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News May 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

Free Press Again (and again)

30 May: For another week we appear in the Free Press for the Doncaster Sports Award. Chairman Chris Hirst and Head Coach Andy Wallace are pictured with the trophy on the centre pages. Once again, the few paragraphs that are printed were not written by Dartes so please don't take offence if one or two inaccuracies sneaked in.

Free Press Again (and again)

30 May: For another week we appear in the Free Press for the Doncaster Sports Award. Chairman Chris Hirst and Head Coach Andy Wallace are pictured with the trophy on the centre pages. Once again, the few paragraphs that are printed were not written by Dartes so please don't take offence if one or two inaccuracies sneaked in.

This time though we also managed a 2nd article in the sports pages where we belong. Although not the entire article submitted about the NERs earlier in the month, it does celebrate Laura Hirst's (Edl) National Time as well as honouring the other members of our National Squad to date. A big thank you to Paul Goodwin again for finding the space to squeeze us in.

Our anonymous volunteer Press Officer has suggested that this is likely to be a regular occurence. Anyone who fancies trying their hand at writing a piece (either for the website or the local press) can either contact Dave Cuthbert or our anonymous Press Officer who will coordinate all future submissions.

All your efforts are greatly appreciated.

News Flash: We Won 'Top Amateur Club of the Year'!

Victorious Team 22 May: You all know how we hate to boast and gloat over our achievements (yeah right), so this will be kept short and sweet (mainly because everyone was drunk and they don't remember much).

Towards the end of last month, we reported how Dartes had been nominated for 'Amateur Sports Club of the Year' and Mighty Max for the 'Junior Sports Personality of the Year' in the Keepmoat stadium, Doncaster Sport Awards (Sponsored by Doncaster Free Press). Well in case you haven't heard, the results are in.

Max Litchfield (Spa) was runner-up in his award. Congratulations Max.

But the big one, the one Chris has been dreaming about for weeks, was shown off at Adwick on Saturday morning while he was sleeping off his celebration hang over.

Top Amateur Club An anonymous eye witness claims that Chris' impromptu acceptance speech on Friday night consisted of a drunken, deafening roar lasting a good few minutes. Scary enough, we're told, to make certain that no future nomination of Dartes will ever be accepted.
No air horns, cow bells, trumpets or drums too?
Talk about being ill prepared.

Anyway, this is a big deal and congratulations really must be passed down the pathway too. A fabulous job by Dartes in winning the award. But a huge thank you to each and every one of Doncaster's clubs for teaching the swimmers and training the coaches who've made winning this award possible.

Everyone involved in Doncaster Swimming: Give yourselves a huge pat on the back.

So in summary: Doncaster Dartes
Doncaster's Top Amateur Sports Club!
The Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster Sports Awards.

British International Disability Swimming Championships

16 May: Ponds Forge was quieter than normal for a big meet, but at first glance it wasn't much different. Julie and Gary were manning the PAW store in the entrance as usual. Swimmers were milling around wearing familiar club tracksuits and carrying bags adorned with well known club logos. There were the usual little pockets of spectators in the seating area and the swimmers all seemed older than at your typical meet (unless you compete at Masters).

The biggest difference at first though, appeared to be the TV cameras at the top of the stand above the Omega Suite. But then this is meant to be a big, high profile, international swim meet so you'd probably expect that.

The pool deck too was much the same as normal; crowded with swimmers and coaches. Zipping between them, the occasional wheel chair. walking among them you can't help but do the obligatory double take as you spot an unattached leg propped up against the wall or poking out from under a bag.


Yeah, welcome to disability swimming. Don't worry, they were false legs and there were plenty more surprises to come. Essentially though, this is just another swim meet, just with different faces.

We're here of course, because [Name Removed] (Drn) was contesting a bunch of swims as an S14. As reported back in March, [Name Removed]'s been selected to the North East Regional Talent Programme, so this was also a good opportunity to meet the staff responsible for running that and to learn a little about disability swimming first hand.

And let me tell you, the ASA are taking disability swimming very seriously.

In the world of professional cycling, there's a bit of a joke that Team GB is the only professional track team in the world. Sure, there are professional road teams, and there are professional off-road teams, but British Cycling is considered to be the only pro team dedicated to the track.
No real competition then?
We've already seen the results that brings.

It didn't take long on deck this weekend to realise that something similar is happening in disability swimming. Looking around (with Karen's Yorkshire Disability Team Manager's eye as a guide) there was the "Performance Director Row" above the Omega Suite where Tim Reddish and staff were analysing results. On deck were numerous ASA appointed coaches checking on GB squad athletes. Including Carl Cooper who will be visiting Dartes 3 times this year to check on [Name Removed]. We had doping control, we had physio tables, and those TV cameras? Well more likely than not, they're actually used for stroke/race analysis than any TV coverage.

