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News September 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

Mission(s) Accomplished

20 Sep: We arrived at the Sheffield Teaspoon meet this morning with a number of objectives. We're not shy, we published them on the website beforehand so everyone knew what we were aiming to do. We then left it to you guys to go out and do your very best to achieve them.

Top Visiting Club at Teaspoon To do justice to what was achieved by our swimmers, their support team (parents), and everyone else involved with Dartes this weekend, we really need to go back to the start of the month. The start of the 2009/2010 season.

Two of our lead coaches, Head Coach Andrew Wallace and Assistant Coach Dave Cuthbert, held meetings for the parents of swimmers from Phase 3 to 5. During those meetings we stressed the importance of training through meet weekends; the importance of not missing training to rest for mid-cycle meets even if it means relatively slower times. We also highlighted the importance of using those meets to perfect a variety of skills during the season. Again, without regard for whether short-term meet performances would be adversely affected.

It really is satisfying to see the vast majority (if not all) of our parents and swimmers buying into that philosophy this weekend. We enjoyed pretty much full attendance at training Saturday morning, despite ESSA Championships later in the day and a number of club galas in the evening. We went a step further without telling you too, by giving you a relatively tough morning workout to make the challenge ahead that little bit harder.

You stepped up to that challenge brilliantly!

In fact so far this season you've raised the bar much higher than we ever expected. Last season was fantastic, but over the past few weeks you've stepped up and raised your standard beyond even that. The coaching team is immensely proud of you all for your hard work and enthusiasm (parents and swimmers alike).

So how did we do with those Team Objectives for today?

1. Early morning stretch

We asked you to be on deck at 8am sharp for a team stretch. Max Litchfield (Spa) and Sophie Taylor (Arm) rounded up the troops just after 7:45 and the 10mins stretch started early. Yes, Sophie did pop back to join us for this meet and was our secret weapon in the girls' C team.

2. Fast 10m Underwater Starts

This is one of those skills that takes time to develop so we start as young as possible. Many of you may have been slowed down a little by doing this today but committing yourself to do it in competition means you're more likely to work it in training too. You all did a phenomenal job, now we just need to develop the power and speed to turn it to our advantage rather than just holding level with everyone else. More work in the training pool then.

3. Create a Supportive Atmosphere

Have a read of the following article:
- Show Me The Fun

If you were in Ponds Forge today you could probably tell our parents and our swimmers were having a lot of fun. So much fun in fact that we also picked up the prize for Top Visiting Club in addition to being asked to tone down the cheerleading!

Well done to all.

Culture of Champions

14 Sep: The great Australian Swim Coach, Forbes Carlile is said to have placed a plaque on the wall of the entrance to his team's pool. On that plaque one could read the aim of the Carlile Swimming Club:

"Our aim is not to produce champions,
but to create an environment where champions are inevitable."

Those few words are massively important in what we're trying to achieve here at Dartes and need to be at the forefront of everyone's mind at all times. Everything you do in the pool, during land training, or just hanging out with your swimming friends, helps to contribute to that aim. Help us create the desired environment and encourage those around you to do the same!

Below, courtesy of Swimming World's new TV channel, Coach Dan Flack tells how the Culture of Champions took over in 3 short years at The Baylor School, winners of the Swimming World Magazine Girls National High School Championships in the states.

White Rose Junior Meet

3rd Place at White Rose 12 Sep: Each year the top squads in Yorkshire get together for the White Rose Junior Meet. This development meet for 12 and unders is one of the rare opportunities for Dartes swimmers to compete as a team in a gala format the same as they do for their feeder clubs.

With Yorkshire's powerhouse age-group teams piling on the points, Doncaster Swimming still has a lot of improvements to make with regards developing young talent before we can hope to challenge for the top two places. But it is gratifying to see our young guns beating their equivalents from South Yorkshire rivals City of Sheffield to bring us home in 3rd place.

In a tightly fought meet Sheffield were right on our heels, a smidgen behind in 4th. West Yorkshire's big teams might have taken the top two spots on the day, but South Yorkshire was right behind them in 3rd and 4th. We may be competitors in the race pool, but on a coaching level Sheffield and ourselves are part of the same performance pathway. Such evenly matched competition can only help that relationship grow stronger and help us close the gap on Leeds and Kirklees.

