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News March 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

Hannah Selected to Tri Talent

Hannah Hirst 29 Mar: It's just been confirmed that Hannah Hirst (SAS) has been selected onto the regional Triathlon Talent Squad following a time trial and selection day earlier this month.

Hannah was put forward for the trial by her form teacher, Ross Cooney, whom many of our eagle eyed spectators will have seen splashing around at early morning training. Ross (or Mr Cooney to Hannah and her class mates) represented GB at World Triathlon Championships in Vancouver last year.

After the selection day at John Charles Centre for Sport, Hannah has been invited to join the Talent Squad which meets once each month to learn about transitions, diet, fitness, and open water swimming too. This is part of the British Triathlon Federation's attempts to identify young talent early and coach them on the skills they will need to succeed.

Related: Last year we heard from another of our former swimmers Rebecca Milnes (SAS) about her experiences of swimming and competing for GB at Triathlon.

Sophie Coy NQT 100m Fly at Sheffield Premier

Hannah Hirst 28 Mar: Our 5th qualifier for 2009 Nationals is Sophie Coy (Adw) after dipping under the qualifying time for 100m Fly.

In what is considered to be a very high level open meet we came home with 3 Gold medal, 2 Silver, and 4 Bronze medals. Along the way, we notched up 8 swims within National Qualifying Time standards, Sophie's the only new one but many of the others were improvements.

Most Improved in Yorkshire

22 Mar: Thanks to the hard work of Mr Statistician Dennis Buxton, we knew our results from each of the previous weekends of Yorkshire Championships were a dramatic improvement over recent years. We arrived at Ponds Forge on Saturday to discover we had built up a healthy lead in the official 'Most Improved Club' competition (a 35% improvement compared to our closest challenger Rotherham Metro with 19%). The Team

We were also quietly -- or rather noisely -- expecting to continue that trend over the last weekend of sprints and teams. And continue it we certainly did ...

... Super Saturday turned into a medal fest for an on-fire Dartes squad. Sensational Sunday saw us pick up more medals thoughout the age groups right up to the end of the meet.

You'll have to wait for the details, but needless to say that the Most Improved Club trophy returned to Doncaster for the 4th time (the previous being: 1987, 1991, and 2003). The challenge for next year is to build on this year's success and challenge for Most Improved Club for a second year running!

Other awards won over the weekend are as follows:
- The Chris Hirst award for 'Club with Biggest/Best Banner'.
- The DC award prestented to the club with the noisiest supporters.
- The Andrew Wallace award for best club called Dartes!
- The Steve Dodson award for most exciting race (to the 11 years girls free team).

A huge thank you to everyone who helped win those awards:
- Our fantastic bunch of athletes
- Team managers
- Coaches (and a special pat on the back to Neil for his hard work and for finding replacements for injured/ill swimmers)
- All our noisey parents
- and of course, Mr T for delivering a truly fabulous banner!
- let's not forget Steve Dodson for the air horn (and Leane for teaching him how to use it)

Congratulations everyone -- enjoy your celebratory training session at 5am Monday morning!

North East Regional Talent Programme

Chloe 20 Mar: She's only been at Dartes for 2 minutes so the credit should really go to Stocksbridge and Dearne Valley, but our latest recruit [Name Removed] (Drn) is making headlines already.

Earlier this week [Name Removed] was included in the ASA North East Regional Talent Programme. This programme underpins the World Class Talent Programme for disability swimming and National Disability Sports Organisation structures to help swimmers progress to the highest level possible.

This prestigious programme includes Talent Day training camps and support from some of the top coaches in disability swimming.

From everyone at Dartes:
Congratulations [Name Removed].

Successful Week at British Champs

19 Mar This week, one of Dartes most successful current swimmers Sophie Taylor (Arm) competed for the first time at the British Gas Championships (The British Swimming Championships also doubling as World Championship Trials) at Ponds Forge. It's a venue that she has raced in many times at all levels from A/B grade through to Nationals.

This major meet was different though. Sophie found herself surrounded by World class senior/junior swimmers. Even though the pool in Sheffield has become a second home to her over the past couple of years, she found herself racked with nerves and feeling very tense.

Sophie Wins Yorkshire 100m Br The whole point of Sophie competing at this particular meet was to gain valuable experience of being in a high pressure environment and learning how to deal with it while still producing good quality swimming.

As the youngest swimmer competing in Tuesday's Womens 100m Breaststroke, Sophie managed to swim exceptionally well. She finished second in what was quite a fast heat. Two of the three swimmers that beat her at 2008 Nationals also swam in the same heat. So this was a good opportunity to see how she stacked up against the girls she will be racing against at the end of the season.

It looked very promising as Sophie looked controlled and powerful down the first 50m. Then after the turn she produced a strong finish to beat both of them and finish 36th out of 50 swimmers.

On Thursday Sophie returned for the 200m Breaststroke, the weaker of her two main events. Previously she's always struggled with fitness on the last 100m. Having stepped up her training volume this season though, the benefits were clear to see and their wasn't a hint of fatigue in sight. After uncharacteristically going out slow over the first 100m (1:20.22), sophie was able to come back in 1:23.18 to finish in a new PB of 2:43.40. That earned her 33rd out of 45, and means that she has now swum faster than the 17yrs Girls 100m and 200m National Qualifying Times; Sophie turned 13 at the beginning of last month!

Even though these achievements are fantastic and the experience invaluable, the thing that impressed Head Coach Andrew Wallace the most, was this:

"The thing that impressed me the most this week, was the fact that after each day at British Champs Sophie was back in the pool that afternoon training and working on the things we highlighted as areas to improve."

Over the next few months Sophie knows she can make big improvments and seems determined to move things forward and enhance the already high level of swimming she has produced this year.

On behalf of everyone at Dartes Coach Wallace and Chairman Chris Hirst added:

"We would like to say well done to Sophie.
Again, you have done us proud."