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News March 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 Championships Week

31 Mar: It's British Gas Championships week at Ponds Forge in Sheffield and our opening salvo was [Name Removed] (Drn) in the MD 200m Freestyle. Monday morning saw her qualify for the final in 2nd place. 30th for Max at British Champs 2nd place She returned in the evening and successfully defended that position for a shiny Silver medal.

Tickets are still available on the door if anyone wants to attend (£3 for adults and £2.50 for concessions). Why not pop along and watch as the top swimmers in the country earn their spot on the England team for the Commonwealth Games.

Wednesday morning saw Max Litchfield (Spa) contest the 200m Backstroke against the very best in the country (all ages). Our star 15 year old finished 30th in 2:12.77; his fastest time since last year's nationals. For those who find such things interesting, only two other swimmers from NER clubs beat him (1 from Yorkshire).

Back to the Multi-Disability events, and [Name Removed] secured her final berth in the 100m Backstroke finishing 5th in the heats and matching that placing in the final too.

Easter Weekend Cancellations

30 Mar: Easter weekend brings with it the usual cancellations.

Day am pm
Fri 2nd As Normal Cancelled
Sat 3rd As Normal n/a
Sun 4th n/a As Normal*
Mon 5th Cancelled Cancelled

* We've been told that Sunday afternoon's JDS session can run as normal, but we're double checking. Unless this page is changed before Sunday assume the session is running as normal.

Hat Trick of NQT for Brucey

National Squad Again for Brucey 28 Mar: Other than the distance Freestyle on Friday night, we only had Richard Lee (Spa) competing at Sheffield Premier Meet for the remainder of the weekend. But never fear, a single Dartes swimmer can generate plenty of headlines all on his own.

His first event was the 50m Freestyle and he used that to lay out his intentions for the meet. Finishing 14th in the Open Age Group (youngest competitor in the top 14) Richard touched in 25.26 to claim NQT number 1.

Four events later he touched 23rd in the 100m Freestyle. Once again, the youngest competitor in the top 25. His time of 55.79 exactly matching the qualifying standard for his age group and earning him NQT number 2.

By the time Sunday's final session rolled around and Richard strolled out on deck for the 100m Butterfly, we should have known what to expect. First reserve for the final, Richard hit the pads in 1:00.99 for 11th place. You guessed it, youngest competitor in the top 15, and a smidgen less than 1 full second inside NQT.

Three events to swim at the big meet in the summer to match last year. There's still a few months left to add the 100m Breaststroke in there too. He was within 2sec of that this morning.

Nick Finally Does it on the 1500m!

Nick Makes the National Squad for the 2nd year 26 Mar: Friday night at the Sheffield Premier Meet was distance Freestyle night and Nick Grainger (Spa) finally bagged one of those National Qualifying Times he's been close to all season (there are a few).

An 8sec PB takes him 7sec under NQT for the 1500m Freestyle qualifying him for the first time in this gruelling event. 16:59.11 was good enough to claim 5th place in the 15/16 years age group (he's 15) but the NQT is the important bit. Congratulations Nick.

Along the way, he cruised through the 800m qualifying standard too to claim his spot in that event for the second year running. A good night's work and worthy reward for all his hard work.

Also competing friday night were a bunch of our animals in the 800m Freestyle. Joe Litchfield (Spa) swum to a 20sec PB to claim Gold in the 11 years age group with 10:33.50 and a new Club Record.

Jamie Clarke (Arm), Rachael Grainger (Spa), and Elliot Trofimowicz (Spa) also battled through the 800m finishing 4th, 4th, and 5th respectively.

Yorkshire Points Total

4th in the Top Club Competition 25 Mar: Well in the end we weren't as high up the B&I standings as we thought we would be looking at the standings on Saturday (it took a long time to get hold of the full results and they still don't appear to be on the YSA website). Our improvement of only a single point during the sprints reduced our overall percentage gain on last year to 12.50%. But then again, our sprints results last year were pretty phenomenal, so to beat that score at all was impressive.