3 years out from the London Olympics, disability swimming is clearly being ear marked as a big medal winning sport!

But enough of the dreams, how did [Name Removed] perform?

11 swims over the weekend including two 400m Freestyles was a tough programme, but she did well. A Bronze medal in the 200m IM on Friday. Then massive PBs at 100m Backstroke: first dipping under 1:30 in the heats for a 1:29, and then following up with a wild 1:26 in the final. Solid Freestyle swimming too, with another big PB in the 400m first thing on Saturday (but with plenty still to learn about pacing). The weekend finished off with a Silver medal in the 100m Butterfly.

To top it off, a quick glance over the programme suggests she's also the youngest S14 competing at this level, but I'm sure I'll be quickly corrected.

More Publicity Please -- We Have a Sport to Sell!

Swimming Times Magazine 16 May: How many of you have just received this month's glossy, new-look Swimming Times? Turn to page 14 and think very carefully how Nick's article also applies at a local level in Doncaster, and not just Nationally.

There's such a lot going on in our little community of 9 clubs and the Dartes programme that the whole of Doncaster should be hearing about, so why aren't we telling them?

We should be going out of our way to tell the rest of the town about how Max Litchfield (Spa) over came injury to qualify for 10 events at Nationals this July (10 events so far, that is).

Waxing lyrical about Sohie Taylor's (Arm) exploits at the British Gas Championships back in March and her quest for a medal at Nationals in July.

This past weekend Sohie Coy (Adw) notched up another NQT. In my opinion, that too is quite a big deal. But who knows? Regular readers of this website and her team mates, but no one else.

Sophie Another young man over coming a serious shoulder injury qualified for his first Nationals last weekend: Matthew Davies (Arm) at Middlesbrough. Again, who knows about it? And out of those who do, how many appreciate the anguish he's been through just to continue swimming?

These are some of the most talented, hard working athletes in Doncaster, irrespective of which sport you follow. Yet we hide them from view as though they're not worthy to be mentioned on the same page as, heaven forbid, the mighty Doncaster Rovers! Now I'm not knocking the guys from the Keepmoat stadium, but Doncaster is home to some of the best swimmers in the country -- it's about time everyone knew.

GB 4 If Doncaster Swimming (by which I mean Dartes and all the clubs) is to grow, we need to use the success of our star performers to sell our sport and our clubs. Just like British Swimming needs to capitalise on Doc, Flash, Smiley, Handy, and Frantastic.

But it's not just National level swimming we need to shout about. How many times have you read about the success our clubs enjoy in the local leagues?
You never have, seriously?
Oh dear, talk about missed advertising opportunities.

How many times do you read about junior football leagues and some village cricket team in the Free Press or one of the free village papers we all receive. We have 9 grass roots clubs in Doncaster and the elite Dartes programme, surely there's enough good stuff happening between us all to fill a full page spread each month.

So here's 2 things I'd like to see happen over the next few months.
1. Someone volunteer for the role of Dartes Press Officer.
2. The DMASA appoint a Press Officer (maybe the same person) for Doncaster Swimming.

As Nike were fond of saying:
Just Do It!

Sophie Adds More!

9/10 May: While Head Coach Andy Wallace took a select group up to Middlesboro for a residential meet, Assistant Coach Dave Cuthbert took a small group of those remaining to the Sports Aid meet at John Charles in Leeds.

This annual double meet weekend always stirs up a little competition, and although there's no confirmation as yet from those travelling down from Boro, it looks likely that the Leeds group won the Gold medal tally -- and then some! The new NQT count ended 1 all (again, waiting for confirmation).

It was only a small group in Leeds, but they did the banner proud!

Sophie Adds Another The 14 and over girls were particularly impressive winning most of the Gold they contested by a street. Sophie Coy (Adw) won their first Gold in the 100m Freestyle. She had to, there aren't many more opportunities left for her to qualify for Nationals in this event and her determination was plain to see.

By the half way turn she was already 1sec in the lead. Out of the turn she made her move and left the rest for dead. She stormed to a near 3sec win.
National Qualifying time: 1:01.13
Sophie's Pb up until today: 1:01.20

Sophie's new Pb: 1:00.97!
Event number 2 added to Sophie's programme at Nationals in the summer.

In the afternoon reinforcements arrived (as if any were needed). The first event after the interval saw Laura Hirst (Edl) attempting to better her 200m Backstroke NQT from last weekend.
National Time: 2:29.53
Last week's time: 2:28.87

Laura Last week Laura attacked the 200m from the start and almost split inside the 100m NQT (but could hardly get out of the pool at the end). This week, her pace was a little more sedate. At the half way turn she was only slightly ahead of the opposition, almost 2secs slower than last time. Rumour has it Chairman Chris was slightly concerned in the grandstand.

