News November 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
11 Dec: To celebrate our performance at the Arena League on the Sunday, everyone is invited to Frankie and Bennys for a bite to eat on Saturday followed by an evening of Bowling. Yes it's the wrong way round, and no we're not being presumptuous. We just think a little Christmas fun and cheer the night before the big event might get the weekend off to a BANG!
So who's invited?
Everyone: JDS, Phase 4 and Phase 5.
Time and cost to be confirmed, but it's likely to be about 5pm at F&B's down at the Dome with a £5 deposit. Speak to Donna Litchfield or Kate Trofimowicz for more details.
Coaches Workshop #2
28 Nov: After the first DMASA Coaches Workshop the consensus pool side seemed to be that it was a big success. The feedback we received after the event backed that up. But the proof of the pudding was always going to be determined by attendance at the second. We needn't have been concerned. Today's event was supported by most of our local clubs including large contingents from both Adwick and South Axholme. alongside them were familiar faces from Armthorpe, Minsthorpe, and Thorne, and a couple of less familiar faces from DV. Good to see so many of Doncaster's coaches together, listening and participting so avidly.
Once again the workshop was led by City of Sheffield Head Coach Russ Barber. Between him and Coach Wallace, they'd cooked up a menu of Backstroke technique and Injury Prevention for the afternoon, and just like the previous workshop, Russ brought along one of his former swimmers to present the specialist subject.
He describes his presentations as a no-nonsense, Yorkshireman's approach to coaching. It's a format that works well. Light on theory, but big on personal observations of what makes the top swimmers what they are. In short: the stuff you don't get from reading the manual!
Years of experience handed out on a plate and then put in to practice with the Dartes squads in the pool afterwards.
The observant among you will have noticed another theme emerging at these workshops. Both specialist subjects so far have been presented by former athletes from South Yorkshire's top senior squad in Sheffield. In the first, Nutrition advice was provided by Andrew Shepherd, while today's Injury Prevention talk was given by Physio Gemma Roper. A former City of Sheffield athlete, Gemma now works alongside Russ to offer physio support to her former Sheffield team mates, and is also a key part of the Rotherham Metro coaching staff. Few young physios get the opportunity to work with Olympic level athletes, so good to see South Yorkshire's former swimmers getting unique opportunities to help kick start their careers.
Masters Inter County Competition
20 Nov: Leeds played host to the North East and West regional meet of the ASA National Masters and Senior Age Group Inter County Competition. Doncaster has had representation on the Yorkshire team for many years (including both of our Assistant Coaches at Dartes in the past) and 2010 was no different. David Holmes (Arm), Brian Taylor (Adw), and Jackie Buxton (SAS) reprised their usual team berths, but were also joined by Tina Wilson (Arm) and Nicola Hill (SAS) to strengthen the womens team.
Tina managed a creditable 6th place in the 50m Butterfly; remember, this is a National competition with 29 of England's counties desperate to climb the league table putting their best masters swimmers forward.
In the 50m Breaststroke events Jackie finished 7th (45+ years) with Nicola 13th in the 25+ years. Brian performed to his usual high standards to finish 2nd in the 55+ year Mens category. Dave took the competition by storm in the 50m Butterfly for the win, and also managed a 3rd place in the 25+ years Breaststroke.
Top 5 county positions look like this:
Arena League: Everything Still to Fight For
16 Nov: As you all know, the regional final of Arena League 2011 takes place at the John Charles Centre, Leeds on December 12th. There's still everything to race for as explained below.
|1||City of Leeds A||16|
|2||City of Sheffield A||14|
|4||City of Leeds B||10|
|6||City of Sheffield B||5|
|7||Gateshead & Whickham||5|
On 17th April the winners and runner-up will travel to Ponds Forge for the high-octane Cup Final and B Final. This event is one of the highlights of the British Swimming Calendar - it gets extremely noisy and very colourful. Although those two spots are most likely sewn up by our big City A teams, the next 6 teams nationally will also be invited to finals day! Those next 6 will be decided in a virtual final consisting of the top 6 teams from each of the 6 regional leagues.
