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News June 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

Versatile Athletes

26 Jun: All those hard training sessions, land training and general torture from our coaches at Dartes (only joking about the torture) really do pay off with our swimmers' fitness levels. Several of Dartes' swimmers have been representing their comprehensive schools across South Yorkshire in an inter-school battle for supremacy at the Keepmoat Stadium competing in athletics.

Holly Brookes (Edl) ran in the 1500m race just last week against others from Rotherham based schools and obliterated the year 8 time to set a new record, and of course finished in 1st place. Other Dartes members competed this week for Doncaster based schools including Georgia Wright (Arm) who ran the 800m and finished 3rd having never done any athletics training before apart from a time trial in school 4 days prior to the race. Chloe Hardy (Adw) and Courtney Massey (Edl) both competed in the 100m sprint and finished 4th and 5th respectively. Josh Reasbeck (Edl) and Rebecca Jarvis (Spa) ran the 1500m and finished 4th and 6th respectively.

While over to the West Lily Metcalfe (Spa) is set to run in the equivalent event for her Barnsley school and Joseph Gatus (Spa) has a National Schools athletics final and a 100m sprint coming up soon too.

So what is it that makes our swimmers so versatile?

The following is an extract from a blog called Complete Running:

Swimming and running complement each other in so many ways, pairing the two can be very beneficial. Let's look at some of the ways that swimming and running work together to provide maximum results.

Impact: Let's face it; running is a high impact activity. Every step has an impact on the whole body and this can, over time, take its toll. Adding swimming to your fitness plan allows for an intense cardio workout without the impact. Having these low impact workouts will provide more opportunity for rest which will allow you to not only run better on your run days, but run longer and more injury free over all.

Upper Body vs. Lower Body: I don't think anyone would ever claim that running is a strenuous upper body workout. Mainly, running works your trunk and lower body, leaving the upper body out of the mix. Swimming brings the upper body back in to focus and allows you to create a more balanced physique. In addition to a great upper body workout, swimming provides a solid lower body workout (think of kicking for laps and laps around your pool), again improving your running by providing more power and endurance.

Lean vs. Bulk: Distance runners and swimmers have a remarkably similar body structure. Neither is looking for bulk. Bulk and excess muscle will slow down a runner and sink a swimmer. What both sports are looking for is strong, lean, flexible muscle and low body fat. These are the things that make fast runners (distance runners at least, I think sprinters are a little different) and highly competitive swimmers. Compare athletes like Paul Tergat (running) and Michael Phelps (swimming) - very similar body structure. The activities of both swimming and running promote this body type - they both burn huge amounts of fat, and build strength while reducing bulk.

Resistance: We all know that resistance training is good, right- Adding a little lifting to our workouts adds muscle, makes us stronger, and thus a better runner. Now think of being able to do resistance training for an hour or more straight without changing weights or messing with machines and working every muscle in your body. That is what swimming provides, consistent resistance training without the headache of a weight room. Keep in mind, weight training is good too, but swimming will help.

Bottom-line, swimming and running just work well together. They complement each other very nicely and each helps the other.

So there you have it....

3rd Placed Club at Viking Sprints

26 Jun: For the last two years Dartes have sent a dominant squad to the Team Jorvik Viking Sprints meet. The York based team have hosted this contest at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds for the last 2 years and we've managed to get our hands on the Top Club trophy both times (2010, 2009). This year though, we decided to gracefully surrender our claims and split the squad in three. Assistant Coach Kevin Nicholas once again travelled to Jorvik with his Junior Development Squad swimmers (predominately 11 years and under). Next week our other Assistant Coach, Dave Cuthbert, will take the short trip to Hull with most of our Age-Group swimmers (11-14 year olds). While at the same time Head Coach Andrew Wallace crosses the border with the 14 and overs to contest Scottish Nationals.

It's a busy but carefully planned build up to the season finalé: National Championships in Sheffield at the end of July.

