Andrew Henning never considered himself the star athlete on the Case Western Reserve University men’s swimming and diving team. But during his four years with the team, he knows that he developed into an all-around student-athlete: a strong swimmer, an even stronger student and an individual who is dedicated to serving the community. And now, he’s being recognized for all three of those qualities.
Henning, who graduated in May, received one of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, which recognizes a student-athlete’s athletic and academic success and community service. Representatives from Case Western Reserve nominate student-athletes for the award.
“Andrew is a tremendous young man, and when thinking about these postgraduate scholarships and then criteria that goes into them, it was truly a no-brainer to recommend Andrew,” said Doug Milliken, head coach of the swimming and diving program. “He has been the consummate teammate in our program and someone I could rely on quite a bit for his leadership. Andrew is someone who will be missed, but knowing him, he is going to stay connected to the program for years to come. I couldn’t be prouder to be his coach”
The NCAA annually awards the post-graduate scholarships to up to 174 student athletes across all three NCAA divisions.
The honor makes Henning the second Spartan athlete this year to win the scholarship (the other was men’s soccer player Zach Broujos) and the 26th in university history. Henning is only the second member of the men’s swimming and diving team to earn the award, with Guy Genin claiming the scholarship in 1990.
“The scholarship is such a big thing; it recognizes achievements in multiple different categories—it’s like the ideal student-athlete,” Henning said. “It’s a huge honor. I’m very thankful for it—to be recognized for all the things that I’ve done.”
Henning, who is from Ann Arbor, focused on distance freestyle at Case Western Reserve. During the last two seasons, he was a member of the Division III NCAA Championships-qualifying 800-yard freestyle relay.
Henning counts the relay’s performance his junior year at the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships among the highlights of his collegiate athletic career. As the final athlete in the relay, Henning started his swim two-tenths of a second behind the competitor from University of Chicago in the adjacent lane. By the time he began the last lap, Henning had pulled even with Chicago, then pulled ahead in the final yards to win the race by .17 seconds. The victory marked the first time a CWRU team finished first in a relay event at the UAA Championships.
The relay’s finishing time of 6:42.65 crushed the previous school-record of 6:45.22 and earned the team a spot in the 2016 NCAA Championships. There the group set another school-record time of 6:42.43 and earned All-American Honorable Mention. This year, Henning’s performances inspired he College Sports Information Directors of America to name him to their Academic All-America Division III Men’s At-Large Second Team.
In addition to his achievements in the pool, Henning claimed All-UAA All-Academic honors during each of his three years of eligibility for the honor. He graduated with a 3.97 cumulative GPA while majoring in accounting.
Henning also participated in a wide range of volunteer and extracurricular activities. He was a member of the Case Association of Student Athletes, an organization aimed at enhancing the student-athlete experience, and BlueCWRU, a group that promotes school spirit. He also was the student representative on the committee to rework the Department of Physical Education and Athletics’s mission statement. He served in this role from the committee’s launch in spring 2016 until the new mission statement was released in February.
“I wanted to give back to the athletic community because it’s provided so much for me,” he said. “My teammates have done so much to help me succeed and without my teammates and the athletics community, I don’t think I could have done nearly as well academically.”
Now, Henning is working toward a master’s degree in accounting at CWRU. He anticipates completing the degree in December, and plans to put the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship’s $7,500 grant toward tuition.
“[Athletic Director] Amy Backus and [Sports Information Director] Jon Schwartz and the rest of the athletic department have done so much to make this [honor] possible,” he said. “The growth of the athletic department and the success we’ve seen over the last two years under her has been tremendous.”