But with the turn came another gear.
Suddenly, clear water opened up as she powered down the 3rd 50m. The gap continued getting bigger all the way to the finish where the scoreboard would eventually confirm a 6sec win.

Was it faster than last week?
Most definitely.
But there's another mark up for grabs too. Unofficially, the fastest time by a Dartes girl in this event was recorded by Emma Parker (Adw) way back in 1995.
Emma's time: 2:27.84
Laura's new PB: 2:27.79!

But then Sophie returned to the fore. Not content with a single NQT this weekend, she was also desperately chasing the 50m Freestyle standard. Another Gold medal was clearly heading her way by 25m, but her only race was with the clock.
50m Freestyle NQT: 28.44
Sophie touched in: 28.54
Agonisingly close and the double meet contest could have been wrapped up on new National times without going to the medal count.

Emma Emma Humphreys (Ros) would like everyone to know that:
"I work really, really hard but just miss out on my National time every year".
Well she was 2secs off it going in to the 200m Butterfly with team mate Laura 4secs off her age group's.

It was a long shot, it would have needed something spectacular to pull it off, and it wasn't to be today. They did however, provide everyone with a superb demonstration of 200m Butterfly swimming. The two Dartes girls were head to head and trading the lead throughout. In the end they touched together, over 10secs ahead of the Derwentside girl in 3rd.

Two more medals for the older girls!

And so it continued.

The rest of the team also pulled out some good swims. Chloe Hardy (Adw) and Charlie Casson (Adw) appeared to be ripping up their PB sheets with every swim. Well done to both. Now we just need to teach Chloe how to dance -- Sophie Taylor if you're reading, over to you!

Those age groupers who hit PBs mid-training cycle need to learn how to smile and enjoy 2 or 3 PBs in a weekend. Knocking big chunks off your best times every trip to the pool is now a thing of the past. A PB IS a PB! All of you managed a few, so lose the long faces.

Be happy with what you did well.
Identify the points you need to improve on for next time.
Return to the training pool and fix them.
Then next time, hold your head high when you get it right!

And finally, Leah Tierney (Drn), Natasha Crow (SAS), and Lily Metcalfe (Spa), will you be taking over from the 3 bling collecting girls at the start of this article in a few year's time?
That's up to you!
We'll be watching.

Matty Davies -- Superstar!

Matty Davies -- Superstar! 9 May: Hip Hip, Hooray!

3 cheers for Matthew Davies (Arm), the 9th member of the 2009 National Squad after barn storming his way through a 100m Backstroke at the Middlesboro open.

Congratulations Mat, you deserve that one!
national squad ...

Another Meet, Another NQT!

Laura 2 May: Will this ever get boring?

Day 1 of NER Youth Champs and Dartes adds yet another member to its National Squad. Having qualified for 1500m Fc last year, and 400m IM in 2007, Laura Hirst (Edl) goes back to 2006 by qualifying for 200m Bc.

Along the way, her 100m split was only 0.64 from qualifying for the shorter event too.
national squad ...

9 Swim 1500m Time Trials

Rachel 2 May: Places were limited and only 9 could take part which really upset Sophie because she loves racing 15s and had to miss out.

Back in January when the Senior squad were off competing at the Derby open, Max, Elliot, Martyn, and Luke took up the challenge of upstaging them by blasting through a heat of 1500m Freestyle time trials.

Well, when the old guys are away, the kids will play.

This weekend's NER Youth/Junior Championships was all the encouragement they needed to stage round 2! This time not a single heat -- but 3! 9 challengers stepped up to the blocks at Adwick leisure centre for a fun-filled, red faced, gasping for breath, 60 length race of sheer pain; followed by rolling on to the pool side exhausted.

Elliot And all that before the rest of Doncaster had even woken up. There's nothing quite like racing a 1500m at 6.30 on a Saturday morning in Spring.

Heat 1 consisted of 3 of the guys from last time: Max Litchfield (Spa) looking very, very strong for the fastest time of the morning; Elliot Trofimowicz (Spa) who's customary false start caused a restart (maybe we should make him swim it on Fly next time) touched 2nd; and Martyn Rushton (Spa) dived in for his 3rd attempt of 2009.

Heat 2 saw Luke Shpylka (SAS) reduce his previous time by a substantial amount (but there's still more to come); joined by Richard 'Bruce' Lee (Spa), and the rampaging buffalo that is Nik Grainger (Spa) who touched first in heat 2 and looked extremely comfortable.

Luke Swim of the day though probably goes to Nik's sister Rachel Grainger (Spa) who managed to keep a high pace going throughout the entire distance and with the earlier heat providing pace-makers for the last 200m managed to dig deep and find a little extra at the end. A strong reminder of why she won Silver at Yorkshires in February.

Holly Lewis (SAS) stayed close to finish just 50m behind, and Alex Cook (Spa) swam in the same heat but decided to step down to an 800m at the last second.

The times will be in the results archive shortly.