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A Year Ago Today

It's one year ago to the day that we added the video of Hill Taylor's underwater 100 yard fly kick.

Take a look ...

News November 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

It Must Be Record Season!

Magnificent Max! 29 Nov: As if there haven't been enough Records broken for one month Max Litchfield (Spa) adds a couple of big ones to his collection.

We didn't realise while writing the reports, we were distracted by the flood of Gold heading our way, but another two Yorkshire Short Course Records now belong to Max to go with the 200m IM that he smashed at Yorkshires. His new pair are the 400m IM and 100m Backstroke.

We knew it had been a good weekend, but this is the icing on a very large slice of cake. Congratulations Max, and well done to the rest of the team.

In case anyone is interested, the Yorkshire SA website has already been updated. Dartes now own 5 Boys Short Course Records courtesy of Max, Sam Seddon (Adw), and Greg Viercant (Arm).

Bruce Almighty -- The NER Medal Fest Continues

Richard 'Bruce' Lee 29 Nov: Yesterday he played support act to Mighty Max, this morning he came out with his own agenda. Richard Lee (Spa) started the day's medal surge in the 100m Breaststroke, and a swift 1:09.32 later (a 2sec PB) he climbed out of the pool to claim his first Gold medal of the weekend. He returns home this evening with medals of every colour.

A few minutes prior to Richard's swim Molly Grayson (Arm) and Rachael Grainger (Spa) provided the entertainment through an 800m Freestyle. They were outside the medals in 5th and 7th but Molly's time of 9:29.42 shattered the previous Dartes club record of 9:34 set by Alison Pennell (SAS) in 2006.

Perhaps more importantly, for Rachael at least, her 9:37 compares rather favourably with her NQT. A repeat of that time Long Course will book her a swim at Ponds Forge in July. Looks like Nik won't be the only Grainger with a fancy National Squad shirt! Long Course form permitting of course (you can't qualify for 800/1500 via short course events).

Of all the swimming events, the one that stands out above all others for most coaches is the 400m IM. It's our sport's equivalent to the decathlon. You need 4 great strokes and greater fitness levels than, well, similes escape me for the moment. Let's just say that a certain Michael Phelps begged Coach Bowman to let him drop the 400m IM after Beijing - enough said?

And that's exactly why every aspiring young swimmer should have a crack at it! We watched Molly come 4th in the girls event yesterday, this morning Joe Litchfield (Spa) went one place better to earn Bronze in the boys. A few minutes later the other one did his party piece to obliterate the field and win by nearly 30 seconds! Max Litchfield (Spa) got within a half second of the Dartes record set by Dave Holmes (Arm) at the National Masters Championships last month. A slightly concerned Dave later joked: Caitlin and Heidi Running in Sardinia

Can't have some young whipper snapper going after old guys records!!
Don't parents teach respect for elders now a days?!?!

That'll teach him to run off and race 25s!

The morning session was rounded off with the 100m and 200m Freestyle. Chloe Hardy (Adw) started the girls off and was barely out of the pool before Shannon Dodson (Spa) scorched her way to a Silver medal. Team mates Caitlin Dixon (Arm) and Heidi Smith (Ros) also squeezed into the top 15 before the big girls dived in.

We may be having a fabulous weekend in Sunderland, but so too are Kingston upon Hull. They took the Gold in the 13 years (and 4th) leaving Molly with the Silver. Behind her Holly Lewis (SAS) in 10th and Rachael 16th.

Max and Richard closed out the Morning with Gold and 4th in the boys 200m.

Yesterday the Backstroke boys demonstrated what happens when neither your Head Coach nor your Assistant Coach can swim the stroke for toffee. They over compensated and won two Golds and two Bronze. In this afternoon's 200m they were out to prove the point again: 2 Golds and a Bronze! This time it was Joe and Max with the Golds, leaving Mark Beech (Spa) with the Bronze. Elliot Trofimowicz (Spa) again sneaked into the top 8.

In the girls' 100m, Shannon got in on the medal action too with a Bronze in the 12 years. Which just goes to show that having coaches who can swim Backstroke is vastly over rated.

