Haley Berrisford, an 11 year-old from the Summerland ORCA Swim Team, won a medal in four out of five freestyle events at her second AAA Provincial Championships. She was competing among 600 of B.C.’s top swimmers in a four-day extravaganza from July 5 to 8 at the WaterMania pool in Richmond.
Berrisford earned medals: two silver in the 800m and 400m freestyle and two bronze in the 200m and 100m freestyle events.
“What was impressive is Haley’s ability to strategically race. She’s only 11, and we discuss race splitting and she is able to execute her race plan with a natural feel of the water and shes knows what speed and pace she is going, whether it’s a sprint or a distance event,” said Orca Coach Joanne Malar.
At Day One of competition, Haley had a difficult double, two races within 20 minutes of each other.
The first event was her favourite race, the 800m freestyle (32 lengths or 16 Olympic Size/50 metre lengths) followed by another provincial final of the 200m freestyle.
At the Olympic level, these are doubles that swimming sensations Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin are able to pull off at their level.
Haley was entered second in the 800 freestyle, and raced to a best time by dropping 19 seconds to win silver in a time of 10:45.90.
She got back on the blocks 20 minutes later and won a bronze in the 200 freestyle in a time of 2:29.36.
On Day Two, Haley qualified for the final (top eight) of the 50m freestyle, finishing seventh in this ultra sprint event, the extreme opposite of her 800 freestyle event.
On Day 3, she swam the 200m Individual Medley (IM) and the 100 freestyle.
She finished eleventh in the IM and followed it up finaling in the 100 freestyle sprint in 1:10.77.
In a tremendous effort, she dug deep to have a great finish and new PB in a time of 1:08.35, snagging her third medal, bronze, in this event.
On Day 4 Haley strategized to deliver a perfectly split preliminary swim to drop nine seconds off her best time to qualify second for finals in a time of 5:11.45.
In finals, she raced the provincial leader to attain her fourth medal, silver, dropping an additional four seconds in a time of 5:07.70.
“With this being only Haley’s second time competing at this highest level of provincial championships, and medaling four times, this just confirms what we already know,” said Malar.
“Haley is on her way to being one of Swim B.C.’s and eventually Swim Canada’s premier age group swimmers if she continues her dedicated work ethic and determination to improve, which we know she will.”