Robert H.Henikman Jr.:
Rob Henikman was born to Robert and Mary Henikman on July 4, 1977 in Ashland, Ohio. He is a 1996 graduate of Ashland High School, a 2001 graduate from the University of Arizona, and a 2006 graduate from Northern Arizona University earning his Masters Degree in Educational leadership. Sports played an important role in the Henikman household, but they never took precedence over education. Rob's parents played an integral role in his development as a student athlete and a lifelong learner. Their support and guidance made a lasting impact on his life, and for that he is sincerely grateful.
Rob grew up in and around the swimming pool as his father coached the Ashland High School swim team and managed the Country Club of Ashland's aquatic facility during the summer months. Rob's father, Bob was inducted into the Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. While being involved in soccer, football and basketball up through middle school, and in tennis and golf in high school, Rob always knew his main talent was in the water.
Coached by his father during his high school years, Rob earned numerous conference, district and state swimming titles and awards, as well as being named a three-year scholar athlete. By the end of his high school career, Rob earned six High School All-American awards, and won the 1995 state title in the 100 yard breaststroke, and the 1996 state title in the 50 yard freestyle.
Outside of the high school swimming season, Rob spent his time swimming for the Mansfield Waves Swim Club at the national level. Between 1993-1996, Rob competed in the YMCA National Short Course and Long Course Championships. Over the course of four years, Rob won eight short course and long course national titles and set three national records. In 1994, he captured his first two national titles in the 50 meter freestyle and 50 meter breaststroke events. In 1995, Rob won the 100 yard breaststroke national title with a time of 56.60. During this meet, Rob had two other top–three finishes in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events.
At the 1995 long course national championships, Rob set two national records in the 50 meter freestyle and 50 meter breaststroke events. Rob also captured the 100 meter breaststroke national title at this meet.
The following spring in Orlando, Florida, Rob earned two more top-three finishes in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events. More importantly, thought, he was able to successfully defend his 100 yard breaststroke title becoming one of only a few swimmers in recent history to be able to repeat as a national champion in the same event.
During the 1996 long course national championships, Rob again earned three top-three finishes in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle and 100 meter breaststroke events. The highlight of this meet came when he reset his national record in the 50 meter breaststroke with a time of 29.56 making him a three-time winner in this event. This national record stood for 15 years and was finally broken during the summer of 2011.
After high school, Rob was recruited to swim for the University of Arizona. Under head coach Frank Busch and associate head coach Rick DeMont, Rob earned seven All-American honors, was a three-year recipient of the Mary Roby Scholar Athlete Award, and was a two-year member of the UA's Student Athlete Advisory Board. In 1999, Rob represented the United States at the World University Games held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain where he placed 10th in the 100 meter breaststroke.
During his senior year, Rob was selected by his teammates to serve as co-caption of the mens swim team. During his final season, Rob set the school record in the mens 100 meter breaststroke, was a member of Arizona's 200 meter medley relay which set a U.S. Open record, and he helped lead his team to a third place finish at the NCAA championships, which was the highest team placing at that point in the program's history. That summer, Rob concluded his swimming career at the U.S. Olympic Trials held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Rob married Cristina Riveros of Tuscon, Arizona and together they have two amazing children, Viridiana and Landon. He is currently employed by the Catalina Foothills School District where he serves as the principal of Canyon View Elementary School. Rob is sincerely grateful for all of the support his family, friends, former coaches and teammates have given him throughout his career.
Nominator: JONATHAN EMERY