The Merritt Otters ended their season with a bang as two members shined at the provincials. The local club saw members, Tenley Post and Paige Asselstine, place in the top three for multiple events at the provincial tournament in Kamloops the weekend of August 19. Both swimmers stood at the podium for four different events respectively. This marks the end of the Otters return to competition after a couple of years away due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s actually a really big deal for these swimmers to place at their events,” said Coach Janis Post. “These placings are all within one hundredth of a second apart from each other. From first place down to eighth place, the level of competition across all of B.C. is actually insane.”

From Friday, August 19, to Sunday, August 21. The top swimmers in the province congregated at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Kamloops to compete for the fastest times in the pool.

“These are the top swimmers in the province for the B.C. Summer Swimming Association,” Post explained. “They are the top three swimmers from every region in B.C. and for our girls to win against them is really good.”

Tenley Post is competed in the Division 1 category. Over the weekend, she was able to win in the following categories.

100 IM: 2nd place (1:37.91)
50 Butterfly: 2nd place (43.79)
50 Breaststroke 2nd place (50:35)
100 Freestyle 1st place (1:27.36)
Regional Division 1 Girls Team Relay: 4th place

Tenley Post standing at the first place podium in her 2022 provincial meet. Photo/ Janis Post

“This year was hard but what I have learned is train insane or remain the same,” said the young swimmer.

Post has been a member of the Merritt Otters since she was five years old. Her appearance in Kamloops last weekend was the first time she had been part of a provincial tournament. This is not the case, however, for Paige Asselstine. The Division 7 swimmer has been to five provincial tournaments in her 10 years of being a member of the Merritt Otters.

“After a couple years of being set back, I was thrilled to participate in another provincial championships and take home some medals for the Okanagan region and represent my home club, The Merritt Otters,” she said.

“I’m proud that all the hard work paid off and I thank my coaches, Janis, Diya and Gabe, as well as my teammates for their support and positivity this swim season!”

In the provincials, Asselstine, was able to rack up the following accomplishments;

200 IM 1st place (2:36.78)
100 Backstroke: 3rd place (1:10.53)
100 Breastroke: 3rd place (1:20.48)
100 Freestyle: 3rd place (1:02.37)
Regional Division 7 Girls Team Relay: 2nd place

Paige Asselstine standing at the podium after a successful 2022 provincial meet. Photo/ Janis Post

Other members of the club put impressive performances as well, cracking as high as top 15 in certain events.

Olive Ware, Division 5 Girls results:
50 Freestyle: (30.47) 15th place
50 Butterfly: (35.45) 20th place
100 Breastroke: (1:31.98) 20th place
Regional Division 5 Girls Team Relay: 7th place

Kaiden Ricci-Bennie, Division 4 Boys results:
50 Freestyle (36.89) 32nd place

Diya Chhabra, Division 7 Girls results:
100 Butterfly: (1:56.90) 15th place
50 Butterfly: (46.80) 17th place
100 Freestyle: (1:29.98) 21st place

Gabriel Baird, Division 6 Boys results:
50 Freestyle: (29.85) 23rd place
100 Breastroke: (1:26.56) 21st place
100 Freestyle: (1:07.37) 23rd place
Regional Division 6 Boys Team Relay: 8th place

Club Relays:
Division 7 Girls 200 Medley Relay: 12th place
Swimmers: Olive Ware, Diya Chhabra, Laila Sahota, Paige Asselstine
Division 7 Girls 200 Freestyle Relay: 11th place
Swimmers: Jayda Starrs, Olive Ware, Laila Sahota, Paige Asselstine

“I’m really happy with everyone’s performances,” said Post. “It’s just a huge accomplishment to even get to the provincials.”

With the summer 2022 season coming to an end, the Merritt Otters now look towards their Winter Maintenance program which will be in October and is currently being finalized. Please visit the Merritt Otters official Facebook page to get the latest updates on their programs.