News July 2010
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
British Gas ASA National BAGCAT Championships
28 Jul - 1 Aug: You never quite know how swimmers will react in their first appearance at Nationals. It's an event for which entry times are chased all season - many seasons for most - and the emotion of actually gaining access to this elite setting can often take over on the day. If you eventually make this grade, you're entering the start of Serious Swimming. Yorkshires and North Easterns are both reasonably accessible. Nationals on the other hand, well that takes commitment and dedication by even the most talented.
How many make it?
A quick look down the results from the girls 200m Backstroke suggests that out of the entire country, only 2 or 3 heats per age group! That's the norm. It also means that anyone qualifying has a shot at making the final. Maybe not a shot at the medals, but top 10 is probably achievable for most of the 30 or so swimmers competing.
To put that in to context for all of you taking part at Yorkshires, in the event just mentioned, Heidi Smith (Spa) was one of only two swimmers representing Yorkshire (there was just one more from the whole of the North East). The lesson to take on board: to qualify for Nationals you really need to be winning medals at North Easterns (Heidi took Bronze to qualify), and most likely you need to be winning Yorkshire Gold! Set your goals for the season accordingly.
So for Heidi, the big deal for 2010 was simply qualifying.
Then on the day the emotions got the better of her.
It happens a lot. The sponsorship boards down the pool edge, the huge British Gas banner hiding the diving pit (and all but the tallest platform), the team banners up on the balcony, big teams you've never heard of, and of course the video screen hovering above the pool. They all play their part in the culture shock.
The result was 2:35.48, 6sec slower than her Club Record and Bronze medal performance from NERs. But that's not important, she'd experienced what it's all about and would return later in the week (and hopefully next year too) to make amends.
Lesson learned, we made sure the other girls in Saturday's 4x200m Freestyle Team popped down during the week to soak up the atmosphere. Good to see a few of our younger swimmers on the balcony during the week too, checking out the event and making goals for next season.
A couple of events before Heidi, Joe Litchfield (Spa) had been the only swimmer from the North East to contest the 12 years 100m Backstroke. An unfortunate birthday a few weeks beforehand pushed him up an age-group and left him 17th out of 18. Again, notice how many qualifiers: just 2 heats. You really do need to train like you're the best in Yorkshire to make the grade. Joe's reward: chipping half a second off his brother's 12 years Club Record.
On to day two, and another first timer made the long walk to our little refuge behind the diving pit. We didn't really expect Jarvis Parkinson (Tho) to suffer from nerves, and so it proved. The only butterflies he experienced were the 200 or so of his first event.
He left us with a nail biting few mintues on Thursday morning. Qualifying for 200m Butterfly seeded 21st (3 heats and 28 qualifiers) didn't really look like a final was on the cards.
Fate however, had other plans.
The first heat at Nationals is reserved for those second class citizens who qualified via converted Short Course times. To highlight the precedence of Long Course over Short Course the two are not mingled together at this level; fast 14 year olds could end up swimming alongside slow 11 year olds. You're free to enter with a Short Course time, but you won't be in the fast heats no matter what that time might be. So no one really knows what to expect from heat 1. But one of those early 11 year olds smashed Jarvis' PB by over 2secs. We were a little concerned.
When his heat came around though we were treated to a brilliant 7sec PB that saw him challenging the leaders in the centre of the pool. Suddenly he had a chance at the final.
The last heat of 11 year olds came around and he was still in with a shot - a slim shot.
They touched, our calculations had him as first reserve.
The scoreboard took an age to up date.
We sensed a DQ.
Would it be one of the 11 years or a 12?
The screen refreshed, he was in - just!
That evening he would also finish 10th. From 21st to 10th in his first event. He was also the top performing boy from the North East (this time there were 4).
Up an age and Joe was back in action. This time, Yorkshire's 3rd best performer (out of 6) was a little off his best, but still delivered a solid swim in 2:35.01 to finish 18th of 30.
Two events later and Jarvis was back in action in his more favoured 100m Freestyle. He had another slim chance at the final in this one. We didn't expect him to go out and win his heat and qualify 2nd fastest though. A good 2sec PB in the heat earned him lane 5 for the final, right next to Barnet Copthall's super speedy Frederick Cornwell.
