Berlin, Splashing the Competition

Berlin, Splashing the Competition

Teen swimmer holds 14 records at Parliament.

Record boards are usually filled with different names from different eras, however, at Parliament pool in Springfield, one name fills almost the entire board — Katrina Berlin.

At only 13, Katrina holds 14 records for the Parliament Panther's Swim team. She holds every record in the 9-10 and 11-12 age groups, two in the 8 and under division, and three in the age 13 group. Her coach Peter McDonough said she holds basically every single record available to her at the pool.

"Parliament may not be in the best division," said Katrina about their Division 12 status, "but it is my favorite pool because you know everyone who goes there and everyone knows you."

Everyone at Parliament knowing about her is not too surprising due to her great accomplishments, but Katrina knowing everyone else may have taken a little more time. Time has certainly been something Katrina has spent there.

"She has been a member of the swim team for 10 years since she started in the mini's division," said McDonough. "During the summer, she is here everyday for at least one hour and also participates in coaching duties. Her success is based on natural talent and her ability to set attainable goals which she always seems to achieve."

Perhaps even more amazing than the number of records Katrina holds is her success during competition. She recently completed her fourth straight year of going undefeated in individual regular season competition. She competes in all events, which includes five head-to-head matches where she has two races in each and two more in district competition. In total she competes in 12 races during a summer season and, since the age of 9, yet to be defeated.

"My proudest moments of the past four years on the team has been the end of the year award banquets," said Katrina. "It's a time when you look back and realize you actually achieved that."

Although Katrina has natural talent, she also works hard to reach her goals. She trains year round three nights a week for one and a half hours.

"I'm proud of her because it takes more than being fast to be a champion," said John Berlin, Katrina's father. "She spends hours helping many younger swimmers develop their strokes, and even with her success in the pool, she doesn't get a big head."

KATRINA'S RECORDS, however, may soon be in jeopardy. Her sister Jessie, 7, is also on the swim team. Their father, John, said she is eager to topple Katrina’s scores.

"Every time Jessie finishes a race she hops out of the pool and asks for her time simply to see if she beat her sister's record," said John Berlin.

Along with her younger sister Jessie, Katrina also has a brother Andrew, 12, who is on the swim team. Luckily for Katrina, the sex barrier will keep Andrew away from her records.

Beyond being an all-star swimmer, Katrina is also a travel soccer player for SYC Liberty. After the summer season, she swims for the Mason Makos, for whom she trains twice a week. Katrina is a student at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke and may one day be an asset for the Bruins in both swimming and soccer.

"I hope to swim for a college team one day," said Katrina about her future. "However, I know I will have to start working harder during practice and start swimming more."

Katrina recently competed in the Division 12 Divisionals at Old Keene Mill pool and successfully completed the season with two first place finishes in breast stroke and freestyle. She was selected for All Stars in breast stroke, where she is seeded 12 in NVSL, and in freestyle where she is the first alternate.

Although she is a great athlete, Katrina is a regular teenager who enjoys the same things everyone else her age does. "I like to hangout with my friends and like to take lots of pictures."