To quickly mop up the rest of the weekend's medals, Richard won another Gold in the 100m Butterfly. Max had another predictable Gold in the 400m Freestyle with Richard taking Bronze and that man Elliot in 5th. Also competing over the weekend were Jarvis Parkinson (Tho) with a whole heap of top 10 finishes, and Luke Shpylka (SAS) 12th in the 100m Freestyle and edging ever closer to that magical minute mark with a 1:01.15.

The Masters Bug Bites

The Dave Holmes Roadshow 28 Nov: While the young guys travelled up to the lovely new Sunderland Aquatic Centre to compete at proper distances like 200s, 400s and 800s, Mr Holmes decided a few 25m sprints were the order of the day at a Masters meet in Derby.

The Etwall Eagles Masters meet was the setting for today's Dave Holmes (Arm) roadshow and they must have wondered what hit them.

He swam 13 events and won 11 of them (there were 50m and 100m events too). Not only winning 11, but pretty comprehensively rewriting the meet's record book in the process. The ones he missed out on: 50m Breaststroke and, errm, the 25m Breaststroke (you can tell that was difficult to type can't you). Despite only picking up the Silver medal for those, he did dip under the previous MBT in both so had it not been for Long Eaton's David Sankey, he would have claimed all 13 records today.

Medals, Medals, and More Medals

Richard, Nik, Elliot, and Max after qualifying for Nationals 28 Nov: It's day 1 of NER Short Course and we're coming home with a skip full of medals to go with the 1500m Freestyle Gold won by Nik Grainger (Spa) at Senior/Juniors earlier this month.

Stars of the show were the dominant Max Litchfield (Spa) and Richard Lee (Spa). Taking the 14 years age group by storm, they elected to skip the 1500m Freestyle, but made up for it in the 200m Breaststroke winning Gold (Max) and Silver (Richard). If the results sheet is correct, a winning time of 2:25.28 is an 8 second PB for Max, and smashes the Club Record of Sam Seddon (Adw) from 1996.

They were up again in the next event to take another Gold and Silver in the 100m Freestyle. Elliot Trofimowicz (Spa) played his part in the team performance finishing 8th. The 200m IM came round and once again the Dartes boys showed their class: another Gold and Silver.

Mark with his Yorkshire Trophy from February By the time the 100m Backstroke arrived it must have seemed like a foregone conclusion. In the 10 years Mark Beech (Spa) played warm up to the main attraction and did his job admirably bringing home Gold. Thus continues the Dartes tradition in Backstroke. One age group up and Joe Litchfield (Spa) claimed the Silver. Then the 14 years arrived and as expected Max stole Gold. Sneaking between Max and Richard however, stealing our thunder, was City of Newcastle's Oliver Bratley. Well done to him, and just a Bronze for Brucey on this occasion. Once more, Elliot earned another top 10 place in 8th.

For the 14 year boys, that'll do for one day. A well earned rest is their's to enjoy before the fun begins again tomorrow. Joe rounds off the boys' medals with another Silver, this time for the monster event that is the 200m Butterfly.

On the girls side, today enjoyed the first reappearance in a Dartes cap of Molly Grayson (Arm). Wasting no time to make her mark and let everyone know she's returned home, she first stepped up for the 400m IM, finishing 4th.

Next came the 200m Freestyle with team mate Rachael Grainger (Spa) for company. In the 12 years Shannon Dodson (Spa) missed the medals by a smidgen in 4th. Then in a tightly fought 13 years age group, Molly missed Gold by an even smaller smidgen, just 0.10sec. Sandwiched by the Kingston upon Hull girls Molly snatched the Silver. Rachael was only 1sec behind in 5th, with Holly Lewis (SAS) in 14th.

Rachael, Holly, and Molly enjoying the Sardinian Sun And that's the end of the minor medals. As if in response to the boys performances Molly came out fighting for the 200m Backstroke. In the 12 years, Shannon and Heidi Smith (Ros) warmed up the supporters' voices finishing 4th and 6th. Then the 13 year olds took over. A Gold by over 2 seconds for Molly, with Rachael and Holly squeezing into the top 10 too (8th and 9th).

If you pump up the distance, Molly just gets better. The 400m Freestyle saw her leave the two City of Leeds girls 4 seconds adrift to take her 2nd Gold medal of the day. Again, her team mates Rachael and Holly were there to keep her company (and no doubt singing and dancing) in the ready room. They came home 7th and 13th.