Repeating that position in the final would see him leapfrog Max on the all time medal table although Southport's Thomas Birtles had other ideas. Neck and neck down the final 25m, Jarvis missed the Silver medal by just 0.14sec but was delighted with Bronze and snatched the Club Record out of the hands of Joe who'd only just set it at NERs.
Later in the week he would also improve his own 200m Freestyle Club Record to reach that final and finish 9th, just ahead of the North East's other representative Sam Budd from City of Sheffield. Another final awaited him for 100m Butterfly, where once again he would be the North East's best placed touching 6th and 0.28 ahead of City of Newcastle's Zak Logue. Joe would also be in record breaking mood in the 200m Backstroke. Once again he was destined to shave half a second from his brother's 12 years Record to finish 12th in 2:29.96.
Which brings us nicely to the third of our first time National Squad members. Caitlin Dixon (Arm) was 1 of 3 girls from the North East to contest the 200m Butterfly and although qualifying 3rd slowest (out of 29), took heart from Jarvis' jump up the rankings to have a crack at doing the same herself. Her PB of 2:32.24 was about to be demolished and with it Emma Humphreys' previous 13 years Club Record. Not only that, but the determination with which Caitlin attacked the first 100m not only smashed her 100m PB by around 2sec, but also ripped apart Emma's 100m Club Record in to the bargain! It won't stand as a Club Record, but 1:09.00 was the half way split.
So she turned at half way 5th fastest. If she could hold it together to the end, a place in the final would be hers. Unfortunately that wasn't to be. She touched in 2:28.93 for 15th overall, just 2sec off final pace.
That wasn't the last we'd see of Caitlin this week though. On Saturday morning her and Heidi were joined by Shannon Dodson (Adw) and Jessica Gillatt (SAS) for the 4x200m Freestyle team. An unfortunate lane assignment in heat 1 left the girls with an awful lot of work to do to reach the final.
Caitlin took the first leg to give us the biggest lead possible. We didn't realise at the time, but she actually touched the pads half a second inside the 200m Freestyle NQT 2:13.02. Shannon was next and stretched the lead out even futher, followed by Heidi who did likewise. On the anchor leg Jess was left to hang on for dear life against the fastest swimmers from the other teams. They slowly chipped away at her advantage, but there was far too much clear water to make much of an impact and Jess touched with her substantial lead still intact. Alas, their 10sec improvement over NERs wasn't enough to finish in the top 10; 13th and 9:11.67 was their best. You can watch the race unfold on Dartes TV.
The final day brought with it our last swim as Jarvis contested the 400m IM. A performance on par with his others this week would have seen him rise up the BAGCATs table and possible leave him inside the top 10. He put in a solid performance, just off his best time to finish 28th. The only event in which he failed to reach the final, and his only swim not to beat his previous best times. All told, a fabulous week's action from Jarvis.
Your Guide to Age Group Nationals
27 Jul: With the British GAS ASA National Age Group Championships starting on Wednesday, here's your guide to when our young stars are in action. You can watch events unfold as they happen via the Live Scoreboard feature on the results website.
|Wed 28th||Joe||100m Backstroke||Heat 6|
|Heidi||200m Backstroke||Heat 6|
|Thu 29th||Jarvis||200m Butterfly||Heat 2|
|Joe||200m Butterfly||Heat 6|
|Jarvis||100m Freestyle||Heat 3|
|Fri 30th||Joe||200m Backstroke||Heat 5|
|Caitlin||200m Butterfly||Heat 5|
|Sat 31st||Jarvis||200m Freestyle||Heat 3|
|Jarvis||100m Butterfly||Heat 3|
|Girls Team||4x200m Freestyle||Heat 1|
|Sun 1st||Jarvis||400m IM||Heat 4|
All these events take place at Ponds Forge, just down the road in Sheffield. Anyone who wants to pop along to lend their support and soak up the big meet atmosphere are more than welcome.
Heats are in the mornings (starting 8.30), finals take place in the afternoons (starting 5pm).
The official results site provides start lists, BAGCAT reports, and the ever popular Live Scoreboard feature. We will of course add as many of our performances as possible to Dartes TV.
Check back next week for details of the Youth Championships.