This weekend's 50m sprint meet then, not really suited to our older swimmers who need to focus on 200m events, is perfect for our young development swimmers. Despite our much lower profile at Jorvik this year, we still managed to finish 3rd in the Top Club contest behind the hosts and the local Leeds team. In addition to the Dartes performance squad, Doncaster also enjoyed strong representation from our local clubs. Armthorpe Swimming Club finished 9th, Rossington were hot on their heels in 10th, and South Axholme Sharks were right behind them in 11th. A small number of Dartes (and former Dartes) athletes among their ranks too. 23 clubs from around Yorkshire took part in total.

Coach Nicholas on duty at Viking Sprints 3rd in the Top Boy competition In the age group top swimmer awards we performed very strongly. Robbie Casson (Adw) brought home the 9 years trophy with medals in every event: 3 Gold medals, a Silver and a Bronze. In the Girls Emma Stringer (Min) couldn't quite match his achievement, but with a Gold and two Silvers secured the runner up spot.

Up an age group and our strong 10 year old girls took 5 of the top 14 places. Lauren Heywood (Min) was the best placed overall finishing 3rd best girl with a medal of each colour. Right behind her with three medals of her own was Lucy Clarke (Ros). In the equivalent 10 years boys [Name Removed] (Adw) was also 3rd best; a Gold and three minor medals his reward.

Jumping up the age groups, one of our late starting 14 year old girls added a sprints afternoon to her Saturday training schedule. At 6am that morning Leanne Davis (Edl) had dived in to Adwick swimming pool to complete her usual 5,000m Dartes workout. A workout that included a demanding test set of two 800m (32 length) timed swims. An intense test of endurance with its own intra-squad league table and personal honour at stake. She then travelled to Leeds for the afternoon and won 2 Gold, 2 Silver, and 1 Bronze medal to take the Top 14 years Girl trophy by storm. All in a day's work!

Back down the ages again and 2 Gold medals for Tonika Holdsworth (Adw) was only good enough for 2nd overall in the 13 years. She missed out to former Dartes athlete Carragh Chambers-Hey (SAS), also with 2 Golds, by a single Silver medal (3 for Carragh, just 2 for Tonika). Nevertheless, a 1-2 for Doncaster Swimming.

Top Girl Katy 4th Top Boy More of Doncaster's stars took the top swimmer accolades too. Representing her feeder club on this occasion was Dartes age-grouper Katy Burton (Arm) best of the 11 year olds. Her Armthorpe club mate Bethan Hammond Jones did the same in the 12 years. Ben Long (Arm) couldn't quite match those two girls finishing as runner up, with Joshua Sellars (Ros) and Joshua Reasbeck (Edl) hot on his heels in 3rd and 4th.

The Jorvik sprints meet is a good opportunity to see Doncaster's swimming pathway in action. Club swimmers through the ages competing side by side with those younger athletes taking their first tentative steps down the performance route with the Dartes training scheme. Further down each age group's top swimmer rankings were more of our young JDS stars who will swiftly climb their way up over the next year or so. A starting position aged 10 or 11 is simply that. With lots of effort, attention to detail and dedication much can change in a short time frame. 30th place in the overall table at 11 for example, can easily become a top 3 finish at 12 - it just takes a year's worth of hard work!

11mins Obliterated on 2x800 Test

26 Jun: Ice Cream Powered: Holly (under 11mins) and Leanne (almost under 11mins) It's rare that anyone pops under the 11min mark for the first time in round 1 and then instantly backs that up with another on round 2, but that's exactly what Holly Brookes (Edl) and Georgia Wright (Arm) did yesterday morning to add their names to the sub-11min club. Just outside on 11:01 was Leanne Davies (Edl), clearly regretting letting Holly eat all the ice-cream! In all, 6 of Phase 4 beat the old mark of quality for this set - making it look pretty ordinary in the process.

Out in front, leading the way, was current set record holder George Scatchard (Spa). Probably his last attempt at this set as a Phase 4 swimmer, he didn't look too concerned about the chances of losing his record as he cruised to the wall in 10:16. Maybe he should have been. Two places behind him on round 1 Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) had plucked up the courage to attack the 800m and touched, 32 lengths later, to exactly match George's record set in April.