Considering that last year's improvement was in the region of 166% though, and that our big medal winners from 2009 moved up into Junior competition with fewer opportunities for winning medals due to the condensed programme, 12.5% is a solid performance in 12 months.

Something a little more important than the B&I trophy placing happened anyway. Last year we finished as 5th best club at the entire Championships. This year we've climbed up a place to be the best of the, dare we say it, smaller programmes.

The three big council funded programmes still sit at the top of the table as you'd expect, but we're gaining ground bit by bit. Our Junior/Senior team finished 4th in their championships, and our Age-Groupers did likewise. But with a very impressive looking York City Baths Club sneaking up the table in 6th (88% improved), and a resurgent Rotherham Metro doubling their points from last year there's plenty of hard work to do simply to secure the same position next year.

Pos Club Yorkshire Bank George Lester 2010 2009 B&I
1CoLeeds 121.5217338.5373.5-9.37
2BoKirklees 33.5183216.5173.524.78
3CoSheffield 96.097193.0179.07.82
4Dartes 28.089117.0104.012.50
5Clee&Scun 16.07793.0109.0-14.68
6York City 9.07483.044.088.64
7CoBradford 20.05979.062.526.40
8KuHull 25.04570.072.5-3.45
9Rotherham 16.05066.033.0100.00
10Harrogate 21.03859.043.037.21

Our next task is to start closing the gap on the top 3 even more. With far less pool space available to us (our squads are now essentially operating at full capacity) that means improving the quality throughout our squads. Just as we've done this year, it means turning finalists into medal winners, and qualifiers into finalists!

If you won a medal in one event in 2010, your goal for 2011 is to add more events to that list. If you sneaked into a final this year, next year sneak yourself a medal. Hard work and attention to all the little details in training is what is required from everyone.

Most Improved Club Goes to ...

Most Improved Club in 2009, Could We Repeat? 21 Mar: Heading into the final weekend of Yorkshires we were leading the B&I competition for Most Improved Club - again! You'll remember that we won it last year.

Coming in to this same weekend 12 months ago, we'd made what we thought was a massive improvement of 35% over the previous year. Arriving yesterday morning, we discovered we'd beaten that with a whopping 71% improvement. That's 71% on top of our improvement last year! To win the B&I trophy for two years running would be a truly awesome achievement. A quick glance down the 20 year list of previous winners engraved on it shows only 1 team to have done so before.

Hot on our heels though were our South Yorkshire neighbours Rotherham Metro. They've been looking very strong all season and their 57% improvement at Yorkshires so far highlighted that.

The Loud and Proud turned out in force, ready to cheer the team on in its quest. They looked fantastic waving their banners and just about managed to get the volume spot on for most of the day. By which we mean they were just slightly below deafening until the exciting parts happened.

We left Chairman Chris Hirst to calculate the medals and improvements after Saturday's sprints. 6 Gold, 8 Silver, and 4 Bronze medals. A little down in Gold medals from last year's 8, but overall 38 points compared to 37 points a year ago. A brilliant day's racing.

Sunday saw us beat the Gold medal count in the teams too. Fewer events were available due to the double age groups, but there were some very exciting races for us to show off on Dartes TV later in the week. Stay tuned.

So what happened with the B&I trophy? Well unfortunately Rotherham Metro pipped us at the post. Congratulations to Head Coach Alan Kirton and his team. We haven't seen the overall list (that'll appear on the Yorkshire SA website later), but we can't have been far behind.

On a slightly different note, the beady eyed among you may have spotted the former Dartes swimmer helping to (wo)man the Gerrard Swimwear Store. While Julie took the day off to gossip on the balcony, daughter Hannah was probably trying to earn herself enough brownie points for another modelling shoot.

We hope to have another of our guest contributed meet reports to wrap up this busy weekend later in the week. Keep an eye on Dartes TV too for the highlights.

