The Nicola Valley Aquatic Centre was a beehive of activity on the weekend as over 250 age group swimmers from nine Interior clubs took part in the annual Merritt Otters Invitational Swim Meet.

A total of 34 Otters took part in their home competition, including close to a dozen first-timers.

The local participants recorded all kinds of personal bests en route to recording an impressive 114 top-eight finishes.

Leading the way in the PB department was eight-year-old Div. 1 swimmer Gabe Baird who took a full 55 seconds off his best previous time in the 100 metre freestyle event.

Other significant PBs were recorded by Ashley and Jensen Cavaliere, Haley Zabek and Laura Lefebvre.

Lefebvre and Jensen Cavaliere’s personal bests, by 23 and 29 seconds respectively, came in the 400 metre freestyle — a distance not normally competed at summer swim meets but offered at the Merritt event.

Otters swimmers shone in the relays also, as Merritt teams picked up a trio of bronze medals as well as three fourth-place finishes.

Five Otters were aggregate award winners in their respective divisions: Ashley Cavaliere (gold, Div. 1), Miranda Cavaliere (silver, Div. 1), Bianca Cavaliere (silver, Div. 3), Liam Warren (bronze, Div. 3) and Deirdra Holmwood (silver, Div. 7).

“As coaches, we felt the meet was a great success, both in terms of personal bests and team spirit,” said Chelsea Harris, who is co-coaching the Otters with Holmwood. “We were happy that our swimmers cheered on not only their teammates, but their friends from other clubs around the region.”

For local top eight finishers, pick up a copy of the Thursday, June 19 Merritt Herald, or check out the listings on page 21 of today’s e-edition.