By Rich Myhre The Herald
For a little person, Haley Beranbaum of Snohomish has accomplished some very big things.
Beranbaum, who was born with a genetic aberration called achondroplasia which results in dwarfism, placed first in the 200-meter individual medley (4 minutes, 32.29 seconds) and third in the 50 butterfly (56.95) at the 2011 Parapan American Games last November in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The 3-foot-7 Beranbaum, a sophomore a Glacier Peak High School who competes in the S5 class _ for swimmers with full use of their arms and hands, but little use of their trunk or leg muscles and some degree of coordination difficulty _ won her gold medal in an American record time for athletes with her level of disability. The previous mark was 4:38.99, set in 1996.
Beranbaum, who began swimming less than three years ago with the StingRay Swim Club of Snohomish County, also holds U.S. Paralympic records (short-course yards) in the 200 freestyle (4 minutes, 6.79 seconds), 50 breaststroke (1:01.28), 200 breaststroke (4:36.43), 100 individual medley (2:05.34), and the 200 individual medley (4:26.42).