Name Date 400m 800m 400m 800m
Jarvis 25 Jun 5:08 10:10 5:26 11:00
13 Nov 5:44 11:43 6:05 12:21
16 Oct 5:30 11:07 5:34 11:13
11 Sep 5:50 11:56 6:12 12:20
10 Jul 5:30 10:57 5:33 11:09
29 May 5:35 11:14 5:45 11:22
1 May 5:57 12:28 5:49 11:24
13 Mar 5:40 11:40 6:14 12:52
21 Nov 6:42 14:01 6:54 13:13
George 25 Jun 5:11 10:16 5:15 10:30
2 Apr 5:04 10:10 5:17 10:37
12 Feb 5:26 11:15 5:27 10:56
13 Nov 5:45 11:23 5:55 11:52
16 Oct 5:47 11:25 5:49 11:55
11 Sep 5:44 12:37 6:00 13:07
29 May 6:01 12:02 5:51 11:56
1 May 6:04 12:02 6:00 12:05
13 Mar 7:23 13:47 7:16 14:04
Mark 25 Jun 5:16 10:37 5:26 11:07
2 Apr 5:20 10:47 5:40 11:21
12 Feb 5:31 11:06 5:50 11:43
13 Nov 5:45 11:23 5:55 11:55
16 Oct 5:43 11:29 6:12 12:30
11 Sep 5:50 12:36 6:15 13:06
10 Jul 5:53 11:34 6:07 12:21
29 May 5:58 12:04 6:07 12:19
1 May 5:53 12:02 6:02 12:06
13 Mar 6:39 12:44 6:54 13:30
23 Jan 6:08 12:52 6:30 13:16
19 Dec 6:03 12:12 6:32 13:13
21 Nov 6:53 14:07 7:08 13:53
Holly 25 Jun 5:20 10:53 5:18 10:47
13 Nov 5:37 11:13 5:43 11:30
16 Oct 5:55 11:51 5:42 11:26
11 Sep 6:22 13:25 6:22 13:23
10 Jul 6:00 11:43 5:54 11:48
29 May 6:45 13:24 6:38 13:15
13 Mar 7:32 14:01 7:14 13:53
Georgia W 25 Jun 5:25 10:53 5:26 10:56
2 Apr 5:47 11:49 5:40 11:39
Kathryn 25 Jun 5:29 10:56 5:37 11:28
2 Apr 5:27 10:58 5:42 11:30
12 Feb 5:37 11:18 5:36 11:13
16 Oct 5:51 11:52 5:57 12:00
11 Sep 5:52 12:44 5:56 11:57
10 Jul 6:12 12:33 6:08 12:19
Leanne 25 Jun 5:29 11:01 5:36 11:26
2 Apr 5:46 11:29 6:07 12:29
12 Feb 5:47 11:43 5:58 11:59
Robert 25 Jun 5:29 11:12 5:41 11:35
2 Apr 5:36 11:24 5:40 11:29
12 Feb 5:52 11:42 5:53 11:49
Beth 25 Jun 5:31 11:12 5:52 11:52
12 Feb 5:31 11:12 5:37 11:26
13 Nov 6:00 12:18 5:50 11:52
16 Oct 5:35 11:20 5:31 11:22
11 Sep 5:44 11:46 5:54 11:57
10 Jul 5:30 11:04 5:34 11:16
1 May 5:48 11:50 5:46 11:46
13 Mar 5:50 12:02
23 Jan 5:55 11:50 6:10 12:23
19 Dec 5:48 11:41 5:52 11:44
21 Nov 5:46 11:47 6:20 12:28
24 Oct 5:52 11:54 6:28 12:03
12 Sep 6:20 13:05 6:56 13:34
Finleigh 25 Jun 5:33 11:17 5:48 11:35
2 Apr 6:02 12:02 6:03 11:56
12 Feb 6:12 12:46 6:09 12:24
13 Nov 6:13 12:22 6:20 12:42
16 Oct 6:29 12:43 6:23 12:56
Amber 25 Jun 5:45 11:25 5:41 11:42
2 Apr 5:41 11:41 5:44 11:37
12 Feb 5:37 11:14 5:39 11:17
13 Nov 5:56 11:52 6:01 12:09
16 Oct 5:59 12:11 6:09 12:25
11 Sep 6:08 13:12 6:33 12:24
Katie 25 Jun 6:12 12:31 6:00 11:54
2 Apr 6:04 11:59 6:02 12:03
12 Feb 7:30 14:56 6:08 12:20
Rebecca 25 Jun 5:47 11:59 6:02 12:14
29 May 6:49 13:34 6:39 13:10
23 Jan 6:59 14:12 7:10 14:08
Lily 25 Jun 6:20 12:55 6:08 12:27
2 Apr 6:04 12:02 6:04 12:03
12 Feb 6:28 13:18 6:17 12:33
13 Nov 7:02 13:30 6:25 13:08
Tyler 25 Jun 6:04 12:36 6:12 12:30
2 Apr 6:20 12:35
12 Feb 6:39 13:16 5:57 12:05
16 Oct 6:52 14:00 6:23 12:54
Joe 25 Jun 6:25 12:47 6:21 12:38
Click the name to expand the history.