As Dartes currently sit in 3rd place in the smallest league in the country, we may well find ourselves included in that virtual final for a wild card spot on finals day! So make sure you swim fast and cheer loud in December.
The regional final (as opposed to the Cup Final) features the top 8 teams from the previous 2 rounds (no prizes for working out who they are) spearheaded according to League Points as shown.
|1||Gateshead & Whickham|
|4||City of Leeds A|
|5||City of Sheffield A|
|6||City of Leeds B|
|7||City of Sheffield B|
Top Aussie Coach in Yorkshire
15 Nov: Monday 15th November sees Aussie National Team Coach Rohan Taylor pop over to Leeds to discuss such topics as Talent ID, Performance Development, and of interest to Doncaster Swimming, Club Programmes and Structures to enhance performance. This exercise is part of the British Swimming Coaches Association's education and development programme in the run up to London 2012, and Leeds is one of 4 stops for Rohan on his four day tour. The others being: Birmingham (14th), Edinburgh (16th), and Stirling (17th).
His time at Leeds on Monday evening begins around 4.30pm and lasts until 7.30pm and Doncaster's coaches are invited to attend.
So why should coaches attend this event?
Here's a snippet of Rohan's CV:
- His swimmers include: Sarah Katsoulis and 'Lethal' Leisel Jones
- High Performance Coach at Victoria Institute of Sport since 2000
- Aussie National Team Coach 9 times since 1999 including at Delhi
- Director of Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association since 1997
Anyone interested in furthering their coaching expertise are encouraged to attend.
Update: (just to keep PAW Swimwear happy) Former Dartes Breaststroke sensation Sophie Taylor (Arm), is one of a select group of swimmers invited to take part in the event. Congratulations Sophie.
Close Tussle at Arena League Round 2
13 Nov: Today was always going to be the tough day for us in the Arena League. A clash of dates with Adwick's Club Championships meant a slightly weakened team would represent Doncaster in round 2. Not to worry, a few absences gave other swimmers an appearance and the chance to savour the National Swimming League atmosphere.
As if our weakened state wasn't destined to make the task hard enough, City of Leeds bolstered their B team in a home pool challenge to snatch our 3rd place from last month, and push us down to 4th. They were helped in no small way by the inclusion of England's Commonwealth Games star Anne Bochmann (4th in the 400m Freestyle behind Misses Adlington and Carlin, and a 4 times European Junior Champion).
City of Sheffield too, were fielding what looked like a full complement of their big names. Another European Junior Champion Ellie Faulkner (Bronze medalist at this year's Youth Olympics) strengthened their challenge, alongside National Youth Champion Braxton Timm who will be popping along to Adwick in two weeks time for our second Coaches Workshop.
We added to the mix as best we could. Newly crowned British Junior Record holder Max Litchfield (Spa) set out his stall in an exciting opening 200m IM only to be touched out by a fraction of a second. His new record would have won on the day - there's always next time! 2006 Senior National Bronze medalist Katie Johnson (Spa) returned to increase the average age of our Open Girls team and picked up a few valuable points along the way. Doing a similar job for the boys, National finalist from the 1990s, Dave Holmes (Arm), returned to add flair and speed and a good few years to the average age of the Open mens team. Whenever he returns there's a buzz of excitement (we still remember his assault at 2009 Winter Yorkshires) and always an expectation of something special. His experiences from his swimming scholarship in the USA are well worth reading about.
Despite that, we couldn't quite manage a win this time round. A lot of 2nd and 3rd places, and a typically huge quantity touching 4th, but the big two teams weren't letting anyone else in on the action and very few wins went elsewhere. It makes a huge difference having enough kids of the correct age: instead of pitting 11 year olds up against 13s; and 15 year olds racing men in their early twenties. We had our moments though: Mark Beech (Spa) couldn't quite stay on terms in the 50m Backstroke, touching 2nd; despite encouraging shouts of 'Go Sherly' Dave Holmes (Sherly, Sherlock? Oh we bet he hasn't heard that since he left school) was just an inch or two away from Butterfly glory; the boys followed up with Joseph Gatus (Spa), and Joe Litchfield (Spa) who were equally left runners-up. All of that before announcer for the day, Terry Dennison, could read out the first points check: Dartes sitting pretty in 3rd.