Edit: It took a few days to get hold of the final scores and by the end of the sprints we'd dropped to 6th in the B&I trophy contest. More importantly though, we had finished as 4th Top Club behind the big programmes of City of Leeds, Borough of Kirklees, and City of Sheffield. One place better than last year, ahead of Cleethorpes and District.

Girl of Bronze, Boys of Gold

Rebecca touched 3rd in all 3 Breaststroke events 20 Mar: She touched 3rd in all 3 Breaststroke events at Yorkshires, but a disqualification in the sprint 50m today denied Rebecca Jarvis (Spa) of hoovering up a clean sweep. Still, she's not complaining, she much prefers her shiny Silver!

Our 10 and 11 boys also came home with a hat full of sprint Gold between them.

Following on from his victory in the 200m Backstroke, Mark Beech (Spa) repeated the win in the sprint 50m. One year up and Joe Litchfield (Spa) did the same in the 11 years. Where this backstroke tradition comes from, no one knows, but long may it continue.

Joe was then joined by Jarvis Parkinson (Tho) for a Gold and Silver double act in Freestyle and Butterfly, and Reece Fielding (Arm) in the 50m Breaststroke who pushed Joe out of the medals to claim the Bronze.

Jarivs: the boy with amazing starts Golden Joe The young girls weren't to be denied either. If memory serves (and it was a long day) Ashleigh Taylor (Adw), Tyler Dodson (Adw), and Phoebe Winter (Adw) all picked up medals of various colours to keep things interesting throughout the finals.

Tomorrow's teams should prove very exciting. A number of them have medal winners throughout the strokes and a few of those who missed out may well have a point to prove with fast splits. After this evening's finals, Head Coach Wallace and Assistant Coach Kevin could be seen frantically pencilling in the last minute tweaks to team orders. A stressful job no one would want to be burdened with.

Lots of medalists are missing from above. Consider it motivation for someone else to write a meet report. Someone called Phil perhaps? He seemed like a happy bunny. In the meantime you'll all have to wait for the results sheets for the full detail. Suffice it to say that last year's medal count of 8 Gold, 5 Silver, and 3 Bronze is definitely under threat. A conservative estimate (again from memory) 6 Gold, 6 Silver, 3 Bronze, but there are some missing from that, probably a few Bronze at least.

Well done to all, and lets see fireworks tomorrow!

For The Armchair Swim Fan

14 Mar: With Yorkshire Team Championships taking place next weekend, we thought it an ideal time to launch a new feature on the website and use last year's Gold medal winning 11 year old girls team to show case it.

Perfect for the Armchair Swim Fan to watch with a Pizza Thanks to a few sleepless nights sat in front of a computer, you can now watch (sort of) your favourite races from your living room, right here on this website. Did you miss Jamie Clarke's (Arm) superb 800m at Yorkshires last month? No problem, you can watch it right here.

Perfect for showing friends and family who so rarely get to watch you compete. Swimmers can also watch their own races as though on TV (albeit a TV with poor picture quality) and analyse their race strategy for next time.

There are other features too. Previous races can be superimposed onto the current race so that PB pace can be shown, or an idealised National Qualifying pace. We can even merge heats together to create completely fictional races between our athletes from different heats (or races). So let's dive in and see what's on offer on Dartes TV this week (don't get too excited) ...

2009 Yorkshire Team Champs: Girls 11yrs 4x50m Freestyle

Watch the actual race unfold in the main pool. Below it we've re-arranged who swam where in the team. On the day, Coach Dave decided to give the other teams a head start before the girls began their 150m charge. It was exciting, but what might have happened with a different order? Now you can see for yourselves.

The actual race was intended to be swum slowest to fastest (4-3-2-1). In the first extra lane we've reversed that order (1-2-3-4) and produced the obvious early lead. In the middle we've used a more conventional (2-4-3-1) approach. The last lane simply has Heidi shuffled to lead-off to give us all 4 girls against each other in a drag race down the first 50m.

2010 Yorkshire Champs: Jamie Clarke 800m Freestyle

It was a brilliant swim by Jamie but so few people were there to witness it. Never fear, now you can.

