Marshfield swimmer looks to make 2020 Paralympics

MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) -- Inside Marshfield High School, there is one swimmer who has international aspirations.

“My real goal is to really train hard enough and drop enough time to make the emerging cuts for the team, and kind of just show the national team that I’m here, and I’m ready to play,” said Connor Berres.

Connor Berres only has 7 fingers, but when he hops in the pool everything changes.

“It really gave me an opportunity,” said Berres. “I felt like I could do things that everyone else could do. It didn’t really have anything to do with my hands or anything. It was just like home.”

“What compels me the most about Connor’s story is he didn’t come to the sport looking to be a Paralympic athlete,” said Berres’ YMCA coach Aaron Heiss. “He came to the sport just wanting to be a part of everyone else and he definitely got that.”

The high school junior started swimming just two years ago, but he quickly picked up the basics and now has a chance at reaching the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan.

“The whole process has given me so much more confidence in myself and making that team would just the boost of confidence," said Berres. "I’d just feel so amazing.”

Berres swims against able-body competitors during the high school season. Something he only uses as motivation.

“The feeling that I can beat kids that are normal-bodied is just like a great feeling," said Berres. "I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

So come 2020 during the Paralympics, look for a swimmer named Connor who is smiling and taking each meet one stroke at a time.