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News August 2011

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

Representing Yorkshire

21 Aug: While most of you are thinking about entering Winter Yorkshires (deadline approaching fast), 3 Dartes Stars have been called up to the Yorkshire Swim Squad for October's ASA National Intercounty Championships.

Last year we had two on the team, and for 2011 one of them, Max Litchfield (Spa), gets to reprise his role and hopefully stop the Lancashire express train from winning a 10th straight title. Joining him will be two first timers to Team Yorkshire. Max's younger brother Joe Litchfield (Spa) will be looking to make his own mark on the team, while Shannon Dodson (Adw) gets to follow in Max's foot splashes in the Backstroke event.

It's always an exciting contest, and Yorkshire are traditionally found right in the mix for Top County at Ponds Forge. 10 of Yorkshire's clubs have the honour of being represented among the 30 athletes on the team this year, so let the War of the Roses commence.

Start to Season for Phase 4

17 Aug: With the new season just around the corner it might be helpful to those in Phase 4 to have a quick look at the meet calendar for Cycle 1. Phase 5 of course should speak to Coach Wallace if they have any doubts as to what they should be doing, likewise, JDS swimmers should have a chat with Coach Nicholas.

Firstly, the plan is always to try and cover as many individual events as possible over the course of the season. All the 100m and 200m events (they should be easy to squeeze in), but also the 400m IM and the distance Freestyle from 400m through to 800m/1500m. By getting Yorkshire qualifying times for as many of them as possible, even if that means squeezing a lot of events in to the same session of early season meets, you have the opportunity of swimming fast at Spring Yorkshires where the programme is much more spread out.

So that should be your aim before Christmas.

The team at the Hull open last month With that in mind we have a few useful meets coming up. Unfortunately, the first of them the Hull Regional Qualifier on Sunday 2nd October clashes with Mets, so consider this one entirely optional; if your club wants you racking up the team points at Mets, do that instead! Check with your club first. For those who prefer a day of 200m racing, and we know 4 or 5 of you are already eyeing up this meet, Coach Dave will pop over to Ennerdale.

But a note for anyone entering:
The 200m Butterfly is compulsory!
The 50m sprints should be ignored.
And donating a chocolate muffin to the coach at lunch time is traditional.
Suddenly the Mets look far more attractive.

The following weekend is everyone's favourite Short Course meet at Ponds Forge. Winter Yorkshires is an opportunity for those of you with Birthdays at the wrong end of the calendar to make your mark on the medal table. Anyone with qualifying times should enter everything they have times for. For most of you, that should get 100m times on the rankings database in addition to the 200m IM.

So for those who entered Hull as well, you could potentially have all your 100m and 200m events on the rankings for the season. Good start.

At the end of October we have a special treat for those running away to the Tenerife training camp. The weekend you return we want you (and everyone else) entering the Bradford Halloween meet. For Phase 4 there are a couple of extra important details to consider. Those of you who didn't enter the Hull meet should make sure the 200m Butterfly is on your list at Bradford, let's get everyone in the Animal Squad straight away this season. There's also a 400m Freestyle on offer which again, everyone should be entering. Check the meet regulations for restrictions on the 400 though and be prepared to be rejected in the very likely event that it is over subscribed. Bradford also represents your last opportunity to qualify for NER Short Course, so make sure you're focused on swimming best times after your hard slog in the sun.

NER Short Course medalists from 2010: Shannon and Os For those who aren't aware, many meets these days lock down entries to longer events to just those with a time on the rankings system. It becomes something of a chicken and egg situation. If you don't do the longer events young enough, the chances are slim that you'll ever be able to in the future. It's important therefore that you take every opportunity to squeeze yourself in to 400m and upwards just to get your foot in the door. As times are only valid for about 1 year, you need to continually refresh those times every season too.

With no more qualifying to be done before Spring Yorkshires, we'll concentrate on hard training through November (with an afternoon of Arena League action thrown in too). Anyone qualifying for Short Course NER Championships will travel to Sunderland the first weekend in December; everyone else should take part in Snow Frills. We're told (but it's still to be confirmed) that this year Snow Frills will be aimed at non-NER qualifiers due to the clash with NER Champs. If that turns out to be the case the meet suddenly becomes extremely useful for those of you struggling to squeeze in to longer events. Keep your eyes on the meet website for more details as they become available.

To avoid confusion and mistakes through the season, one final point needs to be raised. Only the meets on the calendar should be entered - nothing else! If you know of other meets that you think should be added talk to your coach and they'll decide whether it offers something useful, otherwise stick to the meet calendar only. On average, one meet or championship per month should be adequate.

Feeder club league galas on the other hand are perfectly acceptable - an hour or two of head to head racing is always beneficial.
Meet Calendar ...

Lifeguards Aplenty

14 Aug: Having plenty of Lifeguards around who we can call upon to cover training is absolutely essential. Without lifeguards of our own, we end up paying a King's ransom for centre staff which is ultimately reflected in training fees. So earlier this month we sent 4 lucky super heroes on a course - make sure the rest of you say thank you!

