The flu season met the swim season but that did not stop the efforts of the Bulkley Valley Otters as they swam to 12 wins at the Technicon Winter Swim Meet in Kitimat last weekend.
Two swimmers in particular stood out as they were named among the top performers in the competition. Zach Durnin, with wins in the 100 and 200 breaststroke as well as the 400 individual medley, was the bronze medalist in the 10 and under category.
The medley race is a combination of four lengths each of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and front crawl.
Fergus Hobson, 16, took the 100 and 200 butterfly events to go with a surprise win in the 1500 freestyle for the bronze in the senior boys division.
Hobson surprised those in attendance by qualifying for the provincial championships in the 200 fly and then held off the opposition in the 1500 meters.
“That’s 60 lengths as fast as you can go. His pacing was perfect. The first and second halves of the race were the same speed, to the tenth of a second. Pretty good for his first try at that distance,” said coach Tom Best.
With only nine swimmers in attendance, the team made quite a splash with top performances by all swimmers. Milana Anokhina, 7, competing against swimmers up to three years older showed how great effort matched with good technique can overcome size as she scored wins in the 25 freestyle and 25 backstroke. River Stokes DeYoung, 15, had a challenging weekend battling the flu but still came up with wins in the 200 breaststroke and 200 freestyle.
“I’ll have to say that River was an inspiration to the team by the way he did not back down and gave it his best despite having been ill for almost two weeks. He’s one tough kid,” said Best.
Other winners included Byron Greene, 12, and Claire McAulay, 11, both in the 50 butterfly.
Liam Belanger, 12, had one of the best overall performances in the meet as he shaved time off all of his races.
“That was one of the hardest schedules anyone had in the meet. He had some very tough swims like the 400 medley and the 200 butterfly and not much rest between races. Both he and Byron also had back-to-back relay swims but they just got up there and gave their best effort every time,” said Best.
Also in attendance were first-time competitors Billy Flint and Elia Garland, both 9, stepping up on the blocks for the first time and acquitting themselves very well with very competitive performances.
The team next sees action next month when they travel to Prince Rupert.
– Submitted by the Bulkley Valley Otters.