Congrats Press Officers

25 Jun: Towards the end of May the challenge was set: We must have Press Officers in place before NER BAGCAT Championships. With no need for any arm twisting (well maybe just a teeny bit), we quickly had 4 and a half volunteers step up, pens at the ready.

"Why 4?" Many people asked.

The intention was to keep the work load down, to make it an easy job for anyone to squeeze in to their busy schedule. Besides, we had an abundance of parents not doing anything, so why not. Each of the 4 was to write and submit an article each month - and in June that's exactly what happened. You'll have noticed the results via our World of Swimming news feed.

For those of you who were too shy and missed out on the excitement this time, don't worry. There are many more jobs on the horizon (one each in fact), so stay tuned.

With the season finalé just around the corner (Nationals and Bradford End of Season) July will hopefully be another busy month for Dartes in the local papers. The task is now to keep Doncaster Swimming in the public eye every week. Let's push football out of the back page headlines and make swimming the most talked about sport in the town. The number of children (especially boys) taking up the sport is slowly dwindling, that's a trend we need to reverse.

So swimmers - give our Press Officers exciting things to write about.
Boys - train hard, race fast, and win win win! You need to be trend setters.
Parents - make sure you get your kids to training so they can do exciting things.
Press Officers - give yourselves a pat on the back for a fantastic first month.

And thank you to the Doncaster Free Press and Doncaster Star for playing along.

Here's the news so far:
- 7 June Dartes youngsters' super show in regionals
- 13 June Ben honoured for European record
- 21 June Golden boy Joe leads the way for DARTES
- 24 June Have a go Joe grabs three gold medals
Is there one we've missed?

Speedy Turns Test

24 Jun: We're getting all speedy with the test sets. It's that time of the season where we're looking to do things faster, to get sharp and speed things up. Phase 4 have been doing a speedy turns set for a while but we've never got around to publishing the results - until now! As a test this is more complicated than most, but a very good measure of both underwater fly kick ability and breath holding. It highlights who works the underwaters hard consistently in training and so suits Dartes down to the ground.

Speedy underwaters Speedy underwaters So what does it entail?

It's basically a 15m dash, with a twist. Actually more a roll than a twist, or 3 rolls to be completely accurate. Start facing the wall on your front and then execute a swift tumble turn on the starting signal. At St James we're lucky enough to have a lovely green line on the floor at about 7m, you have to streamline Fly kick until your head passes that line (head - not hands). That's followed by another swift tumble turn and 4 fast Fly kicks to get moving towards the wall again. Those 4 kicks are compulsory, don't miss them out! Try and get back up to swim speed before starting the arms up. A Freestyle sprint to the wall ends with another tumble turn and another 7m streamlined fly kick back out to the green line.

If you held your breath while reading all of that you'll be understanding what it feels like; no you won't - it's much worse!

Then from the green line to the 15m steps it's just a fast Freestyle sprint for a time as your head passes the imaginary 15m mark. Allow the streamlining to break apart before the green line and you get no time! Do that twice and you get bumped to the bottom of the list with no average time. If you really want to show off (and let's face it, you do) don't forget the 2 strokes without breathing as you surface each time too.