In addition to being a fine Freestyler though, Holly is now Dartes' top performing Breaststroker. With the likes of Heidi and Jess Gillatt (Ros) a year behind and following in her footsteps (8th and 10th in the 100m today), can Holly show them the way to the medals. Today's 4th placed finish suggests she can. Here's hoping.

Another Club Record Tumbles

28 Nov: As Club Records go, this one is a little self-indulgent. But as it's each and every visitor to this website who is responsible for breaking it, and all of our swimmers who are providing the inspiration behind it, you can all glow with pride too.

Thanks to our dedicated athletes this website has flourished all year keeping you informed of their achievements. Back in the early days of the website (around the turn of the century) I seem to recall the site getting around 100 visits each week. At the time, that seemed like a lot. Yesterday alone we had 160, and as of midnight this morning, we'd had 5,045 individual visits in November!

These stats are never entirely accurate, but for a guide 1 visit may consist of numerous page hits (of which we get around 20,000 each month) from the same computer with less than 1 hour separating each hit.

Record Number 1

So that's the record we broke last night with a monthly total so far of 5,045. The previous record was set following our glorious result at Yorkshires back in March. 5,023 was the total then, helped no end by our brand new banner and choir of cheerleaders.

We were looking strong for an average daily visit count of around 130 in March; visitors had been growing steadily for the previous few months. But then the last weekend of Yorkshires happened!
The big banner was unveiled.
The air horns made their first appearance.
We celebrated winning the Most Improved Club award.
And with all of that, and the publicity it earned the club, the following Monday saw 350 visits in a single day! We'd never even had more than 200 previously, and suddenly we had 3 consecutive monster days (350, 248, and 225).

Record Number 2

That figure has stood as the record daily visit count ever since. The daily averages have been climbing since then, we regularly get over 200 on Mondays, but as a peak 350 has stood as the record since March.

Then completely out of the blue, on Tue 17th November we received 396 visits! Over 1,200 pages were viewed that day to set Record Number 2 for November. It's turning into quite a month for the website.

It's not really an awful lot compared to other websites out there. But when you consider the size of our club membership you suddenly start wondering who all these visitors are. Clearly there are lots from Doncaster's clubs, and we're delighted you're taking such a keen interest (if that's you, thanks for your support). Of course there are also a few people who will be responsible for multiple visits each day, but that brings us to ...

Record Number 3

Record Number 3 is our Unique Visitor count. This should tell us how many unique visitors we had over the month. If you've visited the site every day (it's the 28th, so that'll be 28 visits so far) you would only count once in the unique count for the month.

If this is accurate (and it is tricky to identify unique visitors), it's mind boggling!

The best before November wasn't the record month of March (that came in at a paltry 1,884) it was the following month of April with 2,032 unique visitors! Just try to add up how many training members you think we have at Dartes, then compare that figure with 2,032.

There are a lot of people checking out this site who have no direct connection with the club. You guys are bordering on becoming celebrities!

So that's a bit of background into the site's unique visitors. How many of you do you think there were (or will be) at the end of November? Well the heading above is a bit of a spoiler, on Thursday night we broke April's record. As of midnight this morning we've had 2,139 unique visitors so far this month, we're still counting!

Putting it a different way, Ponds Forge can seat 2,600 spectators. We're not far off being able to fill it with visitors to this website.

So next time you're training just think about this: all those hours you spend perfecting technique, getting fitter and stonger, improving your speed, they all count towards making headlines for over 2,000 people to read about. You really are the centre of attention, lots of people are watching you



Final figures for the end of the month read as follows:
Unique Visitors: 2321 (almost 300 higher than ever before)
Monthly Visits: 5592 (over 500 more than every before)
Daily Average: 186 visits (over 700 pages viewed daily)

Coach Wallace on England Talent Camp

23 Nov: Over the weekend Head Coach Andy Wallace took part in one of the England Talent Camps taking place throughout the country. You'll remember him being accepted on to the Advanced Coaching Offer back in September. As part of that programme Saturday saw him working with the Level 2 swimmers on the camp under the direction of Borough of Stockton Head Coach James Stannard.