Just like in Round 1, the second half of individuals saw the opposition fight back. First, City of Leeds 'B' over took us. Then, as the final round of team events began, Harrogate and District clawed their way back in to the picture. By the time the experienced head of Katie climbed up on the blocks to lead out the 6x50 Freestyle team, the situation was getting a little hairy.
The girls swam bravely to snatch 4th place away from City of Sheffield 'B'. The boys wrapped things up with a very close 4th place after looking extremely threatening throughout. In the end, a tense final few moments ended with us comfortably 4th!
|1||City of Leeds 'A'||366|
|2||City of Sheffield 'A'||329|
|3||City of Leeds 'B'||252|
|5||Harrogate & District||205|
|6||City of Sheffield 'B'||166|
|7||Gateshead & Wickham||142|
Next month (12 December) will be the regional final at the John Charles Centre in Leeds. We should be back at full strength and we'll need to be. This one's Long Course! We've already had a few parents express an interest to travel over just to support the team. If all our supporters could don a Dartes shirt and sit together in a noisy section of the balcony that would be awesome. Arm yourselves with banger sticks (we should still have plenty) and lets do our magnificent best to create an atmosphere. Another fine job by today's orchestra by the way - thanks for that.
Who ever has the original Dartes banner, please bring it a long to training one night.
13 Nov: We've spent a little time recently working on relay take-overs. There are a number of important points that we've been trying to drum home, and after hunting in the darkest corners of the Internet, we've finally found a video to demonstrate the following points that we've been working on:
- Body position on the blocks
- Swinging the arms to add more forward momentum
- Winding up the start before the inbound swimmer touches
The body position seems to be the most difficult concept to grasp, but would you believe it, Team USA's ladies were doing exactly the same sort of practice prior to Pan-Pacs earlier this year - we must be on to something.
The video starts off with US Olympic team coach Sean Hutchison talking body position. 11 time Olympic medalist, Natalie Coughlin, reprises her role as senior swimmer to help demonstrate the correct position to fellow Olympian Katie Hoff.
That master class is interrupted by US Olympic Team Head Coach Mark Schubert, as he talks to American Record Holder Allison Schmitt about gaining momentum from the arm swing. It's important to spot the inbound swimmer half to a full metre away from the wall and wind up the start confidently.
Make a decision as to when you're going to go, and GO!
Hesitation will waste the effort.
Finally you're treated to a couple of nicely executed take-overs (the 2nd better than the first). Hit the pause button when Katie first starts to wind up her dive on both attempts. Check how far away from the wall the inbound swimmer is. Now play it again, but focus on Katie not the whole picture, and hit pause the moment she moves.
Remember: it takes about 0.5s for the brain to think DIVE before the toes leave the blocks. Fast swimmers will cover something between 0.5m and 1.0m in that same half second period. A perfect take-over will have toes just about leaving the blocks as the fingers push the timing pad.
Here's a few ideas for helping you learn the right body position:
- Practice in front of a mirror
- Get a friend or parent to film you on a phone or camera
But remember: whenever learning new skills, it will feel different and awkward. That feeling doesn't mean it's wrong, you just need to get comfortable with the change. Embrace change, and take every opportunity to dive as an opportunity to improve. Don't be satisfied doing any dive less than perfectly.
Test Set Madness
13 Nov: To compete at the highest level in this sport you must have one thing above all else: a huge work ethic! Our 2x800m Freestyle test set highlights who are the tough swimmers in Phase 4. Quite often a newcomer will start at the bottom (such as Lilly Metcalf (Spa) and the other three joining her at the foot of today's table), and within a year force their way up the chart until they're recording record times. Click on 'Chloe' or 'Natasha' to expand their history and compare the times they were doing when they entered P4 12 months ago with Oswald Hood (Adw), Finleigh Dukes (SAS), and Lilly this morning. Do you young guys fancy beating their epic progress? We'll all enjoy watching.