Jarvis 24 Jun 22.7 22.1 1
Robert 24 Jun 24.7 24.0 0
Kathryn 24 Jun 24.7 24.5 0
Mark 24 Jun 24.8 24.2 0
Harry 24 Jun 25.0 24.7 1
Holly 24 Jun 25.4 24.7 0
Joe 24 Jun 26.0 25.3 1
Beth 24 Jun 26.3 25.8 1
Finleigh 24 Jun 26.5 25.6 0
Katie P 24 Jun 26.6 26.5 1
Katy B 24 Jun 26.8 26.0 1
Tyler 24 Jun 26.9 26.4 0
Josh 24 Jun 27.0 25.7 1
Amber 24 Jun 27.0 26.6 0
Georgia 24 Jun 27.9 27.6 1
Leanne 24 Jun DQ 25.3 2
Caitlin 24 Jun DQ 27.8 2

We reckon 22sec is pretty good, but we'll see what happens to those times now we've started publishing them. The first person to break 20sec really can hold their head high. 25sec and faster is okay, but there's still room for improvement. 26sec or slower suggests you need to attack the turns harder in regular training.

Let's set the standard at sub 26sec for this set. If you fall outside that, you have work to do before next time. Take every opportunity. Develop more power as you push off walls - actually push off harder. Kick bigger and faster on every turn too. Importantly, tighten up your streamlining. And be consistent!

Happy Turning ...

Meet the Swimmer: Chloe Sutton

23 May: As London 2012 gets ever closer, we thought it would be nice to introduce you all to the likely stars of the Olympic swimming pool and showcase some of the World's finest athletes. Last time we crossed the Atlantic to join Rebecca Soni in Southern California. This week we stay in The Golden State but switch teams to the mighty Mission Viejo Nadadores to introduce you to one of the stars of US distance swimming, Chloe Sutton.

Those of you paying attention to our World of Swimming feature will have seen a few of her blogs for the Universal Sports Splashed website. Chloe made her mark as an open water competitor but has now focused her attention firmly on the race pool and is likely to mount a strong challenge to the British girls at World Championships next month and at the London Olympics.

She was interviewed on the Morning Swim Show yesterday and was asked about a typical day's training volume in the notoriously high volume elite MVN distance squad. 10 or 11 sessions per week, somewhere in the region of 10km with a 6km main set was the answer, with an exhausting 100km week just completed. Here's that interview, pay attention:

Streamlined Sensations

18 Jun: As predicted last time Phase 4 did the 15m speed test set, the absent Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) is indeed the master of the starts. His fastest start (7.4sec) the best part of a second faster than runner up George Scatchard (Spa). Clearly that has something to do with his 2 NER Gold medals this month!

Holly the Streamlining Star Jarvis the Master of the Starts How does he achieve so much speed? Reactions off the start is one key point. Be ready to spring off the blocks as soon as the beep is heard. Springyness is probably more important than power when leaving the blocks. The real important thing though, which is visible any time you watch Jarvis or Holly Brookes (Edl) off the walls, is streamlining. Both of them travel so much further underwater than everyone else with seemingly little effort.

Hands tight together.
Head squeezed between biceps.
Chin down.
Make yourself as long as you possibly can.

Both Jarvis and Holly travel further down the pool with 2 kicks off walls than most others manage with 4 or 5! If there's one thing you can all do to improve your performances between now and next time we run this set, it's improving your streamlining.

Jarvis 18 Jun 8.0 7.4 0
George 18 Jun 8.3 8.2 0
28 May 8.8 8.6 0
Holly 18 Jun 8.6 8.5 0
Leanne 18 Jun 8.7 8.3 0
28 May 10.1 9.5 0
Mark 18 Jun 8.9 8.7 1
28 May 9.1 8.8 1
Georgia 18 Jun 9.3 9.0 0
28 May 10.4 10.0 0
Laura 18 Jun 9.4 9.1 0
28 May 10.3 9.8 1
Robert 18 Jun 9.5 9.2 1
28 May 10.5 9.9 0
Lily 18 Jun 9.6 9.3 0
28 May 10.0 9.6 *1
Josh 18 Jun 9.8 9.7 0
28 May 10.0 9.2 1
Beth 18 Jun 10.1 9.5 0
Joe 18 Jun 10.2 9.7 0
28 May 10.8 10.3 0
Amber 18 Jun 10.4 10.1 0
28 May 11.2 10.3 1
Finleigh 18 Jun 10.5 10.2 0
28 May 11.6 10.9 0

Yorkshire's 2nd Club at NER BAGCATs

12 Jun: It's been a good few years since Dartes went in to the final weekend of NER Championships keeping such a close eye on the medal table. After taking runner-up spot at the Yorkshire BAGCAT Championships we had strong hopes for a high finish at regionals, but holding on to 4th spot with just 2 days to go seemed somewhat unlikely.