Head Coach Andy Wallace The Saturday session included an education element to work on race planning and setting target race splits. Also involved in the Level 2 programme was Max Litchfield (Spa). On the Sunday Andy worked under Steve Cox (Head Coach of Middlesborough) with the Level 1 athletes.

During the weekend the swimmers were put through flexibility and core strength screening with Penny Macutkiewicz as well as a variety of land training exercises which will no doubt be added to the repertoire already used here at Dartes. Penny has worked in elite sport since 2002 (including UK Athletics and British Rowing in addition to British Swimming). She's travelled the world supporting Team GB at the World and European Swimming Championships and also the World Superbikes Grand Prix circuit!

One of the big advantages to Doncaster Swimming in having Coach Wallace involved in these camps, is the experience he will bring back home. The extra knowledge gleaned from the ACO opportunities will be passed on to our Assistant Coaches here at Dartes. Then, at the next DMASA Head Coaches meeting Andy will pass relevant details down to our feeder clubs too.

Disability Nationals for [Name Removed]

22 Nov: For [Name Removed] (Drn) 2009 is turning into a very special year. It's DSE National Short Course Championships this weekend and she already has a hat full of medals and massive PBs from yesterday.

Massive PBs and Golds Saturday's haul of 2 Gold medals came in the 100m Backstroke and 200m IM. For the Backstroke she earned herself a 5sec improvement from October, swimming 11secs faster than her best in May! Her time 1:15.82. In Freestyle a Silver medal for the 400m (nearly 20sec improvement since August) in 5:24.53, and a Bronze medal in the 100m having knocked off 4 seconds in the past month and another 10sec drop since May!

Phenomenal improvements for a girl with an eye on the 2012 Paralympics. But there has been one massive barrier standing in the way of those dreams. Since Sydney 2000, Intellectual Disabilities have been banned from the Paralympics due to a not to honest Spanish Basketball team. Yesterday, after an 8 year campaign, that ban was over turned by the IPC. The BBC has an in depth report on how the Intellectual Disability ban was lifted.

Additional motivation then, as if that were needed in a year that's seen her smash two European Records, for [Name Removed]'s run of improvements to gather yet more pace.

November's Test Set

21 Nov: The times keep on falling. It's starting to get interesting now, you know you can do two 800m Freestyle back to back and work hard for both. So let's up the ante. Take a look at your 400m/800m Qualifying Times for 2010. If you haven't hit your Yorkshire QT today (and at least 1 of you did) what do you need to do to achieve that next time?

Name 400m 800m 400m 800m
Kim 5:32 11:14 5:43 11:23
Jess 5:32 11:14 5:43 11:27
Alex C 5:32 11:14 5:43 11:45
Oliver 5:52 11:14 5:43 11:45
Chloe H 6:15 12:00 5:46 11:45
Beth 5:46 11:47 6:20 12:28
Katriona 6:15 12:15 5:55 12:03
Eleanor 6:15 12:37 6:01 12:17
Aarron 6:20 13:31 6:31 13:05
Kelly 6:15 13:01 6:22 13:06
Leah 6:21 13:34 6:34 13:08
Alex B 6:18 13:37 6:38 13:10
Jarvis 6:42 14:01 6:54 13:13
Natasha 6:45 13:58 6:50 13:22
Mark 6:53 14:07 7:08 13:53

We ask you to set goals for yourselves in your logbooks. When you come to a set like this, you need to know exactly what you're aiming for. Use December's test set as one of your short term goals. What time do you want to hit? An 800m Yorkshire Qualifying time is a good place to start! If you already have that make sure you enter it, then start thinking about NERs.

Age 400m YSA QT 800m YSA QT
12 Boys 5:31.4 11:49.9
13 Boys 5:11.9 11:04.8
10 Girls 6:28.9  
11 Girls 5:52.3 12:10.6
12 Girls 5:32.0 11:24.3
13 Girls 5:18.1 10:53.6

If today was your first attempt take confidence in knowing that you've just completed two tough swims back to back. Next time be brave enough to go out faster, don't hold back on the first one to save something for the second. Give it your all on the first attempt.

Almost exactly 1 year ago, one of our former National 800m swimmers wrote an article for the website. For those of you who enjoy this monthly challenge you might like to read what Rebecca Milnes had to say and discover what she's up to today.

