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Herendeen gains experience overseas

Posted on 09.26.2012

Greyhound swimmer Dalton Herendeen returned from his trip to the 2012 London Paralympics on Sept. 10 and was welcomed home by friends and teammates.

A sophomore physical therapy major, Herendeen was chosen to represent team USA in this year’s Paralympic Games. He swam five individual events, and although he did not final in any of them, Herendeen was grateful for the experience.

“Just being there was awesome. Olympic Village and all of the noise, meeting new people from all over the world and building relationships with them, it was a great experience,” Herendeen said.

While Herendeen was disappointed that he did not final, he said that he plans to build on this trip in his future with the Greyhounds.

UIndy Head Swimming Coach Gary Kinkead believes that the Paralympics have helped to mature Herendeen as an athlete.

“I think what it does is it gives him a lot of confidence in what he’s doing,” Kinkead said. “Going there, I think he realized how fortunate he was to be in a position 99 percent of athletes don’t get to be in.”

Herendeen stayed in contact with Kinkead during his time in London. He informed his coach about the atmosphere at the pool—something that was unlike anything Herendeen had ever encountered.

“Walking out to a crowd of 18,000 people gave me chills. Being there was definitely an unreal experience,” Herendeen said.

Kinkead is certain that those feelings will build the young athlete into someone even better.

“It’s going to help him be able to understand that he has to be calm before races, that he has to stay within himself and not focus on outside interferences,” Kinkead said. “His later events were better than his earlier events. He matured tenfold in those eight days.”

Both Herendeen and Kinkead came away with experiences from suitcases full of USA team gear to character-building and racing experience. Both are certain that these experiences will play a major role as Herendeen continues to build his career.

“I really think that this is going to be a stepping stone, not only for his next three years with us, but for his Paralympics and his next trip, when he goes out to Rio,” Kinkead said.

Kinkead said that he believes Herendeen has a real opportunity to medal in the next Paralympics.

Herendeen said that he will continue to work hard in his remaining years at UIndy and that he looks forward to what the future has for him at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Back in the United States, Herendeen and the rest of the USA Olympic and Paralympic athletes traveled to Washington, D.C. , to visit the White House. On Sept. 13, Herendeen and the other athletes met President Barack Obama.

Kinkead is proud to see his student-athlete gaining recognition for himself and the university.

“He’s a great ambassador for us [the swim team], he’s a great ambassador for the university and he’s always been a positive influence,” Kinkead said.

Kinkead said that Herendeen is still excited by the many new memories he has made and that his career has only just begun.

Herendeen and the UIndy men’s and women’s swim teams will return to the pool on Oct. 13, when they host Asbury, University at 1 p.m. inside the Ruth Lilly Fitness Center.

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