Two of our older swimmers took the qualification for the first time (as soon as they became old enough). Elliot Trofimowicz (Spa) and Max Litchfield (Spa) most likely won't be plying their trade during training unless we're absolutely desperate, but it's a good qualification to have under their belt before running away to University.

Hopefully we will get Suzi Waugh (Arm) pool side again though. With Phase 4 expanding next month, it'll be all hands on deck to keep things running smoothly. In addition to the three newbies, Assistant Coach Kevin Nicholas successfully renewed his qualification.

Great News for [Name Removed] and Max

14 Aug: Firstly, the Federation of Disability Sports Organisations held their annual Sports Awards Ceremony at the Centenary Pavilion, Leeds Utd Football Club on Friday 15th July 2011. Swimming featured heavily across the categories with 18 individual nominees of both swimmers and coaches and the ASA being nominated twice in the organisations list. The focus on the awards was the achievements of all the nominees.

Dartes' very own [Name Removed] (Adw) won the award for Young Achiever (girl), the same award in the boy's category went to Ben Sweeney of Edlington ASC. Phenomenal achievement to both of them - great news! Other awards up for grabs included Sports Man and Sports Woman of the year. All 4 awards went to swimmers from our region.

Chris Armstrong, Regional Development Officer for Disability Swimming commented:

" The talent of the nominees across all the sports was clearly evident here tonight. For the region's swimmers to take these four individual awards is a real credit to their commitment and that of their coaches. "

And the other piece of great news, Max Litchfield (Spa) has once again been selected for this season to go on to the England Talent Camps. The first of which is not far away where he will be down in Coventry on a 3 day residential course. Second part of the talent camp is to be held in January 2012 at Millfield School and the final part will take place in April 2012 in Torremelinos.

Selection is based on points scored at Nationals in Olympic events only and a maximum of 30 swimmers from the region will be selected. The idea behind the talent camp is to provide a seamless pathway for talented English swimmers and coaches to help fulfil their potential.

Well done Max!

The ASA Open Water 1km Swim, 2011

30 Jul: Finally squeezed in to the wetsuit A week or so ago, Heidi Smith (Arm) decided to take a change of direction for her end of season finalé. Instead of making the trip to Bradford with the rest of the team, she took the somewhat shorter drive to Rother Valley Country Park to represent Dartes in a 1km open water event. In the end she did us proud finishing 10th out of 55 competitors against swimmers from all over the country. Her mum Helen seemed to enjoy it to (as did a couple of team mates along to offer support). Spending the day by a lake in the sun was far preferable to being squashed inside a hot, sweaty pool.

Here's Heidi to tell you all about the experience.

Warm up began at 10:15am for my heat, therefore I had plenty of time to try on a wet suit and get a glance of the lake before preparing myself for the race. It's a good thing I had a lot of time to try the wet suit as I had it on inside out (could only be done by daughter of Helen Smith).

Rother Valley park looked very peaceful at this time in the morning ... that was about to change.

Three big inflatable yellow buoys marked out the course for the swim each about 200m apart. The swans on the lake managed to complete this course, so why not me? Each of the competitors had a coloured hat with a number written on, also a micro-chip in it to help record a time at the end of the course, and a number on both their hands. My hat colour was a bright orange and my number was "49".

Number 49 where are you? The 10.00 o'clock heat 1 lined up at the start. They all listened to the instructions and rules of the swim. One of my favourite rules was to drink Coca-Cola after the race as it kills any bugs in the water that could be in our stomach after the race.

10.15 "wave 2" (that's the term given to the second heat of roughly 27) was now allowed to get ready at the start. I slowly lowered myself into the freezing water to warm up for the race, it took my breath away, swimming with this cold shock to start was a nightmare. Just putting your head below the water at first made us out of breath, but after about 5 minutes the shock started to be absorbed and our bodies started to adjust to the temperature. Not completely though.

After warm up all the competitors walked along a pontoon next to the start post. Yet again we lowered ourselves into the water ready to begin the race. The temperature of the water was slightly more bearable now then it had first been. We all hung on to the side in silence watching the man with the green flag as he set us off.

Get ready ...
Set ...

Heidi joined by our National Stars We all pushed of and tried to get ourselves space but this was not possible at first, as we were all in a pack and crammed tightly together. Legs kicked and arms flung everywhere. I ended up being kicked in the face about 6 times but that didn't stop me. By the time we had all gone round the first buoy we had all spread out and were concentrating more now on our pace. Every 4 strokes or so I had to lift my head and look in front of me to make sure I could see the buoy straight ahead of me.

The water in the lake was a green murky colour and quite hard to see in at times. The landscape as I swam was very beautiful though, it was a lot nicer than a poolside environment and a lot calmer. As I approached the second buoy I could see a white swan floating beside me it was such a strange feeling having a swan beside me as I swam rather than an aggressive DARTES swimmer.

I could now see the finish straight ahead of me but it seemed a long way away. More swimmers started to step up the pace for the last 100m. I could see one swimmer in particular trying to get in front but I managed to stay in 5th place until the end and swam through the finish posts. It was a good feeling knowing I had completed it and would recommend it to most of the swimmers at DARTES. To make things better I even achieved a medal for 5th place in the 2nd wave.