Pos Club Points
1st Borough of Kirklees 404
2nd City of Leeds A 351
3rd Donc Dartes 261
4th City of Sheffield A 248
5th York City Baths Club 222
6th Kingston upon Hull 214
7th Harrogate and District 206
8th City of Leeds B 190
9th City of Sheffield B 110

Junior Development Squad Coach Kevin Nicholas will be delighted with the performance of his young athletes this afternoon. It's a very clear advert for his work with our up and coming stars of the future and the support he's had this year from the Head Coaches of our feeder clubs (in particular Adwick's Neil Stephenson who was on deck coaching with Kevin and Dartes Head Coach Andy Wallace this afternoon).

Despite Kevin's hard work over the past year and the tremendous support Dartes has enjoyed from our clubs, the points table above highlights just how much further we need to go. The whole of Doncaster Swimming now needs to become much more committed and focused on producing very talented young swimmers if we're going to narrow that 90 point gap to City of Leeds and Borough of Kirklees.

We've all come a long way this year though. Left trailing in our wake along with City of Sheffield were many of the big names of Yorkshire Swimming: Kingston upon Hull, Harrogate and District, York City Baths, and the B teams from Leeds and Sheffield. With space for possibly 3 more clubs to take part next year, let's hope a few more take up the challenge; 2 more big squads from South Yorkshire instantly spring to mind.

Watch out Yorkshire ...

Dartes Squad at Yorkshires 12 Sep: Watch out Yorkshire, Dartes are coming -- in force!

We had fun at Yorkshire Champs back in Feb, running away with the Most Improved Club award for the third time in the history of Dartes. Since then we've grown even bigger and achieved many more notable results. But with the start of a new season, it all begins again.

First stop: the Yorkshire SA Winter Short Course Competition.

It might not be the prestigious Yorkshire County Championships, but it is an early season meet to blow the cobwebs away and give all the parents an early opportunity to shout themselves hoarse and deafen the opposition with air horns, trumpets, and cow bells (please make sure you arrive fully equipped). Those winning medals also get to climb up the All-Time Medal Table or get themselves added for the first time.

A quick glance over last year's results suggests we entered less than 30 athletes for this meet in 2008. Competition Secretary, Peter Litchfield, has just sent this year's entries round to our lead coaches and the statistics are quite alarming (for the rest of Yorkshire that is, they're good for us)!

Year Athletes Entries
2008 27 120
2009 69 222

Before anyone points out the obvious, yes this year does include 15 years and over, unlike recent years. However a quick scan over our entries reveals only 4 in that category so that's hardly relevant.

What is interesting though, is that one of those over 15s (quite a bit over as it happens) is David Holmes (Arm). We're all waiting patiently to see what the former NCAA scholarship athlete can pull out of the bag after 3 months of training. No pressure Dave!

Saturday Morning Test Set (Phase 4)

Star of the Show 12 Sep: A new season brings with it a new set of challenges. The first for phase 4 is the 800m Freestyle test set. We touched on it a few times last season, but this will become a monthly occurrence. Two 800m timed swims, back to back.

The objective is to hold the fastest possible pace through the first rep, and then follow it up with a tough 2nd swim a couple of minutes later without losing time.

A half hour of extremely hard work before 7am on a Saturday morning!

The star for this morning was Kim Smith (Arm) managing to go under and slightly over 12 mins back to back. Leading her out on the first rep though was Jessica Gillatt (Ros) who fractionally touched first, only to die a thousand deaths on the followup attempt (good effort on the first).

