The Nechako Valley Otters. (Photo courtesy of the Nechako Valley Swim Club)

Nechako Valley Otters have a successful first season

Nechako Valley Otters club has been very successful in their first season this summer with their latest participation at the 2019 BC Summer Swimming Provincial Meet in Kamloops.

Five members of the Otters participated at the provincial meet held Aug 16 – Aug 18, after qualifying at the regional meet held in the first week of August

Out of the five, Lyric Kessler, made the A final in the girls eight and under, 50 m breast stroke and placed seventh overall. Other Otters at the meet were Hudson Grady, Thomas Reed, Adison Grady and James Reed.

Hudson Grady and Thomas Reed competed in the boys 9-10 years old division. Adison Grady competed in the girls 10-11 years old division and James Reed raced in the same age division for boys.

“Few summer swim clubs have had such successful first seasons as the Otters did this summer. The Otters’ provincial results are especially impressive since the southern-region swim clubs are located in higher population areas and have many more members and coaches than clubs in the Cariboo region. The Otters will continue to train over the winter, looking forward to the next competitive summer season beginning in May,” read a statement by the Nechako Valley Swim Club.

Meanwhile, in the regionals held during the first week of August in Prince George, Otters brought home multiple medals.

In the 10-11 years old girls division, Adison Grady won the 50 m breast stroke, placed second in the 50 m backstroke and third in 50 m freestyle.

In the boys 9-10 years division, Hudson Grady won the 100 m individual medley with an eight-second best time, placed second in both the 50 m freestyle and 50 m butterfly, and he placed third in the 50 m backstroke with a five second best time.

In the girls under eight division, Lyric Kessler won the 50 m backstroke and 50 m breaststroke, placed second in the 50 m freestyle and third in the 100 m freestyle.

In the boys 9-10 years old division, Thomas Reed placed second in the 100 m freestyle and third in the 50 m freestyle and 50 m backstroke.

In the 9 – 10 years old division, the Otters were represented by Maci Kadonaga and Milo Tait and the 12-13 years old division included Haylee Raby as well.

In the 10-11 age division, the Otters were represented by Jerytt Ephrom, James Reed, Kole Shoesmith and Josh Wu.

Andrea Grady, club president said the whole club is feeling an overwheling amount of pride with what the swimmers were able to accomplish this season.

“For the majority of swimmers, most were beginners with the basics of some freestyle and/or backstroke. By the end of the season, several were swimming clean butterfly, breastroke and individual medley races at a competitve level,” she said

The swimmers trained five times a week, she said, noting some groups trained for 1.5 hours each session and did dryland training.

“Our club actually had less practice time than the other clubs in our region due to our pool not being open full time yet. The Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre was very accommodating in helping us find extra practice time whenever it could fit into their operational schedule. Next summer, I’m optimistic that we’ll have regular Monday – Friday practices plus two morning swims per week,” Grady added.

From October until April, Grady said the club hopes to offer Fall and Winter maintenance swimming where swimmers can train up to 2 hours a week. She said the club will not be competing in sanctioned meets during this time but, “hopefully we can do a fun mini-meet, where swimmers can experience a race format.”

“With that being said, we are expecting an even bigger and faster club for the 2020 summer season,” Grady said.

She said the community support has been great, with local businesses and sponsors helping the club get off the ground.

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