Otter twins bring competition to the family

Bailey and Tanner Espersen may be identical twins, but they are as different and competitive as Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.

Bailey and Tanner Espersen may be identical twins, but they are as different and competitive as Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.

The 15-year-old boys have been swimming with the Bulkley Valley Otters Swim Club for nearly a decade, a tradition that started with their dad.

“He started training us here when we were four and then we got introduced to the program and stuck with it because it was what we liked to do,” said Bailey.

Tanner added that their father was on the national water polo team.

Since then, the duo have diversified their skills swimming anything from the 400 medley to breaststroke in countless competitions across the province.

“I like everything about it, pretty much” said Bailey. “I like staying in shape, I like competing. The best feeling is when you get a good time at a swim meet and you look up and see your time.”

Tanner specializes in the 1,500-metre or 800-metre freestyle, while Bailey specializes in the individual medley.

They have won numerous individual and team medals, most recently, their relay team took home silver at the AAA championship in Vancouver last year.

The number of medals they’ve won is an indication of how competitive they are against other swimmers and each other.

“There’s some showdowns sometimes,” said Bailey. “It alternates who wins, but it’s pretty exciting racing between us because we’ve always done it. It’s a gruelling experience when you race your brother.”

The Espersen twins admitted they used to play hockey, soccer, basketball and volleyball together, but gave it up for swimming.

“It keeps you out of trouble. There’s no better feeling than after a good race. Just coming into the pool everyday, I’ve got something to look forward to,” said Tanner.

Their love for swimming is also reflected in their lifestyle; they practice at the Bulkley Valley Aquatic Centre roughly eight times a week, on top of their “dryland” exercises.

“It’s more than just a sport, it consumes your life,” said Tanner. “If I wasn’t swimming, I don’t know what I would do with my time since it’s all we’ve been doing since we were four.”

According to coach Tom Best, the two may look similar, but differ significantly in their swim styles.

“Physically, they’re quite different and that means that there are differences in the events they swim,” said Best, who has coached the boys for the past two years.

“The biggest difference is Tanner is naturally very good at maintaining his base. Bailey has had to learn that, but he’s gotten a lot better at it. I think Tanner tries to be a little more precise at what he does, again Bailey has had to learn that.”

“Bailey’s bathing suits fall off on a much more regular basis, Tanner’s rarely do,” Best joked.

Though they are still in high school and post-secondary is a few years off, the brothers hope their skills will some day land them a scholarship or an opportunity to swim on a varsity team.

And while they’ve swam together their whole life, the twins said post-secondary may offer them a much-needed chance to swim apart.

“Separate wouldn’t be bad,” laughed Tanner.

“We spend a lot of time together right now, so hopefully when we get a bit older things will change and then we’ll go our own way, but we’ll still stick with swimming,” added Bailey.

The dynamic duo, along with fellow Otter teammates Gabrielle Correia and Luke Berarducci, are getting set to take on competitors at the AAA championships in Victoria from July 3-6.

Just Posted

Smithers golfer competes in university golf nationals

Mitchell Turko shot a final round 73 to finish tied for 24th

Climate, reconciliation and industry top all candidates agenda in Terrace

Debate was the candidate’s last opportunity to address voters in a public forum

Smithers fighter wins bronze at karate worlds

Lando Ball narrowly missed a chance to fight in the gold medal match in Austria

Climate change, economy and reconciliation take centre stage at Oct. 15 All-Candidates Forum

Six of the eight candidates were in attendance at the Smithers event

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read