For the first time in its history, the Kamloops Classics Swim Club has been named Swim B.C.'s 2012 club of the year.
The Classics were given the award at Swim B.C.'s annual awards banquet and the B.C. Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Vancouver on Saturday. Classics head coach Brad Dalke was at the ceremony to accept the award alongside assistant coaches Patrick Waters and Randy Kloska.
The award was in recognition of a stellar season in and out of the pool - among other reasons, the club has a great base of volunteers, and also has been very involved in the community. Most notably, the Classics contributed to the Swim Around the World Challenge, which was part of the 25th anniversary of Rick Hansen's Man In Motion World Tour.
But the biggest contributing factor for the award was the club's performance in the pool.
The Classics had excellent showings this summer at provincials and age-group nationals, along with senior nationals in Edmonton, where Dylana Milobar took home rookie-of-the-meet honours.
But it was the club's performance at age-group nationals in Calgary at the end of July that really stood out for Dalke. The Classics had 18 swimmers qualify for the championships.
"We've had a lot of good swimmers come through the club," Dalke said Sunday, "but we've never had 18 kids qualify for Canadian age-group swim nationals.
"Eighteen kids - that's like taking an entire hockey team over there . . ."
And the Classics swimmers weren't simply qualifying for nationals and then showing up to gain experience - "We were competing, and we won a number of medals," Dalke said.
Included in the medal winners were Colin Gilbert and Dalke's daughter, Megan, each of whom picked up multiple medals.
The Classics finished 33rd overall out of 180 clubs.
"We beat lots of bigger teams," Brad Dalke said. "We weren't simply there as participants or spectators . . . and I think out of everything we accomplished, that was the biggest."
The Classics plan to display their trophy in one of the cabinets in the lobby at Canada Games Aquatic Centre.