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  • Miles Felix

Kai Henrikson-Brandt Makes a Splash in the Swimming World


Credits: Kai Henrikson-Brandt


“Most days of the school year I go to bed at 7:30 and wake up around 4:15 in the morning.” While this may sound abnormal for most people, it has become a routine for Kai Henrikson-Brandt (‘25) as he chases his goals of collegiate swimming. 


The Junior swimmer has accomplished some of the fastest times in School Without Walls history and some of the best on the East Coast. Henrikson-Brandt has boasted times of 49.14 in the 100-yard backstroke, and 49.02 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly. 


To achieve these milestones, Henrikson-Brandt has had to work consistently on a demanding schedule. For swimmers, the large bulk of the year is spent preparing for championship meets which take place December to March. “September through November we’re in a gearing up phase with six morning practices a week, it’s the grind phase of the swim season” Henrikson-Brandt explained. 


On top of his busy practice schedule, Kai incorporates weight lifting and plyometrics into his training. 


“During the season I’ll split up my training between pure strength and speed work,” he explains “Recently, I’ve added in an athletic day where I focus on improving my hips’ and ankles’ resilience to improve my athleticism overall,” 


Henrikson-Brandt attributes his ability to stay on a tight routine year-round to his discipline and passion for the sport. “On a day-to-day basis I’ve now gotten to a point where it’s more discipline than motivation that keeps me going,” he noted, “But also how much I care about the sport and how much time I’ve put into it over the years.”  


Henrikson-Brandt’s passion for swimming stretches back to when his parents signed him up for the swim team at Cheverly Swim Club over the summer of first grade. Kai recalls being unenthusiastic at first when his parents signed him up, but he soon fell in love with the sport. He loved the process of improving and he continued his progress the next summer. He remarks, “it really connected for me because it was something I worked on everyday – I got a lot better doing that.” 


The following winter, Henrikson-Brandt joined his first club team, DC Wave, which allowed him to practice year-round. Since then he’s been swimming for the club alongside school teams. The future is bright for Henrikson-Brandt as his times are on pace with the NCAA Division One level for swimming. 


He has already taken multiple recruiting visits to D-1 programs including at Brown University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Loyola Maryland. He plans to commit early in his senior year to a school “where I’ll fit best, where my times will be able to score, but also where I can be challenged in a way I haven’t before.” 


Henrikson-Brandt’s future aspirations include qualifying for the NCAA Swimming Championships in his collegiate career “If I develop a lot at a D-1 program, I think I have the capability to go to NCAAs one day,” he said.  


In the meantime, he’ll be training over the summer at Banneker Pool as he gears up for his Senior season. 

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