In the same heat were Luke Shpylka (SAS), Shannon Dodson (Adw), and Heidi Smith (Spa), but we've superimposed our other swimmers from later heats to swim along side them.

To show just how impressive Jamie's swim was, we've also added in his best ever swims in the 200m and 400m Freestyle. Both of which had been set earlier that same weekend.

2010 Yorkshire Champs: Caitlin Dixon 200m Butterfly

The week after Jamie's 800m, Caitlin Dixon (Arm) stepped up and produced a number of excellent swims. Head and shoulders above them was her attempt at the 200m Butterfly.

Again, to illustrate what a huge step forward this swim was for her, we've added her previous PB at this event set 1 month earlier along side her heat performance which earned her one of the centre lanes for the final.

Dartes TV? How Do I Watch It?

Maybe this has been built up too much now. It's still being tested, so if it all falls apart horribly don't panic, just let me know. Nevertheless, some of you will enjoy watching this, for a couple of minutes at least. Here we go ...
Read More ...

800m Morning for Phase 4

Charlie: first time on the 2x800m Freestyle set 13 Mar: George Scatchard (Spa) tried his first Saturday morning last week and was greeted with a nice 1500m. This morning, his fellow JDS graduate Charlie Casson (Adw) arrived for his first Saturday morning and was welcomed with 2x800m Freestyle. Don't worry boys, it doesn't happen every weekend.

More big time drops were recorded by those who get their teeth into the set each month. If nothing else, the fear of swimming big distance freestyle has been lost, and most of you are now happy to blast out a couple of 800s in quick succession. Well done to all.

Name 400m 800m 400m 800m
Jess 5:21 10:46 5:22 10:52
Kim 5:31 11:03 5:31 11:01
Oliver 5:47 11:34 5:53 11:56
Chloe H 5:42 11:35 6:10 12:28
Natasha 5:45 11:36 6:00 11:58
Kelly 5:40 11:41 5:49 11:40
Jack 5:47 11:40 5:51 12:01
Jarvis 5:40 11:40 6:14 12:52
Farrah 5:45 11:41 5:55 11:56
Beth 5:50 12:02
Alex 6:38 12:38 6:53 13:23
Mark 6:39 12:44 6:54 13:30
Arron 6:40 12:47 7:24 14:17
Georgia 6:58 13:14 6:45 13:18
Holly 7:32 14:01 7:14 13:53
George 7:23 13:47 7:16 14:04
Charlie 7:31 13:58 7:23 14:02

A note for next time. Now you're all getting more confident at these swims, we need to make sure the skills remain intact on the way to beating previous times.

Those 3 points need adding in next month!

Training Camps Galore

13 Mar: We've been organising our own winter training camp for the past few months (sometime in October hopefully) but some of our swimmers have already had the opportunity this year. This weekend [Name Removed] (Drn) is away in Manchester for her World Class Development camp, but a couple of weeks ago 3 Dartes swimmers travelled to the Best Centre in Mallorca for a week of hard training in the sun.

Over at the Manchester Aquatics Centre [Name Removed] worked through a 50m sprint set yesterday afternoon. Over the 3 day camp she'll be learning to use her new heart rate monitor for pacing work. Don't worry though, she's not getting away with a lie in on Saturday morning, she was up before 5am today for a quick snack before heading to the pool for more hard training.


Rumour has it that we might be heading towards the Best Centre for our next training camp in October, so having 3 of our athletes invited to join UEA Norwich for a week there in the February sun is good preparation. 3 Dartes Swimmers go to Mallorca Norwich Head Coach and former Dartes Head Coach, Roy Shepherdson, also invited Amanda and Danny Davies to tag along as chaperones for the week. They dutifully spent their time checking out the hotels and local amenities for our camp.

Along with Matthew Davies (Arm) who joined the Norwich Beacon Programme back in August, Roy also invited Max Litchfield (Spa) and Richard Lee (Spa). Can you spot them all in the photo at Stanstead's departure lounge?

