Passing the bar
“Shaved, tapered and ready to go.”
That’s how Kamloops Classic Swimming head coach Brad Dalke described his charges, all of whom will be looking to perform well this weekend at the MJB Law Classic Invitational.
“Last year, we had 18 age-group national qualifiers, which, for our club, is absolutely phenomenal and for this size of community is incredible,” said Dalke, noting the home-pool meet is the first measuring stick of the 2012-2013 season.
“Time standards have dropped to the tune of about three per cent faster with Swimming Canada, so we’ve got a lot of kids that have lost their qualifying times that are now trying to re-qualify.”
The MJB Law Classic will run from Friday, Dec. 14, to Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Tournament Capital Centre’s Canada Games Aquatic Centre.
There is a plethora of big meets toward which the Classics are swimming, knowing a good showing this weekend can only help their cause.
The 2013 Canadian Age Group Championships — featuring the best 12- to 18-year-old swimmers in the country — are slated to run from July 24 to July 29 in Montreal, a week after the summer nationals are held in the same city.
Limited are the opportunities swimmers have to post times worthy of qualification for those events.
The 2013 senior national championships — which double as a qualification meet for the 2013 world championships — will be held from April 3 to April 6 in Victoria.
Dylana Milobar of the Classics was named rookie of the meet at the 2012 senior nationals in Edmonton and is looking to improve on an eighth-place finish in the women’s 100-metre breaststroke consolation final.
Megan Dalke, Brad’s daughter, is eyeing her maiden voyage to senior nationals and Colin Gilbert is trying to close the gap on a qualifying time for the same meet.
Dalke and Gilbert are aiming also to crack the Swimming Canada team set to attend the North American Challenge Cup, which runs from Aug. 8 to Aug. 10 in Seattle.
They must maintain good results at meets throughout the season — including this weekend’s competition — to be picked for the squad, which is a junior-national development team.
“These are all stepping stones and, if you post a time that’s fast enough, then you move into the upper echelon, but you’ve got to continue to move forward,” Dalke said.
Milobar will have another target on her radar in 2013 — the Canada Summer Games, slated to run from Aug. 1 to Aug. 9 in Sherbrooke, Que.
Team B.C. will be selected based on results at senior nationals, with only 12 female swimmers making the team.
“They are looking at stats,” Dalke said. “Swimming is absolute. It’s objective. Either you swim fast or you don’t. We’re always working to try and improve our swimmers’ best times.”
Many of the River City club’s members have the Speedo Western Canadian Championships — Feb. 14 to Feb. 17 in Saskatoon — and provincial championships — Feb. 28 to March 3 in Victoria — circled on their calendars.
The first stroke will be taken this weekend in the Tournament Capital.
“For us, and a lot of the teams in the province, this is the meet that we focus on for the first half of the short-course season,” said Dalke, whose club will host about 560 swimmers from 20 clubs across B.C. and Alberta this weekend.
“These kids are primed to perform and ready to make their qualifying times.”