30 Animals Swim 200m Fly in 2010
26 Jul: We started the Animal Squad with the intention of encouraging more of our youngstars to have a crack at some of the more challenging events. We never quite expected to get so many entering the 200m Butterfly though - arguably the scariest of them all.
Before our End of Season meet came around, we thought 23 would be our grand total for the season. Then much to our surprise, the program for Bradford contained another 7 first timers among our 18 entrants. That takes our season total to a whopping 30! To put that in perspective, we've listed the totals from the previous 10 years below.
Make sure you all repeat the feat next year and add one of the other animal events to your list too. All you young guys coming through JDS, why don't you join in the fun next season; it's the first of the Animal Squad events you can do so give it a crack.
So who are our latest heroes from Bradford?
We have two new boys adding themselves to the list. The oldest seems to be getting himself a mention more and more these days. Who would have thought a few months ago that Aaron Walker (Ros) would attempt a 200m Butterfly? This weekend he did himself proud and earned a B grade Gold medal in to the bargain. Climbing out of the pool afterwards he said: "That wasn't as bad as I thought, I'm going to do more of those". Good job really, last week he twisted Coach Wallace's arm into letting him attend the Friday Flyday morning sessions next season.
The other boy attempting his first 200 Fly was Mark Beech (Spa). Start 'em young is our philosophy. At that age all we really ask of them is to hold the stroke together. Stay long and strong and finish the course. Well Mark did just that, and brought home an A grade Gold medal as a bonus. Alongside him in heat 1 was Ben Long (Arm), nervous beforehand, but strong through the water.
Of the 31 swimmers entered for the boys event, almost a quarter were Dartes. Two more of our regular flyers contested heat 2. Oswald Hood (Adw) won the B grade Gold, while up an age group Paul Hardy (Adw) took the Silver.
Jamie Clarke (Arm) was the class act of the field, still chasing a National Time and kicking out 8m or more underwater on each of the 7 turns (even further off the start). An A grade Gold for him by a considerable margin.
The girls weren't about to let the side down either. 26 entries and 10 from Dartes. The oldest, and another first timer, was Jacqueline Hood (Adw). Walking down the poolside afterwards (staggering might be more accurate), she earned the warm, family support from younger brother Oswald: "Now you feel my PAIN!" he shouted from the balcony. You could almost hear the family pride in his voice. Happily she took the Gold medal in the B grade.
Joining her in the fastest heat were another 2 Dartes girls. We all know Jessica Gillatt (SAS) can sprint Fly, but on Sunday she continued her Butterfly development with her first 200m and Gold in the B grade.
Out on the other side of the pool in lane 1 was veteran 200m Fly swimmer Kelly Smith (Adw). One of many big PBs for her this weekend to earn her a well deserved A grade Gold medal (to go with Silver in the 50m, and 3 B grade Golds too).
But there was more family pride at stake in heat 1. Lauren Walker (Ros) stepped up alongside Kathryn Shepheard (Adw) to make sure older brother Aaron didn't get too big headed. You see a 200m Fly isn't that big a deal if you're brave enough and tough enough to have a crack at it. Another family of Animals and a B grade Silver medal for Lauren.
Emily Cartwright (Adw) and Caragh Chambers-Hey (SAS) were the new girls helping to dominate heat 2. They were joined by Georgia Stephenson (Adw) winning A grade Silver, and Finleigh Dukes (Tho) doing the same an age group below. 4 of the 6 lanes wearing Dartes caps! A delighted Emily also added to the medal tally on her first attempt with the B grade Bronze.
23 Jul: As usual, we will have a training break over August to allow our hard working athletes to let their hair down and stop smelling of chlorine for a little while. Here are the details of that break:
- JDS runs as normal throughout August.
- The last morning session is: Tuesday 3rd August
- The last evening session is: Friday 6th August
- Wednesday 4th August is cancelled
- Thursday 5th will run 7pm - 8.30pm only (phase 4 and phase 5)
- Friday 6th 5.45pm - 7.15pm (phase 4 and phase 5)
During the summer break it is important to keep active. Go running, disappear on long bike rides, or take long walks in the countryside. Anything just to keep yourselves active and moderately fit before returning on Monday 6th September at 5am!
