Swimmer Henshaw switches to canoe

The multi-Paralympic British medallist is looking for a new challenge after 10 years of swimming. 10 May 2017
Female swimmer takes a breath between strokes

Former swimmer Charlotte Henshaw will make her international Para canoe debut at the European Championships.

ⒸPedro Vasconcelas
By British Paralympic Association

British Paralympic medallist Charlotte Henshaw has decided to swap her goggles for a paddle as she announces her retirement from swimming.


On the back of her success in Rio, Henshaw has been identified by British Canoeing and is currently a member of their Talent Confirmation Programme.


Henshaw has competed in swimming for almost a decade and has won medals at every level of competition including a silver and bronze at the Paralympics.


The three-time Paralympian holds the 100m breaststroke SB6 European record and is the current European champion.


“When I returned from Rio I took a few months away from the pool to really focus on where I wanted to be over the next few years,” she said. “I came to the decision that, while I still have aspirations and goals in sport, I have reached the point where I feel I need to take on a new sporting challenge.


“Swimming has been my life since I was four-years old, so it has been very close to my heart and always will be,” she continued.


“Thank you also has to go to my friends and family who have been there every step of the way during my swimming career, especially my Mum, Rosie. She has been taxi driver, chief cheerleader at every competition, my biggest support and everything else in between. To have such a brilliant network of people around me means the absolute world.”


National Performance Director Chris Furber said: “Charlotte has competed at every level of our sport and has stood on the podium at every level of our sport in her 10-year career.


“From myself and the rest of the team we wish her well with canoeing and know she will be successful within the sport.”


Henshaw began canoeing at the end of 2016 and has already competed at the 2017 National Regatta Series. She aims to continue in her new sport with a target to qualify for the European Championships.


“I watched the brilliant performances of the Para canoe team in Rio and was very keen to try something new,” Henshaw said. “I felt like I was ready to take on a new challenge that is different from anything I have done before. British Canoeing is based in Nottingham, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to try it out. Both staff and athletes have been very welcoming, which helped me decide to pursue the sport.


"After spending so many years doing one sport, it's refreshing and exciting to be able to push myself in a completely different way."


Canoe made its Paralympic debut at Rio 2016. There Great Britain claimed five medals (three golds) over the six medal events.


More on Henshaw’s switch retirement from swimming can be found at the British Paralympic Association’s website.