Name 400m 800m 400m 800m
Kim 6:00 11:56 6:04 12:03
Jess 5:59 11:56 7:02 14:18
Alex C 6:00 12:06
Kelly 6:20 12:56 6:25 12:36
Katriona 6:15 12:39 6:23 12:39
Tonika 6:21 12:40 6:25 12:41
Chloe H 6:20 12:51 6:30 12:45
Farrah 6:15 12:53 6:25 12:50
Jack 6:17 12:51 6:40 13:14
Beth 6:20 13:05 6:56 13:34
Georgia 6:42 13:36 6:49 13:26
Eleanor 7:57 DNF 6:40 13:52
Oliver 6:39 13:45 6:57 14:04
Alex B 6:42 13:48 7:14 14:03
Aaron 7:40 DNF

The times above need to be copied into your log books. Next month when we repeat the set you need to beat those times. You should also use the 400m split time to set your own target training pace for 100m Freestyle.

For Kim, Jess, and Alex for example:

        6:00 / 4 = 1:30 per 100m (4 lengths in Adwick)
        1:30 * 1.20 = 1:48 per 120m (4 lengths in St James)
        1:30 * 0.88 = 1:19 per 88m (4 lengths in Hall Cross)

Next week (week 3 of cycle 1) you'll be getting recording boards. Use your recording board to scribble down times (and stroke counts) in training to keep track of how you're progressing. You should be able to predict your 400m/800m pace by the time we get to next month's repeat. Put a pencil in your kit bag to use with your board on Monday.

Who's That Girl?

Who's That Girl? 10 Sep: Many of you will have noticed a speedy new girl in Phase 5 and will be wondering who she is and where she came from. Molly Grayson (Arm) is actually No.6 on the Dartes all time list thanks to a National Silver medal she won with us in 2007. While at Dartes she was also crowned Champion of the North East 13 times and Yorkshire Champion on 22 occasions.

She then moved to City of Leeds to take advantage of their long course facility where she won yet more medals including Gold in the 4x200 Freestyle team that also included her former Dartes team mate Enya Booth (Spa). Last season Molly moved to City of Sheffield alongside Matthew Johnson to train under one of the region's top age-group coaches, Mark Lapin at Ponds Forge.

Unfortunately, due to her father's recent illness, travelling to Sheffield for long course training is proving impossible so she's returned back home to Dartes to continue her training under the watchful eye of the coach who guided her through those early years of success. Working in close partnership with her coaches at Sheffield, Andy will be taking over the reigns once more in an attempt to keep her swimming on track during what will be a difficult period.

Despite the circumstances we're delighted to have her back training in our lanes, and we're sure you'll all give her the warmest of Dartes welcomes.

Our best wishes go out to Steve and all of the Grayson family.

Advanced Coaching Support for Andy

Head Coach Andy 7 Sep: An ambitious new ASA initiative to provide targeted coaching support to talented young coaches in an attempt to kick-start their careers is being piloted this year.

The programme is intended to provide a structured process of mentoring, support and development through access to the ASA Beacon centres and the ASA Talent Development team. During attendance at talent camps and the regional Beacon programmes Andy will benefit from expert analysis of his coaching skills and one-to-one discussions with the top coaches in the region.

This is a totally personalised support package intended to help Andy develop his coaching skills at an accelerated rate which will be of huge benefit to all the swimmers in Dartes.

The intention is that all of the coaches selected for the programme will then go on and provide similar support to other coaches in their area. Thus improving still further the quality of coaching in Doncaster, from performance all the way down to the grass roots.

Congratulations to Coach Wallace on being selected for its inaugural year.

UK School Games - 1 Gold & 2 Bronze

Gold Medalist 5 Sep: This weekend sees the 2009 UK School Games take place in Swansea.

Our very own [Name Removed] (Drn) is representing England North and yesterday won 2 Bronze medals.

Today she's added to that tally with Gold in the 100 Freestyle.

Task for the Day - LEN Poster Competition

LEN Poster Comp 5 Sep: The official magazine for European Swimming's governing body, LEN Magazine, is holding a 'Photo of the Year' competition and the underwater shot of Richard Lee (Spa) swimming Butterfly is one of the candidate photos.

At the time of writing, it was in 4th place with 8.57% of the total vote. With well over 100 individual people visiting this website everyday, you can help put our photo into an unassailable lead.

Here's how:

Here's the link:
- Voting Page
Don't look at the other photos though in case you find one you prefer (Like the girl who looks to be walking on water). Make sure you vote for Richard's photo before you change your mind as you can only vote once!