English Talent Development Visit

Carl 19 Nov: Back in March we announced that [Name Removed] (Drn) had been included in the ASA North East Regional Talent Programme for Disability Swimming. It's a prestigious programme and we're very proud of her for being involved. It does mean she gets special attention at disability meets as well as regular visits by members of the England Talent Development team.

Tonight was the 2nd of 3 annual visits by Playground to Podium Officer Carl Cooper. You may remember Carl's first visit in July. He was joined tonight by Yorkshire's Regional Development Coach Chris Armstrong.

Latest from SY Sports Awards

Chris and Andy presented with Doncaster's Top Amateur Sports Club 18 Nov: Well we were nominated for South Yorkshire Club of the Year at the sports awards, but we were up against tough competition.

We didn't win our category, but City of Sheffield's Russ Barber was runner up in the Coach of the Year award! Well done Russ.

Fins or Flippers?

17 Nov: With Christmas just around the corner and shopping lists being written, we thought it prudent to highlight a flipping important distinction between training fins and flippers!

Fins not Flippers It has been noticed that many JDS swimmers are equiped with the long blade, traditional style flipper. Clearly they're a lot of fun; one small kick means a lot of distance is travelled down the pool. Young swimmers can fly through kick sets at high speed using long blade flippers which always brings a smile to their faces.

Unfortunately, those long blades change the kicking action to such an extent that they can be detrimental to the development of a strong, 6 beat, swimming leg kick. It is the opinion of our lead coaches that long blade flippers encourage a slower kick action that becomes ineffective once flippers are removed.

Or, to put it bluntly:
"They encourage a lazy kick action"!

For this reason we encourage parents that as your little superstars grow out of their current flippers you replace them with the short blade, zoomer style fins. With these it is much easier to maintain the desired high foot speed and they also help to provide a much more realistic movement when performing the kicking action.

Dave Holmes at Intercounty Masters

Record Breaking DH 15 Nov: We've had strong representation on the Yorkshire Masters squad competing at the annual National Inter County Competition previously. In 2004, both of our current Assistant Coaches were part of the Yorkshire team to finish 2nd behind Warwickshire overall. They helped Yorkshire to a fine win in the regional round, pushing rivals Lancashire into 2nd place.

This year Dartes sensation Dave Holmes (Arm) was selected for the team travelling to Palatine Leisure Centre in Blackpool (those masters swimmers get all the glamorous locations). The Northern contest was won by defending champions Cheshire, winning the Willmott Dixon Trophy by over 50 points (281.5) from the Yorkshire team (229). The red rose of Lancashire finished 3rd with 176.5 points.

Dave's 50m Butterfly swim earned him another Dartes record (25.91) and first place. His 50m Breaststroke was only good enough for 5th place though (31.69), such is the quality in British Masters swimming these days.

Well done Dave, and to the rest of his Yorkshire team mates.

Training Camp Candidate #1

15 Nov: While we were following British Swimming's lead by heading off to Sardinia for our winter training camp, our friends from Harrogate and District headed off to neighbouring island Mallorca and the Bluewater Elite Swim Training centre (or BEST as it's known).

Founded by former City of Leeds Breaststroke sensation, the 100m Commonwealth Champion James Parrack, the BEST Swim Centre was considered for our training camp this year and is likely to be on the short list again for 2010. If it's not the chosen destination for next year (there is at least one other very exciting candidate) then it's sure to be chosen at some point in the future.

For that reason we thought you'd like the following interview with James describing what's on offer at the Blue Water centre.

Many thanks to Swimming World TV for this interview. They publish interviews with the top names from World Swimming almost daily, so be sure to check their site regularly.

We may show you a glimpse of the other candidate training camp destinations over the next month or two. Book your place on future camps by hitting your target weekly volumes now!

CPD Spectacular

15 Nov: We all know volunteers are an essential part of a smoothly running club, and here's an opportunity for you to play your part. The ASA regularly run Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses designed to provide clubs with the skills and expertise required to make successful and flourishing clubs.

Volunteers are essential for a smooth running club These usually come in the form of short seminars of a few hours focussing on such things as Child Protection, Competitive Turns, etc. But there are more involved full day seminars on Land Training or the Fundamentals of the National Plan for Teaching Swimming, and other more intense subjects.

