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Jonathan Henry (Photo: submitted)

Local Swimmer To Compete At World Championships In Portugal

By Tara Clow Oct 3, 2022 | 1:00 PM

A Moncton athlete is headed to Portugal for the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships.

Thirty-eight-year-old Jonathan Henry has been swimming for the past 25 years and his favourite strokes are butterfly and freestyle.

“This will be his sixth World Swimming Championship. His first one was in 2010 when he competed in Taipei, Taiwan. It’s held every two years. He’s competed in Italy, Mexico and Canada, and the last one was held in 2018 in Truro, Nova Scotia, and then, of course, COVID hit and then there wasn’t another one until this year.” said his mom Shirley Henry.

She adds their hope is for him to defend his current titles, “One world record in the Master’s Two division in the 100 freestyle and seven Americas records in the Masters 2 category.”

The family leaves for Portugal on October 7, and the competition begins on the 15th and runs until October 23rd.

Jonathan says some of the things he loves about competing at Worlds include meeting new friends and seeing old friends, competing and getting to the podium.

There are 14 swimmers on the Canadian team. One is from Newfoundland, and Jonathan is from New Brunswick, then there are three swimmers from Quebec, two from Ontario and the rest of the team is from Alberta.

Jonathan Henry (Photo: submitted)

His father Peter Henry says watching his son compete is very rewarding, “When Jonathan was born, the doctors didn’t give us much hope, as there wasn’t very much support for newborns with Down Syndrome. The standard answer was if you decide to keep this child, he’ll never have any coordination, etc. Thank goodness we didn’t listen. People have now realized that those with Down Syndrome are good members of society and they have their own special traits.”

Jonathan says his dad has given him some really good advice since he became a competitive swimmer, “Try your best, get your personal best and have fun.”

He loves to swim, but he is also involved in several other Special Olympics sports, including curling and speed skating.

His dad Peter has this suggestion for anyone who has a child with Down Syndrome, ” Do research. Go online. There are all kinds of sites on Facebook and all the success stories and examples of what can happen if you give your child the opportunity. Don’t be scared to go out and say, my son deserves to be part of this swim team or my daughter deserves to be part of this dance. team. Just get them involved. It’s their right as human beings and they’ll surprise a lot of people. It’s 100% love. They don’t have a bad day. They don’t have any single cell in their body that’s hateful. They just need a chance.”


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