Otters qualify for Provincials

The Bulkley Valley Otters swim club recently competed at the Northwest Regional Championships in Terrace, with teams from Smithers, Terrace, Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Houston competing. A number of Otters won medals, hit personal best (PB) times and qualifyied for the AAA provincials in Victoria in March.

BV Otters swimmer Monica Stevens swims a race at the Northwest Regional meet in Terrace on January 29.

BV Otters swimmer Monica Stevens swims a race at the Northwest Regional meet in Terrace on January 29.

The Bulkley Valley Otters swim club recently competed at the Northwest Regional Championships in Terrace, with teams from Smithers, Terrace, Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Houston competing. A number of Otters won medals, hit personal best (PB) times and qualifyied for the AAA provincials in Victoria in March.

At the Terrace meet, Brett Zollen and Brian Dohler both scored several PBs each, including several seconds each in the 400 m individual medley, and almost four seconds for Dohler in the 200 m butterfly. Zollen took the time while swimming the backstroke to yell encouragement to Dohler in the next lane.

“They’re pushing each other now, so that’s good,” said Otters coach Ali Howard.

Zollen finished first in the 15 and Over boys aggregate, with Dohler right behind in second place. Both will be competing in the AAA provincials, as well as the Western Nationals.

Bailey Esperson picked up the first place spot in the boys 11-12 aggregate, with teammate Luke Berarducci in third. Esperson’s twin brother Tanner finished with a solid 19:57.29 time in his first ever 1500 m free race, making the top ten provincial ranking. Berarducci and both Espersons will be competing at the AAA provincials. Adam Hartnett finished the meet with PBs in all eight events he swam in.

Cassie Horning-Wandler and Gabby Correia also qualified for the provincials. Correia finished in a tie for third in the girls 13-14 aggregate with fellow Otter Madison Lundberg. Lundberg will be at the AA provincials next weekend, and could still possibly qualify for the AAA meet in March.

“I was happy with the kids, they did really well,” said Howard.

The Otters finished third in the overall team aggregate scores, although Howard noted that most of the other clubs had larger groups of young swimmers on their teams, something she’d love to see increased in Smithers as well.