We have a few activities taking place during the break though. To celebrate your return to full training, we're running a trip to Alton Towers (and back again) on Sunday 5th September.
- Sunday 5th September
- 12yrs and over: £28 per person
- 11yrs and under: £26 per person
- Price includes Coach and Park entry
- £10 deposit per person to reserve a seat (non-refundable)
There are lists on noticeboards at all our pools, so get your names on quickly as it will be first come first served. Alternatively, email Peter Litchfield.
More details to come later, but we're also planning a very special sponsored walk in the summer sun. We're hoping to drag along a photographer to snap everyone who takes part for a very special development we have planned for later in the year.
Once we have the details for this event they will be posted on this website, so be sure to check back over August. This is an event you all want to be involved in.
Feedback From Parents Meeting
14 Jul: Firstly, thank you to everyone who attended last night's parent's meeting. One of the main objectives for Phase 3/4 was really to stress how places in Phase 4 are to be managed over the coming season. Obviously, we've now got to the point where competition for places in that squad means that there simply isn't room for everyone who might want a place. Nor can we keep athletes in the squad indefinitely, it is nominally an age-group squad (10-13 girls, 11-14 boys) so places, on the whole, need to reflect that. Although there is a little leeway.
There was a lot of information thrown at you in a short time last night, and judging by the questions asked, some of it will take time to sink in and more question will undoubtedly arise over the next few days and weeks. We are also aware that many of the questions asked (and many more that weren't asked) require and deserve personalised answers that wouldn't have been appropriate in a group setting on the night.
Also please understand that answers given by coaches in such an environment are often far from complete: words can get mungled, etc, and often the meaning of answers can be easily misunderstood and be difficult to clarify with such tight time constraints.
With that in mind, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the appropriate coach if you have any further questions or just to clarify any points. But please consider the following before doing so:
- Both Coach Kevin and Coach Dave have day jobs - so try to avoid phoning
- Email is probably the best route initially, if only to give the coach advanced warning
- Hall Cross sessions for Phase 4 are always a rush to be off the premises
- Weekly contact with coaches while they're looking through log books is a useful opportunity to discuss a child's progress and other issues that might arise over the season
To clarify one or two points straight away. The Phase 4 squad introduction page undoubtedly does a better job of explaining that squad's minimum criteria than I managed last night; I had assumed everyone was already familiar with that. It will also do a better job of explaining the reasons and thinking behind the process. At the bottom of that page is a table describing the required weekly hours across the age range. Phase 4 swimmers will be expected to attend the appropriate sessions when the season begins in September.
Finally, if you have any doubts as to your child's progress within Phase 4, or you are one of those struggling to meet the required hours, please come and have a chat (see the points above). Friday evenings and Saturday mornings will be the best opportunities as we have more time after the session. If the right parent can't attend those two sessions, or if you'd rather book an appointment for a specific day please email or text and we'll arrange something.
Breaking 10:30, The New 800m Test Set Challenge
10 Jul: Something happened to Jarvis Parkinson (Tho) during the Yorkshire Championships back in the Spring. All of a sudden he got the bit between his teeth and went in search of National Times. That extra edge to his training was demonstrated today when, as predicted last time, he joined that small group of Phase 4 swimmers to break the 11min mark on the 800m Freestyle test set. No small feat at 11!
But that wasn't the most notable swim of the day. That honour goes to someone who probably hasn't been mentioned in these pages before. We occasionally accept older swimmers on to the Dartes programme (space permitting) if the coaching team feels there's a chance of them progressing adequately. Very rarely does that amount to much more than reaching regional level; those early years normally devoted to building a strong training base having been lost, it's immensely difficult to catch up.
Aaron Walker (Ros) has been a prime example of how difficult starting late can be. Struggling through most of his first season, he almost lost his spot 2 or 3 times but knuckled down and got focused on his training. Today that hard work payed off with his first swim under 11mins (10:47 is 1min faster than all but one of his previous attempts). He then pushed off for number 2 and smashed his new best time to dip under 10:30 for the fastest ever Phase 4 swim on this set!
Afterwards he asked: "Does that qualify me for Yorkshires?"
Well let's have a look.