Some people like to think of 'Talent' as being the most important thing, as though athletes are born with special abilities. But talent is merely a starting point; any one can catch up a talented kid if they work hard enough and many in Phase 5 have done just that! You think Michael Phelps was born a BBC science fiction Hero with an ability to swim at ridiculous speeds?
Those who've watched the World's greatest ever swimmer battle through the work Coach Bob Bowman throws at him daily, state that he pushes his body through a work load that they wouldn't dare inflict on their own athletes. Not just once per week, but day after day after day! His training sets are the stuff of legend.
But if talent isn't that important, why do most top swimmers look insanely talented? Let's face it, if you swim 10+ hours each week and don't look talented after a year or so, you're really not paying attention to what your coaches are asking for, and you're certainly not trying. You can learn to look talented, but you need to work extremely hard if you want anyone to care enough to notice.
So let's take a look at this morning's results.
Who's working hard enough to be noticed: 12 or 13 of you.
Who's not: 2 of you!
Who missed this morning's training but has a ready excuse that will leave you floundering in mediocrity while the other 12 swim straight past you?
|Chloe H||13 Nov||5:15||10:30||5:17||10:37|
Well done to those who pushed themselves to best times this morning.
Why not? For the two who didn't.
Watch your backs! For those regularly missing from this list, the sharks are circling.
Hall Cross School at ESSA Yorkshire Team Championships
12 Nov: Hall Cross School sent its finest swimmers to compete in the English Secondary Schools Swimming Association Relay Championships held at Huddersfield Sports Centre. Teams from all across Yorkshire gathered together for a fun evening of fast swimming.
In the Junior Girls (Y7 - Y9) the team was represented by Cailtin Feirn (Ros), Katie Pendlebury (Ros), and Kathryn Shepheard (Adw). They swam against teams that were mainly composed of older year 9 swimmers despite only being in years 7 and 8 themselves!
In the Medley they finished 5th (2.27.91) out of 14 teams. There was only 0.91sec between our girls and the team finishing 3rd. Next time eh girls? In the Freestyle team: they managed 7th (2.15.26) out of 15 teams.
Former National Squad swimmer Laura Hirst (Edl) made another of her occasional come backs to represent the Intermediate Girls (Y10 - Y11). Her girls team came 4th in both the Medley and Freestyle, narrowly missing out on the Medley medals by 0.57sec! Their times: 2.11.05 (Freestyle); 2.24.61 (medley).
Dartes' sole representative in the Senior Girls (Y12 - Y13) was 2010 National Squad member Emma Humphries (Ros). They finished 5th in the Freestyle (2.14.07) but were unfortunately disqualified in the Medley. The Senior Boys (Y12 - Y13) also picked up a 7th and an 8th placing for Medley and Freestyle.
All of the swimmers swam brilliantly and represented themselves and their school exceptionally well. A special mention must also go to Lauren Walker (Ros) who as a reserve did not get to swim but cheered on her team-mates in every single event. Well done Lauren!
There was also some good natured team rivalry between the Doncaster schools taking part. Who would have thought! When a member of the Junior Girls Squad (who shall remain nameless) was asked if she'd had a good time at the competition, her response was: 'Yes, it was really good and best of all was ... we beat Hill House!'.
We later heard from a member of the Hill House team who would just like it pointing out that Hill House beat Hallcross in the 10/11 years - just to balance the books. For those worrying about the highly competitive nature of school swimming in Doncaster, it should be pointed out that these bitter rivals are most likely club mates, training partners, and rather good friends.
Well done to everyone involved and a big thank you to Carol Shepheard for the review.