The team from the first Saturday Unlikely it might have been, but that's exactly where we found ourselves on Saturday morning, after Mark Beech (Spa) had put us temporarily in the lead of the Top Club competition with 1500m Gold in heat 1, day 1 the weekend before!

Not only 4th place, but with only City of Leeds above us (followed by Newburn and City of Sunderland) we owned the status of Yorkshire's 2nd club - awesome! Behind us was a strong challenge from the resurgent York City Baths Club and the slightly ominous presence that was City of Newcastle. And so it was, with one eye on the medals going York's way, that we battled through weekend number 2.

By close of play on Saturday Newcastle had squeezed out an extra Gold medal to move them up to 4th, but we were still holding off the challenge from the rest of the White Rose clubs - just. Our concern going in to Sunday morning was that on paper York looked set to overtake us; the start sheet suggested they had more medal chances. Medal chances weren't the issue though, converting those chances in to glorious Gold was the order of the day. Doncaster's finest did us proud. Not only 5 Gold medals over the weekend (matching weekend 1), but a further 5 new National Qualifying Times too - the last chance bazaar for the age-groupers, the older guys still have Scottish Nationals.

In the end we hung on to our 5th place, and the honour of being Yorkshire's number 2. Next year however, will be a much tougher proposition!

1Co Leeds263122
3Co Sund'land1249
4Co Newcastle1141
5Donc Dartes1057
6York City974
7Co Bradford54 
9Chester Le S461
11Bo Stockton314
12Co Sheffield21014
14Rotherham Mo214
15Bo Kirklees188
17South Tyne114
19Harrogate 25
20Tynedale 12

As an interesting trivia point, over in the states this weekend, the great Janet Evans (4 times Olympic Champion and 800m Freestyle World Record holder before Rebecca Adlington whisked it away from her in Beijing) made her return to racing. Retired for 15 years rumour has it she's eyeing a spot on the US Olympic team for London (she's 39). Had she swum the 14 years Boys 400m Freestyle final yesterday afternoon instead of the 400m Freestyle at the aptly named Janet Evans Invitational in Fullerton, she would have finished 4th in 4:23.82. Just 5sec behind her would have been our very own Jamie Clarke (Arm).

We've no idea exactly what the point of that comparision was, but it might have been fun to watch Jamie racing against the former women's 400m and 800m World Record holder. Maybe we'll add that to Dartes TV later in the week.

A Day in the Life of Hannah Miley

8 Jun: Our Meet the Swimmer feature brought you Hannah Miley back in January but BBC Scotland have very kindly provided a brief glimpse in to a normal day for Scotland's European Champion. We thought you'd like to see it:

Why not visit the BBC's website and see what other gems you can find.

Tenerife 2011 Training Camp

Russ Barber and City of Sheffield at Los Cristianos 7 Jun: The invitations for Phase 5 were handed out Monday evening, so the big secret is now being quickly spread around facebook. The destination for Training Camp 2011 will be Los Cristianos on the island of eternal spring, Tenerife.

Those hard working athletes deemed to deserve a week of torture in the sun can expect a 70km work load towards the end of October. Doubles every day except one afternoon off, plus the added incentive of land training practically every day too. We have to be sure those accepting places on the camp will be able to handle the training load. As stressed every year, this is not a holiday. Don't believe us? Take a read of last year's blog that never was, or the 2009 version and pay particular attention to the first-timer accounts. We need to be certain those taking part will make a positive impact on the group, as being shipped back home mid-week can be disappointing!

