For possibly the first time in the organization’s storied history, the Merritt Otters Swim Club has two provincial champions in one year.

Fifteen-year-old Taylor Carmichael and nine-year-old Bianca Cavaliere were both gold medal winners at the 2012 British Columbia Summer Swimming Championships, held from August 17-19 in Nanaimo.

Carmichael, competing in the Division 5 girls’ category, was actually a two-time winner, as she captured top honours in both of her specialties – the 50m and 100m butterfly events. Her time in the 100m race (1:08.46) set a new provincial record, eclipsing the previous standard set one year ago by eight-hundredths of a second.

Carmichael also picked up second-place silver medals in both the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley events, and a bronze medal as a member of the Division 5 Okanagan regional relay team.

Cavaliere was a gold medalist in the 50m freestyle event for Division 1 girls with a new personal best time of 36.68 seconds. She also picked up silver medals in the individual 100m freestyle competition and in the Division 1 regional relay.

“The 50m free race was incredibly exciting,” stated Cavaliere’s proud mom, Lisa. “It was so very close.”

In total, eight members of the local Otters swim club took part in Provincials.

“It was a fantastic weekend,” said Otters’ coach Julia Dutove, “with lots of great swims. Reese [Paterson] swam a huge best time in her 100 IM, while the boys’ relay team shaved 17 seconds off their time at Regionals.