Classics head east for Western training camp
Montreal, at last glance, is still in Eastern Canada.
Grade 8 students Colin Gilbert and Megan Dalke, both 13-year-old Kamloops Classics swimmers, learned that in elementary school.
It might not seem natural, then, that the Prospects West Training Camp (PWTC), a gathering of the best young swimmers in the West, is being held in La Belle Province next week.
Montreal, however, is also hosting the Olympic Trials next week, making the event’s location ideal, according to Brad Dalke, the Classics’ head coach, who will also attend the training camp.
“They wanted to tie everything in with Olympic trials so that the kids get this kind of focus and it highlights what everybody is working toward,” he said.
“A lot of the kids that you see at the Olympic trials competing are former Prospects West team members.”
Gilbert and the Dalkes (Brad is Megan’s father) are part of Team B.C., which will compete against Alberta and a combined Saskatchewan-Manitoba team on Thursday, March 29, and Friday, March, 30, after the training camp sessions — to be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning — are over.
Gilbert qualified for the team by swimming the 1,500-metre freestyle in 17:05.03 at the provincial AAA swimming championships, which were held in Surrey earlier this month.
Dalke swam the 800-metre freestyle in 9:16.01 at the same event to earn a spot at the PWTC.
The Kamloops swimmers’ times were ranked on an International Swimming Federation points scale.
“It’s a mathematical formula rated on swim times,” the Classics’ coach said.
“One thousand points would basically be a world-record swim.”
Dalke’s swim at provincials hit 661 points on the points scale, while Gilbert chimed in at 575.
Both swimmers said watching the Olympic trials is what excites them most about going to Montreal.
“People train for four years and you’ve got one chance,” said Gilbert, a Westsyde secondary student.
The Classics’ head coach’s daughter would be delighted to one day be in a position to swim for her country.
“It’s just exciting to watch the trials and there’s people there that I look up to,” said Dalke, who attends Sa-Hali secondary.
“I’d like to make the Olympics. I want make the Olympics.”
Annamay Pierse, Julia Wilkinson, Brian Johns and Scott Dickens will be competing at Olympic Trials.
They are among the swimmers Dalke and the Classics look up to because they have hosted Future Stars clinics at the Canada Games Pool inside the Tournament Capital Centre.
The camp will give the Classics’ swimmers a chance to see how they stack up with Western Canada’s best, an opportunity they plan to relish.
“It will be fun to race them because they’re the same speed as you,” Dalke said.
“It’s better competition.”
It will also allow them to expand their cultural horizons and have fun in the process.
“You’ve got to remember, as much as they’re accomplished swimmers, they’re only 13 years old,” coach Dalke said.