In January the NER is offering its first Yorkshire and Humber CPD spectacular. A full day of CPD courses for Level 1 and 2 Teachers/Coaches. It's important we take advantage of this opportunity in Doncaster so any appropriately qualified coaches at Dartes please speak to Peter Litchfield about registering.

Full details can be found on this IoS CPD Spectacular Flyer.

For any non-coaches who also want to train in areas such as team management, or any budding meet officials, there are always courses running to give you the confidence and skills required in those areas too. Volunteer training is an essential part of the day to day running of any sports club, so don't be shy! If you fancy getting involved in some capacity, come and have a chat.

Please note that this event was recently advertised in the Swimming Times as being held at the Dome. That is not the case, as stated on this flyer the location is Wetherby!

Dartes in Record Breaking Mood

1500m Club Record Smashed! 8 Nov: The fastest 1500m Freestyle swum by a Dartes athlete was set in 1996 by Alan Edmondson. His Short Course standard of 16:45.81 has stood the test of time for over 13 years (it would have been 13 years and 8 months tomorrow).

Yesterday Nik Grainger (Spa) swam to a new club record in the 800m Freestyle (8:44.40) and split PBs at both the 200m and 400m along the way. Today his 1500m effort was even faster.

Yesterday's 800m time was smashed with an 8:41 split and he carried that momentum all the way through to the end. He touched in 16:20.95. A new club record by around 25 seconds and an absolutely massive PB to earn Gold in the Junior Age-Group!

Distance Freestyle (800m/1500m) National Qualifying Times for 2010 can only be achieved Long Course so this weekend's NER Short Course Championships can't be taken into account. However, let's put Nik's performances this weekend in to perspective:

Distance Nik's Time (SC) Record (SC) NQT (LC) Brit Champs (LC)
800m 8:41.07 (split) Vacant 9:01.64 8:40.36
1500m 16:20.95 16:45.81 17:06.65 16:42.65

Record Breaking On Saturday we were expecting [Name Removed] (Drn) to have a solid crack at the S14 disability category British Record for 200m Backstroke. What we didn't expect was for her to also snatch the European Record which stood at 2:51.86.

[Name Removed] touched in a time of 2:46.11, comfortably inside the previous European record held by Marlou van der Kulk of the Netherlands. Once ratified it will be her second S14 European Record for 2009 having also claimed the 200m Butterfly back in July.

Interestingly, Kulk's European Long Course record is 2:46.26 set earlier this year, so [Name Removed] could well be shooting for that one too soon. The S14 World Record (short course) is a further 12 seconds away in 2:34.65 held by Australia's Siobhan Paton. Plenty of targets left for [Name Removed] to aim for still then.

Congratulations to both Nik and [Name Removed] for some solid performances this weekend.

Changes to Phase 5 Timetable

7 Nov: To all parents and swimmesr in Phase 5 (Premier Squad)

We are making changes to your training timetable by removing the Friday night session 5:45-7:15pm. This still leaves you with 9 sessions to choose from so it is advised that if you regularly attend this session you look to an alternative session.

These changes are being imposed to provide more space for the expansion of the Junior Development Squad. Through creating more lane space to allow progression of swimmers from JDS Phase 1 to Phase 2 we are currently having to hold swimmers back due to the lack of space and the cramped training conditions experienced are affecting the quality of training for all swimmers attending this session.

Due to the current lack of suitable additional water time within Doncaster these changes are the best available solution to the problem and will enable us to move the club forwards and hopefully allow us to provide the younger swimmers in the club with a smoother pathway and progression through the squads. It is hoped this will enable us to continue our recent success and improve our standards further.

The changes will take effect from Monday 9th November 2009.

Sorry for any inconvience caused, and thank you for your support.

Andy (Head Coach)

Free Press for Rusty Dave Holmes

5 Nov: Thanks to his British record breaking swims at National Masters Dave Holmes (Arm) finds himself in this week's Free Press.

Towards the end he talks about a few more goals he still wants to achieve. Whatever they are, we're looking forward to finding out.

You can read the article online at the Doncaster Free Press website. Thanks as always to Paul Goodwin.
- The article online