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News January 2009

Keep up to date with what's happening at Dartes and performance swimming in Doncaster. This page records the news as it happens -- history in the making!

The Stories behind the Headlines

Submit Meet Entries Online

29 Jan: Anyone who has ever taken on the task of Competition Secretary for any swim club will know that collecting meet entries on little slips of paper and filling out meet entry forms is a time consuming and error prone activity. In an attempt to reduce the amount of work thrown at Peter Litchfield, we've introduced an online meet entry form.

It looks similar to our paper based version so filling it in will be familiar to everyone. The difference though, when you hit the submit button, everyone's entries are inserted into Peter's Excel Spreadsheet without any additional work.

Things are still in their early days and it's still very simple. The more it gets used and the more suggestions we receive for improving it the better we can make it for everyone.

Unfortunately you still have to pay for your entries by hand though. Please don't forget, or your entries will not be processed!
online entries ...

Dolphin Kick on Freestyle

27 Jan: As anyone in Phase 4 (Age Group Squad) will tell you, dolphin kicking out of your turns is something to get good at because you're going to be doing it an awful lot. Going through the motions just to satisfy Coach Dave isn't really going to help you in the long term, you need to embrace it and get very, very good at it.
But why?
What's the advantage?

We're starting to see a few Dartes swimmers make good use of Fly kick in competitions. Just last night in training we saw excellent demonstrations from James Mullen (Arm) and Martyn Rushton (Spa) all the way through a set of 13 x 100 Bc. Then later, a similar high standard was set by Shannon Dodson (Spa) and Keagan Guest (Spa) during a Fly kick set. This proves you're capable of using it to your advantage, you just need the confidence to use it in competition.

So here's why it's so important. Freestyle is the stroke least likely to benefit from underwater dolphin kick because it's the fastest stroke. Yet even so, in the following video, Amaury Leveaux uses it so well that he demolishes the final of the 100m Fr at Euro Short Course and smashes the World Record in the process.

You still have doubts as to why it's so important?

Big Turnout for Yorkshires

22 Jan: The entries are in for the Spring Yorkshires, and as expected the numbers are very high. A total of 61 individual swimmers should show the rest of Yorkshire that Doncaster means business at this year's event.


Although the primary objective for 2009 was to increase Doncaster's representation at our County Championships, we're confident of some super swims and a bagful of medals too.

A big thank you to Peter Litchfield (Competition Secretary) for the hard work involved in collecting entries and filling in all the forms.

JDS Time Trials

18 Jan: A sensational turnout (185 swims over 2 Sunday afternoons) produced over 40 Yorkshire qualifying times, mostly for 200m events, although a few 50m events were included too. The enthusiastic turn out over both Sundays suggests that Doncaster Dartes might be taking its biggest team to Yorkshires for a long, long time.

Coach Kevin Nicholas' target for the first few months of the JDS was always to increase our representation at Spring Yorkshires, hopefully that target is set to be achieved in some style.

Any age-groupers with qualifying times should submit their entries to Competition Secretary Peter Litchfield before Thursday 22nd Jan!

A huge thank you to those coaches, and other volunteers who helped make these time trials the success that they proved to be. All the results from both weekends can be found in the results archive.

Medals and Tickets Galore at Rotherham A/B

Guess who? 18 Jan: This weekend's Rotherham A/B meet produced a whole heap of medals, speeding tickets, and some massive best times.

Many swimmers took the opportunity to swim long course events they haven't swum for a few months in addition to their more favoured events. The huge PB league table was headed by the Rushton family, with Leah (Spa) dropping a whopping 34sec since the same weekend last year in the 200 Fly, and brother Martyn (Spa) following up with a similarly sized 33sec drop in the 200m Br. After seeing the small improvements being made week in and week out over short course by many Dartes swimmers, it's staggering to be reminded of the yearly improvement represented by these huge time drops over long course. Well done guys.

The Smith twins weren't far behind on the improvements table either. Kelly Smith (Arm) took the lead with two massive 20sec improvements in 100 Br and 100 Fly, whereas sister Kim Smith (Arm) earned another 14sec drop on her 100m Fly.

There were many more notable swims over the weekend, with Dartes swimmers earning 62 Yorkshire age-group qualifying times and a further 22 Senior/Junior times. On top of that, 16 NER age-group times were recorded and 9 NER Senior/Junior times too. Overall in this meet Dartes finished as 3rd top club with 30 Gold medals, 19 Silver, and 7 Bronze. There were also 11 speeding tickets awarded too. A successful weekend's swimming then.

An extra special mention also goes to Bethany Reddy (Arm) for dropping 15sec on her 200m Br since June. Just reward for all those extra early mornings she's been enjoying recently. Well done.

Thanks to Dennis Buxton for the stats and times.
results archive ...

Turns Made Simple

18 Jan: Before last year's Olympic Games, the BBC had GB's Athens Bronze medalist, Steve Parry, produce a short video to describe swimming turns. For anyone struggling to get to grips with a proper open turn (Br/Fly) this very simple video should help you visualise what's required.

2009 Dartes Meets Announced

16 Jan: The Information Packs for our two Spring meets are now available for download. Last year's raging success, the Minster B/C Meet, makes a return for its 2nd year. Hot on its heels, the ever popular Dartes B Grade Meet also returns for its 18th year.

Enter early to avoid disappoinment as these meets always fill up fast!
open meets ...

Derby Results Added

12 Jan: The results from the City of Derby open meet have now been added to the results archive.
results archive ...

24 NEW Yorkshire Times from JDS

11 Jan: A successful session of time trials for the Junior Development Squad threw up 20 qualifying times over 200m and a further 4 over 50m. With Breaststroke and IM still to come that figure is set to rise still further!

A Quick Dip Before Breakfast

10 Jan Not to be outshone by the senior Dartes squad at the Derby open meet, 4 age-groupers stepped up to the blocks for a 1500m Fr time trial before sun-rise and in the middle of Saturday morning training.

Gaining valuable experience before the upcoming Yorkshires, first timers Elliot Trofimowicz (Spa), Martyn Rushton (Spa), and Luke Shpylka (SAS) followed the fast pace (17mins 25) set by 1500m Fr veteran Max Litchfield (Spa) at around 7am this morning, having already completed their first hour's training!

A great effort for such an early hour boys, well done.

In Ain't Over...

8 Jan: Let's start 2009 with a worthwhile new year's resolution.

Thou must always finish hard!

We regularly impress upon you the importance of practicing your finishes on every swim in training. Finishing hard from the flags; hitting the wall on the end of a full stroke; head down for the last 5m. It all helps prepare you to win races, as you'll see in the video below (courtesy of

During the Olympics you saw plenty of examples of why you need sharp finishes. Here's one more from earlier this week.

It's a new year US College dual meet between SMU and Georgia. In the men's 200yd Fc the last 5m proved crucial. Keep your eyes on lanes 3, 4, and 5 at the bottom of the pool.

Who wins?
And why?

These early year dual meets aren't about fast times, they're all about hard racing. Everyone is still in full training (read the Dave Holmes article to learn more about what that means) but they still need to race hard and finish sharp to earn their scholarships.

The league galas our clubs compete in are very similar. Before the 2009 gala season begins it's worth thinking about the benefits those galas provide. They are the perfect place for you to hone your racing skills. Whether learning to pace 100s in the Pocklington Times League, or sharpening your sprint reactions in the Barnsley Minors, never ever let a race go to waste!

And always remember:

It ain't over, till it's over