So after last year's successful trip to Mallorca, why are we heading off to somewhere new? We decided 3 years ago that we had to visit different destinations each year to keep things fresh. It was tempting to make a return trip to Paphos in Cyprus as there aren't many still here who went in 2007, but nothing's ever as good the second time, so instead we asked the people who know the best camp locations - other coaches. Russ Barber at Sheffield recommended Los Cristianos in Southern Tenerife (see photo) so we've decided to add it to our list of experiences this year.

Phase 4 invitations will be sent out in the next few days, once we've got an idea how many places will be left over from Phase 5. There will be disappointments though as we are limited to just 21 places. Like we say after every camp, put yourself in with a chance of selection by regularly completing all those sessions you're meant to do week in and week out. If you aren't used to doing that, the chances are you won't cope on camp!

Presentation for Ben

Coach Wallace presents Ben 6 Jun: Doncaster Dartes were proud to present 18 year old Edlington swimmer Ben Sweeney (Edl) with an award at last Tuesday night's training. The award was in honour of his recent success at the World Downs Syndrome Swimming Championships held at Southampton, where he became the Down Syndrome European Record holder for 200m Backstroke with a time of 3:15.96.

Ben was presented the award by Dartes Head Coach Andy Wallace after narrowly missing out on two awards at the Doncaster Sports Awards, due to the success of Max Litchfield (Spa) and [Name Removed] (Adw).

Ben has been swimming with Doncaster Dartes feeder club Edlington Stingrays since the tender age of 5. He trains 3 times each week with them. He often travels to Huddersfield, Reading and Scotland to train with the Down Syndrome GB Swim Team. His next ambition is to qualify for the 2012 Paralympics.

Weekend 1 of NER BAGCAT Championships

5 Jun: June 4th/5th saw the opening weekend of the North East Regional Championships, where some of our swimmers got to compete not only among the best in Yorkshire but they also found themselves up against the best from the big clubs in the North East. It was also the last chance for our swimmers to gain their National Qualifying Times (NQT) so there was everything to race for.

Bourbon Boy: Os 200m Butterfly Boys: Alex and Jarvis How did they fare? Saturday's session got off to an excellent start in the first event, the boys 1500m Freestyle where Mark Beech (Spa) won Gold in the 11 year age group. Mark also took the Dartes Club Record for his age group for this event in a time of 20:31.20. The success for the boys continued with a Gold medal for Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) in the 200m Butterfly. This result saw him win the Gold by 6 seconds and he took another chunk off his PB to further consolidate his NQT. Joe Litchfield (Spa) also touched within the NQT in the 200m Butterfly but unfortunately got disqualified for kicking beyond the maximum distance of 15 metres on the start. Still, Joe's unlucky DQ let Alex Pollard (Arm) into the final where he finished a very commendable 8th. Another finalist in the 200m Butterfly came by way of Jamie Clarke (Arm) who finished 9th in the 14 year old age group.

Jarvis also won a Bronze medal in the 12 year boys 100m Breaststroke and was narrowly beaten by Joe who took the Silver. More Breaststroke success came for Oswald Hood (Adw) who won the Bronze medal in the boys 11yr 100m Breaststroke against some very stiff competition.

For the girls, Dartes' Shannon Dodson (Adw) continued her domination of the girls 100m Backstroke, taking her 3rd Gold medal in as many years, this time in the 13 year old girl's category. She too lowered her NQT by a smidgeon. Remember, every 0.01sec counts in this game.

Our younger girls, competing in their first Regional Championships, also did exceptionally well. 10 year old Amber Hardy (Adw) came 5th in the 400m Individual Medley. This is a daunting event for even the most experienced of swimmers so a 10 year old having a crack at it at such a high level and doing so well deserves a special mention. Amber also came 6th in the 100m Backstroke. Another 10 year old with a great future is Tyler Dodson (Adw) who came 7th in the 200m Freestyle. We also had Natasha Crow (SAS) competing in her first ever NER final who came 7th in the 12 year old girls 400m IM.

