All-American Iszac Henig Competing On Yale Men’s Team For His Senior Season

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Yell Senior Isaac Henigis a transgender male who has spent the 2022-23 NCAA season on the men’s swim team.

Hennig raced for the Yale Women’s Team during the 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2021-22 NCAA seasons.he came out as transgender In April 2021, I initially chose to swim for the women’s team. He was not on testosterone-based hormone therapy at the time and was therefore eligible to do so. However, he felt that being a man on a women’s team was “extremely difficult to navigate”.

“Let’s go, ladies!” New York Times editorial“The female swimmers at Yale are some of my best friends, but being on the team with them made it all clear that I’m not a woman.

“My mental health started deteriorating again and after a few months I confided to my friend, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore.’ We didn’t even have our first official meeting yet. I came to understand that I wasn’t on the women’s team, and I longed for the space I belonged to.”

At some point during his junior year of the 2021-22 NCAA season, Hennig decided to spend his senior year with the men’s team. His 2021-22 NCAA season was also his most successful. Time-wise, he dropped his PB from 22.59 to 21.93 on 50 frees and from 48.90 to 47.52 on 100 frees.

Hennig attributes her success last season to knowing she would be swimming with the men’s team next season and spending more time with the men’s team, including lifting weights. “The more time I spent with guys, the more I realized how much better I felt in a man’s space,” he said.

As of January 2023, Henig has been on testosterone-based hormone therapy for eight months. Most recently, she swam in the 2022 Ohio State Invitational, where in the 50 frees she was 79th (22.07), in the 100 frees she was 73rd (47.94), and in the 200 frees she was 69th (1:45.86). was. That time is slightly slower than his personal best when swimming on the women’s team.

“I’ve never been the slowest player in any event, but I’m not as successful in sports as the women’s team,” Henig said. “Instead, I’m trying to connect with my teammates in new ways, cheer loudly, and focus more on the excitement of the sport. Competing and being challenged is the best part. It’s a different kind of fulfillment. Every day rocker.” It’s great to feel comfortable in your room.”

Hennig isn’t the only openly transgender Ivy League swimmer to switch teams along the way. Skyler BaylorThe first openly transgender swimmer in the NCAA, she initially promised to swim for Harvard’s women’s team, but then decided to compete for the men.More recently, former pen swimmer Leah Thomas After three seasons with the men’s team, she competed in the women’s team in the 2021-22 NCAA season. That season she won her NCAA title in her 500 free, become the first openly transgender swimmer To win a national competition.

“Many people hold reservations or strongly object to transgender athletes participating in sports, especially women’s teams. But what seems to be missing from that conversation is our humanity,” said Hennig. It may not seem like it, but think about how overwhelming it would be to spend 20 hours a week in a place where you don’t feel like you belong. It made it difficult for me to go to practice.

“All athletes should be able to be their full and authentic selves among their teammates and be able to play their sport without fear of discrimination,” he added. “Fortunately, I have a lot of support from my community, especially my fellow trans athletes. Living with integrity makes me a stronger and better person.Being transgender is one of the least fun things about me.

“Feeling aligned with my team has opened my eyes even more to how strong the athletic community is and how important it is for everyone to have the opportunity to feel that.”

Read Henig’s full story on the New York Times website here.

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