British Records Tumble at NER Championships
8 Nov: If you, like us, thought Ponds Forge was the hottest pool in the world, it's time to think again! Spending a week at the Sunderland Aquatics Centre, next door to the Stadium of Light, was enough to suck every drop of moisture out of your body. Not only that, but all the drinking fountains on the pool deck were labelled as: Not Drinking Water! How can you, without tongue firmly in cheek, make Health and Safety announcements throughout the weekend ordering spectators to not stand and watch from the walk way or sit on the stairs, when drinking fountains around the pool deck are serving up 'Not Drinking Water'?
A bizarre situation.
If the heat was the bad news (and it was enough to make the team camera steam up), the action in the pool was every bit as hot. Dartes swimmers were once again in record breaking mood, and this time British Records were the target! On Saturday [Name Removed] (Adw) lowered her own British and European 200m Backstroke mark in the S14 disability category in 2:43.16.
On Sunday Max Litchfield (Spa) repeated his feat from Arena League a few weeks before to dip under the old British Junior Short Course Record for 200m IM. His second and third 2:04 efforts earned him lane 4 for the Senior final (while still a Junior at 15) and earned him the Gold medal by nearly 3sec. Needless to say, that's another event qualified for at Nationals.
He didn't do it the easy way either, another 3 NQTs were among the 4 Gold medals leading him to Top Junior Boy (top ahead of the mighty Matthew Johnson we should add - hardly weak competition). It was a tough weekend with a stack of finals back to back. His consistency in training, and determination, enabled him to progress with PBs in heats and yet swim faster still in finals. Exactly what is required to win medals at this level and above.
Challenging Max for star man status for the second meet in a row was Nik Grainger (Spa). Two years ago Nik qualified for his first ever Nationals at the very last opportunity. Months of hard work later and this weekend he qualified for 3 events right at the start of the season. He opened with a massive PB for 200m Breaststroke (2:23.11) and followed that up in the 100m with a similarly impressive 1:06.78. Both NQT and both qualifying him 5th fastest for the final. Another NQT in 400m IM and a Senior Bronze medal for the 1500m Freestyle wrapped up another fine weekend for Nik.
What do you do when you only have a single weekend, one pool, but two meets to run? Taking a leaf out of Masters Nationals, the NER decided to hold both the BAGCATs and Senior/Junior Championships at the same time in the same pool; albeit with a boom down the middle. Under the scoreboard raced the old dudes, while down by the diving pit the young stars contested events. It worked well; only once do we remember the Seniors diving in when the age-groupers started. So thumbs up to the organisers.
In the BAGCATs pool we had a few more fine performances. A full set of medals for Oswald Hood (Adw) to join Joe Litchfield (Spa) on the NER BAGCATs Champions dias. Gold in 100m Breaststroke, Silver in the longer version, and Bronze in the 200m IM. A fraction of a second off the 10 years Club Record in the 100m and not much further off the 200m - a challange for the next couple of months for Os! Beyond short term Club Record hunts, a mere 15sec is all that's separating him from NQT over 200m in his first year of eligibility. A further challenge for the season ahead and one that's definitely achievable given the timescales.
For the younger Litchfield meanwhile, business as usual: 4 Gold medals (Butterfly and Backstroke) and a big Medley Bronze to boot. Keeping the Backstroke tradition alive in the age group below was Mark Beech (Spa) with a Silver and Bronze. The longer of which looks set to qualify him for Nationals by the summer too. Today's 2:38 was just 3sec outside, but Short Course times are always the more difficult and that same pace could well see him qualify at the first Long Course meet of the season. 2:42 his Long Course target.
A couple of 10sec PBs for Caitlin Dixon (Arm) earned her Silver (100m Butterfly) and Bronze (200m Freestyle), while star of the Winter Yorkshires, Shannon Dodson (Adw) came away with two Bronze (100m Freestyle and 200m IM) alongside three 4th places. Speaking of 4th places, the same was good enough to give Heidi Smith (Spa) the 13 years Club Record for 200m Backstroke a few weeks after smashing the Mets record over half the distance.