Sunday started with the Girls 800m Freestyle. Natasha and Chloe Hardy (Adw) put in fine performances to finish 5th and 10th respectively in the 12 year old Girls age group, with Natasha smashing her PB by over 10 seconds. Another pair of 10 year olds made their regional debut today with Mathew Jubb (Adw) swimming in the 200m Freestyle and coming a creditable 6th place and Laura Brookes contesting the 200m Butterfly and coming 4th.

Triple Backstroke Champion of the North East Backstroke Boys: Mark, Joe, Jamie, and George Mark was at it again, winning another Gold in the 11 year old boys 100m Backstroke. This was was quickly followed by Joe bringing home a Silver in the same event for the 12 year olds. Not quite the Gold that was expected after his performance in the heats but the now defeated reigning Champion claimed his second NQT of the season. There must have been something in the water for our brilliant Backstrokers as George Scatchard (Spa) narrowly missed the bronze medal in the 13 year old category, coming 4th. While an age group up, Jamie won a Bronze, and took another chunk off his PB so rather than being a fingernail under NQT, he's now got over a second to play with. James Mullen (Arm) just missed out on the final too (sort of), he finished 11th - 1st reserve and left for home at lunch time. Little did he expect someone to drop out of the final, but they did. Oops.

Nevertheless, well done boys.
The Dartes proud Backstroke tradition lives on!

Jarvis also won his second Gold of the weekend today in the 12 year old boys 400m IM, winning by a margin of almost five seconds and again making deeper inroads into his NQT.

Our other finalists were 11 year old Finleigh Dukes (SAS) who came 8th in the 11 year old girls 200m Butterfly. Jarvis and Joe went head to head in the 12 year old boys 200m Freestyle with Jarvis coming 5th and Joe a respectable 7th, and Luke Shypylka (SAS) and Jamie came 7th and 8th in the 14 year old boys 200m Freestyle.

Holly Brookes (Edl), Tonika Holdsworth (Adw) and Bethany Reddy (Arm) also competed in the 100m Breaststroke.

At the end of the first weekend, Doncaster Dartes are currently lying 4th in the overall medal table with 5 Gold, 2 Silver, and 3 Bronze.

As a little lunch time entertainment for those beady eyed enough to notice, Simon Wright of GB Swim Stars was plying his trade in the diving pit with his underwater camera. City of Sheffield's Eleanor Faulkner the star of a photo shoot for a new sponsor. Many of you will remember when Simon visited Dartes and brought that same camera to use for the very first time.

Medals and PBs at No Frills

1 Jun: Coach Andy had a long weekend ahead of him with only 6 swimmers competing across 5 sessions with much at stake for the swimmers. This meet being the last opportunity to qualify for National Championships for the Youth swimmers.

Stars of the Weekend: Jamie and Heidi The weekend started well with Jamie Clarke (Arm) and Alex Pollard (Arm) setting the bar high swimming huge PBs: 48 and 30 second PBs respectively in the 1500m Freestyle. No small achievement when we consider that both boys last swam this event relatively recently at the Yorkshires. For his 17mins of pain, Jamie earned Silver, while Alex was just outside the medals finishing 5th having only recently joined this age group. That's not the end of Jamie's story though. Despite miscounting the lengths (easy to do over 30 laps) and finishing with a turn before coaches waved him to stop some way down the 31st length, he was just 2sec outside qualifying for Nationals. Had he realised he was about to finish, a final flourish could well have seen him dip beneath the 17:20 required. Not to worry, he definitely will be at Nationals for Backstroke.

Jamie continued to show the impact of training hard by shaving a further 8 seconds off his 400m Freestyle (4.24.92). When did he last swim that I hear you ask? Amazingly just two weeks ago! 5th place his reward.

On the 100m sprint, he first broke the magical minute back in January, today's Bronze medal winning effort showed what often happens with the pressure removed: a near 2sec PB at 57.68.

Strong performances followed across the board in this high level meet scheduled during a period of heavy training in the final block of work before Nationals. Richard Lee (Spa) and Elliot Trofimowicz (Spa) lowered their 200m IM times by well over a second.

Sharing the limelight with Jamie though was the weekend's triple Silver medallist Heidi Smith (Arm) slicing another second off her best 800m Freestyle performance along the way.

Well done to all swimmers at No Frills on the solid performances over the weekend and keep up the hard work in training!