14yrs Long Course (from Spring 2010): 10:34.80
Aaron's time converted to LC: 10:42.xx
So not quite, but factoring in the lack of a dive start and crowded lanes and he should easily make it come the January deadline.
|[Name Removed]||10 Jul||5:31||11:20|
There were a few more creeping ever closer to the 11min mark that Kim Smith (Adw) had first breached back in December. Oliver Richardson (Edl) and Beth Reddy (Spa) fell just 4sec short, with Jack Green (Tho) a similarly close 6sec outside.
The first attempt at this set next season looks set for something special, as holidays prevented a few more from having a final crack. We await September with anticipation.
Top Club at Jorvik Viking Sprints
3 Jul: Last year we came to Jorvik and unexpectedly found ourselves challenging for Top Club at the lunch break. This year there was no such suprise. We'd left subtlety at home and entered a whopping 88 swimmers for the day's sprints as a combined Doncaster force with pooled coaching and team management - it worked well.
Coach Neil and Team Manager Louise had mobilised the troops at Adwick and added a few of their older swimmers to the fray; joining the hordes of Adwick kids already in the Dartes Junior Development Squads competing alongside their training partners from Doncaster's other clubs. Coach Clive and Team Manager Sandra did much the same at Rossington with a few old Dartes faces returning to join the young RASCALS who train in JDS and Phase 4.
Even so, we hadn't expected to be quite so dominant. Not until a week or so ago when we realised our 88 swimmers outnumbered the next two biggest clubs combined! It could have been even better (or worse if you're the opposition). Sitting next to us in their blue and yellow were Armthorpe. They were destined to finish 6th in the Top Club contest with 219.5 points. Another 2 swimmers from Phase 4 were present in Armthorpe's ranks along with a light sprinkling of JDS swimmers and even a member of our National Squad taking the opportunity to swim weaker events.
We'd expected to win Top Club then, anything less would have been a little disappointing. But it wasn't just a numbers game: throw in more swimmers and come out with more points. We came away with a substantial showing in the Top Swimmer awards for each age group too, highlighting the quality.
Tyler Dodson (Adw) and Laura Brookes (Edl) came 1st and 2nd in the 9 years age group, picking up a very nice glass award each. Alana Brewster (Adw) and Ben Carville (Ros) swum away with the 10 year awards. Katy Burton (Arm) came 3rd in the girls (representing her club) and the boys trio of Matthew Drennan (Adw), Oswald Hood (Adw), and Adam Cunliffe (Ros) finished up in a block at 4th, 5th, and 6th.
Up another age-group and two swimmers managing to impress their Phase 4 Coaches were Holly Brookes (Edl) in 3rd overall and George Scatchard (Spa) finishing runner up. Both rose to the 15m challange set for them and looked very strong doing so. For Holly, who a few months ago could barely hold her breath to the flags let alone Butterfly kick 3 times further underwater FAST, a demonstration of what she and any other swimmer can do when focused on achieving something. For George, a reminder to himself that he has the technical skill required to achieve big things as a swimmer - hard work, drive, and the determination to progress through the training lanes are what he needs to find in order to turn potential into reality!
Just like last year, the focal point of this meet for Dartes lay with our younger swimmers (Phase 1 - 3, and a handful from Phase 4). But whereas last year we had very few older swimmers present, this time we were strengthened by a number of Dartes trained athletes from the past, joined by their feeder-club team mates. Although not winning any more Top Swimmer awards, they were still up there challenging. Holly Denton (Adw), and Alex Beech (Spa) were both runner-up in the 14 years with Jacqueline Hood (Adw), repeating that position in the Open age.
The final points score had Doncaster DARTES running away with the silverware for Top Club, 825 points. Host club Team Jorvik had a local battle with York City for 2nd. But despite Head Coach Darren Burchell's valiant efforts to earn the hosts every last point on offer with 10points of his own in the open age group, York City just pipped them in the final few events: 397 vs 353.5.
It was Jorvik's 2nd edition of the Viking Sprints, and they did a fine job of running it too. For our part, we'll have a think about how to defend the shiny Top Club trophy for a third year. You can bet your socks that Dartes' Junior Development Squad will once again be the vanguard of our assault on that contest as its young swimmers hunt for 50m Yorkshire Qualifying Times for the Winter Competition.