Olympic Otters find podium in Terrace meet

Five swimmers from the Olympic Otters team returned from their first out-of-town competition in Terrace with seven first place ribbons

Gale Jones (left) and the Olympic Otters team in Terrace last weekend.

Gale Jones (left) and the Olympic Otters team in Terrace last weekend.

Five swimmers from the Olympic Otters team  returned from their first out-of-town competition in Terrace with seven first place ribbons earlier this month.

“The meet went really well for us . . .  It was the first time that they were competing with peers,” said head coach Gale Jones, adding that they normally swim with the Otters.

“It was an awesome experience.”

Leona Barengredt walked away with an impressive four first place finishes and one second place finish.

“She did well in all of her strokes. She did breast, back and frees and she placed in all those events,” said Jones.

“Overall she did well, she had a good day.”

Brooke Karrer finished with three first place finishes and two second place finishes.

Jesse Clegg finished with two second and third place finishes, while Torben Schuffert snagged one first place finish and another third.

Madison Zacharias picked up two third place finishes.

Jones noted that they have been getting ready for swim meets.

“They had good starts, they had good turns, their strokes were good and strong,” said Jones.

But she noted the swimmers did have trouble adjusting to Terrace’s pool at first.

The Bulkley Valley Regional Pool’s gutters are on the deck, where swimmers normally practice. But in Terrace, the deck is  about three to four inches higher than their water level because the gutters are under the deck.

“That threw us for a loop a little bit when we first got there. It’s totally different diving four inches lower than you’re used to,” said Jones.

Jones also hopes to work with teams in surrounding areas to host future swim meets.

Next year is the qualifying year in regions for the Special Olympics summer program. “We’re really hoping to host regional qualifications here in Smithers next year,” said Gail.

The Olympic Otters’ season run from September until June.