The Bulkley Valley Otters splashed into the 2017-18 season in a big way with a small group as they came home with eight first place swims with five swimmers in attendance.
The meet, hosted by the Prince Rupert Rapids club, kicked off another season in which the local Otters will continue to make its assault on its own record book. Kanna Kurihara, 10, will be the first to bring out the eraser, in this case for the grueling 400-meter individual medley (IM).
Kurihara splashed her way to four first place finishes on her way to a silver medal in the contest for the high point award for the meet. In addition to the 400 IM, she was the fastest in the 10-and-under girls in the 50 and 100 freestyle, and the 100 butterfly. She was the runner up in the 100 backstroke, the 200 breaststroke and the 200 IM.
Zachary Durnin, 10, was the bronze medalist in the boys high point contest. He topped the field in the 200 freestyle and was second in the 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke, 100 butterfly, and the 200 IM.
Butterfly specialist Fergus Hobson, 16, dominated the field in the 200 butterfly with a surprisingly speedy race for this point of the season.
“I was really happy with it. My splits were probably the best I’ve had,” he said.
Hobson also took top honours in the 50-metre event of that discipline.
Seven-year-old Kaede Kurihara turned more than a few heads as she upset competitors who were two and three years older in the 100 kick race. Not content to leave well enough alone, she splashed her way to second place results in the 50 backstroke and the 100 IM
Head coach Tom Best was more than pleased with the range of improved results. For example, he pointed out that 12-year-old Byron Greene, a rare recipient of awards in events other than freestyle, had top three finishes in three different strokes. Greene took second in the 100 butterfly to go with thirds in the 50 backstroke and 50 breaststroke races.
Kurihara’s record in the 400 IM was unexpected as she dropped close to 25 seconds from her previous result.
The team’s next competition will be in Prince George Nov. 17-19.