For most college athletes, senior year is a countdown as much as it is competition. One finds themselves looking back as much as they look forward.
Yale swimmer Iszac Henig has a lot to look back on. He was a valued contributor within Yale’s women’s team for three seasons, including an individual Ivy League title and All-America honors in 2022 while also pushing through his gender transition. In this senior season, and having started hormone therapy, he moved to the men’s team.
In an interview with The Trans Sporter Room this week, he was excited about the present and future and has no regrets about the past.
“The biggest challenge has been finding a new niche on the team,” he said. “I was used to being the one scoring points, but now I’ve found a real happy place cheering from the sidelines.”
“I can’t complain,” he continued. “We’re looking at two more meets for the rest of the season and hopefully it will just keep getting better.”
For Henig “getting better” has been a project not just confined to swimming. In an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times on January 5, finding his truth has been a winding road that led to carefully-crafted decision prior to last season.
He decided to compete one more season with a Yale women’s team that he was close to, and with team and individual goals to swim for.
“I really wanted my last year on the women’s team to mean something, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to go out and do well,” he recalled. “At the same time, I was so much happier living my life and I felt so much more comfortable. Even the things that were hard about that season didn’t feel quite as hard as they had.”
This season, Henig’s finishes have been near the back, but each outing has shown improvement. Last weekend in Yale’s dominating wins over Penn and Dartmouth, he put up his best performances of year. In the 100 freestyle, his 47.88 was good for 10th out of 11 swimmers, in addition to anchoring two reserve relays to finish ahead of Penn and Dartmouth’s reserves in his final appearance at Yale’s Kiphuth Exhibition Pool.
With two meets left, the push to improve and compete drives him forward, but he also realizes he’s opened a pathway for other transgender student-athlete and believes other will come behind him.
“I hope there is more,” Henig stated emphatically. “I’m excited to see the next, and the next few. It is such an honor and a joy to continue doing the sport and the things that you love.”
In our interview on The Trans Sporter Room week, talked about the last fight, Iszac Henig talked about how he got here, pushing through last season to this season, living and swimming authentically, and going head-to-head with Lia Thomas. Catch the full interview. Now available on Megaphone, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple podcasts, and many other platforms for Outsports podcasts as well.