We asked Max to tell us about the week:

In February this year Richard and I had the opportunity to go on a swim camp with UEA Norwich Swimming Club and our old Coach Roy Shepherdson. Assistant Coach Alan Bircher (ex open water champion) also came along.

Amanda and Danny Davies were our amazing chaperones and it was fabulous to have them there. We started training on the Monday morning and trained 9-11 and 4-6 every day. During those 11 sessions we covered a total of 70,000m. Last year's Dartes camp in Olbia covered 60,000m but the average age of the Norwich group was significantly older. Richard and I were two of the youngest for once, the eldest was 22!

As if 70km wasn't enough, we had an hour of land training after every night session too. The great part of the week was having the chance to have a lie in for once, well till 7.30am if you can call that a "lie in".

The training was hard and all outdoor in the Best Centre pool. We both found the week challenging but rewarding. The hotel and food were brilliant and definitely needed to refuel after a hard session in the pool.

Great thanks to Roy, Alan, Danny, Amanda, and Jo, firstly for the invitation and opportunity and for a great training week.

Surprise, Surprise. 1500m for Phase 4

Jess performs on the 1500m 6 Mar: We had a busy month in February so Phase 4's 2x800m test set took a small break. Not forgotten though! Last night Coach Dave was asked: "Are we doing the 800s in the morning?" to which the reply was a reassuring "No".

Wrong question though Natasha!

This morning we threw the slightly less regular 1500m test set at them instead. Reward for a strong showing at Yorkshires last month perhaps? An affectionate good bye to the Thorne pool in our last session before returning to Adwick maybe?

Jessica Gillatt (SAS) appeared to see things differently and took it as a parting gift to Caitlin Dixon (Arm) who starts her trial with Phase 5 next week. A special parting gift from Jess too as she handed Cait a sound 25sec beating!

On this form you have to ask why didn't Jess have a crack at the 800m and 1500m at Yorkshires last month? Opportunity missed for another year maybe.

Name 400m 800m 1200m 1500m
Jess 5:29 10:47 16:07 20:15
Caitlin 5:28 10:57 16:28 20:40
Kim 5:36 11:07 16:46 20:56
Beth 5:45 11:45 17:31 21:50
Kelly 5:49 11:45 17:52 22:32
Farrah 5:58 12:02 17:59 22:32
Katriona 6:13 12:30 18:50 23:24
Alex 6:17 12:36 18:58 23:25
Natasha 6:14 12:27 18:52 23:28
Mark 6:04 12:21 18:44 23:32
Aaron 6:31 13:04 19:59 24:19
George 7:03 14:21 21:45 26:41

Newly moved up George Scatchard (Spa) put in a fine first attempt too. We'll look forward to watching that time drop quickly over the coming months as he gains more experience and confidence at the distance.

Long Course Training Opportunity

Long Course Training at Ponds Forge 6 Mar: You'll remember last month's visit by Chairman Chris Hirst and Head Coach Andrew Wallace to Sheffield. One of the things on the agenda was negotiating Long Course training for a small group of potential National Qualifiers.

That opportunity will shortly come about for half of the 13 swimmers who are currently knocking on the door of National Qualifying Times. Hopefully, once the initial 6 swimmers have settled in and we see how the process works, a few more additional spaces will become available.

If you have not been selected this time it is up to you to try and put yourself in a strong position for possible selection in future. If you have been selected we're sure you'll take this exciting opportunity to represent Dartes and Doncaster Swimming in the best way possible.

A big thank you to CoSSS coaches Russ Barber and Mark Lappin for their support.

Coach Wallace has issued an open letter to all club members to explain the situation in more detail.
Read More ...

[Name Removed] on Fast Track

2 Mar: [Name Removed] (Drn) has been selected on the British Swimming S14 Fast Track Programme (level 2) for 2010. This reflects her recent British and European Record breaking performances.

This is a step up from the England Talent programme she was involved with last year and now comes under the auspices of British Swimming. As an extra bonus, [Name Removed] has also been invited on the 3 day World Class Development Camp being held in Manchester later this month.