Imagen
a female Para canoeist mid-stroke on the water

Charlotte Henshaw

Canoe
2
1

Charlotte Henshaw has taken the canoe world by storm since her stunning victory at the 2018 World Championships.

The two-time Paralympic swimmer is in her third season and has had a fantastic 2019 year so far. She won her first European Championship title that followed on from her World Cup victory in the women’s KL2. 

Her recent rise has threatened her teammate and multi-world and reigning Paralympic champion Emma Wiggs, who had to hand over the kayak crown to Henshaw at the 2018 Worlds.
 

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital

Further personal information

Residence
Mansfield, ENG
Occupation
Athlete, Public Speaker
Languages
English
Higher education
Psychology, Sport Studies - Stirling University: Scotland

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She switched from swimming to canoe sprint in 2017.
Why this sport?
She was inspired to take up sports after meeting a Paralympian at a young age. At the end of the 2016 season, having represented Great Britain in swimming at the Paralympic Games in 2008, 2012 and 2016, she was invited to spend a morning cross training with the British Para canoe team. It was the first time she had been in a kayak and loved it, so she decided to pursue the sport.
Club / Team
Nova Centurion: Mansfield, ENG

General interest

Hobbies
Going to the theatre, travelling. (British Canoeing YouTube channel, 14 Aug 2019; thebigkickoff.com, 05 Jun 2020)
Hero / Idol
South African swimmer Natalie Du Toit, British middle distance runner Kelly Holmes. (britishswimming.org, 05 Feb 2010)
Injuries
In December 2020 she underwent surgery on a long-term chronic abdomen injury. (Instagram profile, 16 Dec 2020; chad.co.uk, 20 Apr 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." [Vince Lombardi] (19eleven.co.uk, 01 Oct 2018)
Awards and honours
In June 2015 the competition pool at the Water Meadows Swimming and Fitness Complex in Mansfield, England, was renamed the Hynd and Henshaw Competition Pool in recognition of her, and Sam and Ollie Hynd's sporting achievements. (mansfield.gov.uk, 2015)

In 2010 she was named Nottinghamshire Disabled Sport's Personality of the Year in England. (motivational-paralympians.co.uk, 04 Apr 2013)
Other sports
She represented Great Britain in swimming at the Paralympic Games in 2008, 2012 and 2016. She won a silver medal in the SB6 100m breaststroke at the 2012 Games in London, and claimed bronze in the same event four years later in Rio de Janeiro. (SportsDeskOnline, 24 Oct 2019; bbc.co.uk, 09 May 2017)
Famous relatives
Her father competed for Great Britain in karate. (swimming.org, 19 Aug 2010)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (chad.co.uk, 20 Apr 2021)
Impairment
She was born with bilateral tibial hypoplasia. Both of her legs were amputated above the knee at age 18 months. (charlottehenshaw.co.uk, 11 May 2012)
Other information
SWITCHING SPORTS
She previously competed as a swimmer, winning silver at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and bronze at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She was planning to retire from sport altogether after the 2016 Games but decided instead to try a different sport, and trained with the British Para cycling and Para triathlon team before choosing to pursue Para canoe. "I knew going into the Rio games that it would potentially be my last Paralympics as a swimmer and at that time my last Paralympics in total. I remember sitting at the closing ceremony at Rio thinking, 'Crikey I really don't want this to be it'. I wasn't sure that I could do another four years swimming as I think that I had reached my peak and the age profile of swimming is much younger than other sports. When I retired from swimming I knew that I still wanted to be part of the Paralympic movement in some way and I thought, 'Well I live in Nottinghamshire, they [GB Para canoe] are based in Nottingham, it's close by' and I thought I will go and give it a go. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did and as soon as I got in a boat I felt that this was a challenge that I wanted to take on." (thebigkickoff.com, 05 Jun 2020; Some Essex Lad and a Paralympian podcast, 10 Sep 2020)

RETIREMENT PLANS
She has previously worked with UK Sport, the government agency responsible for investing into Olympic and Paralympic sport in Great Britain. Her experiences there, combined with her love for sport, have made her consider staying in sport once she retires. "I've always been passionate about sport, it's been my life since I was tiny. I considered during my A-Levels and university whether I wanted to finish it but I think people who have been involved in sport have so much to offer when they hang up their paddle and it's really important to have people who have been involved in sport staying involved. Working with UK Sport was really eye-opening. I met people who were working in departments I didn't even know existed and it was really nice to understand the cogs in that machine that make sport in this country move. I'm definitely interested in exploring that." (British Canoeing YouTube channel, 14 Aug 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 2 2
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final Round 4
IPC Swimming World Championships Eindhoven 2010 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 2 1
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final Round 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM8 Heat 1 4
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM8 Final Round 8
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 400 m Freestyle S8 Heat 1 2012-08-31 6
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 2 2012-09-05 1
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final Round 2012-09-05 2
2013 IPC Swimming World Championships (Montreal, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final 1 2013-08-13 3
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 2 2013-08-13 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S8 Final 1 2013-08-14 8
2015 IPC Swimming World Championships (Glasgow, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 1 2015-07-14 2
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final 1 2015-07-14 2
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 1 2016-09-15 1
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final Round 2016-09-15 3