Let's not be forgetting the new season's Animal Squad though. A lot taking their places already and looking especially good doing so. Joe booked his spot with a Golden 200m Butterfly, but Finleigh Dukes (SAS) almost matched him with Silver in the same event, her reward for a punishing 12sec PB.
Star of the Set: Josh
4 Nov: Occasionally someone does something special in training that we think deserves recognition. Maybe it's just Coach Dave getting soft, but Coach John seemed impressed too so maybe not.
Tonight, Josh Reasbeck (Edl) pumped out a set of 10x200m Freestyle. Nothing spectacular in that. Nor is there too much special about him hitting a fairly consistent 2:55 for each (his Short Course PB is about 2:50). So why, you might be thinking, does he deserve a special mention?
Pay attention - it's the skills that count!
Standing rules in Phase 4 dictate that everyone performs 4 Butterfly kicks out of every turn, following up with 2 strokes without breathing. It's a standing rule for which anyone missing it out earns their lane a prize of Butterflies. So clearly Josh did those turns correctly too.
But the special bit that impressed both his coaches was the breathing pattern.
We'd challenged everyone to a 5 stroke breathing pattern throughout, and it was a tight turn round.
We expected them to struggle - and most did.
After the first rep it was clear Josh wasn't remotely fazed by it though.
We increased his pattern to 7 strokes.
Remember his pacing!
Remember the big underwater turns!
He ploughed his way through to rep 9 and still didn't look the least bit troubled. You guessed it, the final 200m we asked him to breath every 9 strokes. He smiled and off he went ...
Same time, same quality turns, and still he didn't look troubled.
Note in coach's log book: next time Josh is on 9 from the start!
Good work Josh, well done.
Doncaster Dartes 2011 Calendar - Coming Soon
4 Nov: By now you'll all be aware of the hard work and professional effort being put in to publishing the first ever Doncaster Dartes calendar for 2011. Well orders are now being taken and printing has begun. Expected price is in the region of £6 with all profits going to the usual place - club funds!
This will make a great christmas present for family (mums and dads, aunts and uncles, but especially grand parents) and friends. The photos are rather special though, and feature as many swimmers, officials, and random parents as we could rustle up at each photo shoot. They will make fabulous mementoes of your time at Dartes and really shouldn't be missed.
As we're not sure of demand, there will only be a limited print run in its first year, so get your orders in quickly to avoid missing out. Place orders with Helen Smith or Julia Crow. They will need your name and the quantity you want.
As a sneak preview we've managed to twist a few arms in to showing off one of the photos being used right here on the website. It's the mad hatters tea party - how appropriate!
Check out the
and see how many faces you recognise.
There are another 11 months of similar quality with many more participants, including the team photos taken of both JDS and Phase 4/5 at Adwick. Place your orders now.
Doncaster Coaches Workshop #2 - Backstroke
28 Nov: Due to our ever tighter links with City of Sheffield Swim Squad, Dartes' Head Coach Andrew Wallace and their Head Coach Russ Barber have settled on the subject matter for the second in the DMASA's series of coaches workshops. The aim is to provide Doncaster's coaches with expert and up to the minute knowledge of the strokes as told by one of the UK's top proponents.
The first workshop in this series proved extremely popular and covered a few of the skills Russ considers essential for Butterfly and a Nutrition workshop by Andrew Shepherd. Workshop #2 promises to be every bit as interesting.
Location: Sunday 28th November @ Adwick Leisure Centre
|1:00-2:00pm||Backstroke technique theory for coaches
In Family Room with Russ Barber
|2:15-3:15pm||Dealing with Injuries and Injury Prevention
In Family Room with Gemma Roper
Poolside with Russ Barber and Braxton Timm
Just like last time, Coach Barber will be bringing along Braxton Timm to demonstrate the drills, but members of Dartes Phases 3-5 will also be invited to take part in the hour long in-pool demonstrations.
Injury prevention seminars are extremely difficult to find, so this should be of huge interest to anyone actively coaching in Doncaster.
Coaches places are limited so be sure to get in touch with Coach Wallace to book your place.