News May 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
Max Long Listed for Commonwealths
31 May: We've just found out that Max Litchfield (Spa) is on what British Swimming call a long list of athletes who are under consideration for selection for the Commonwealth Youth Games. Final selection will be based on performances up to the end of June.
Commonwealth Youth Games will take place on the Isle of Man during the first half of September and would clearly be a huge honour for Max if he were to be selected to represent England at this event. We wish him the very best of luck, and fast swimming.
A Normal Sunday Afternoon?
30 May: Just when you thought it would be a normal Sunday JDS training session...
... Coach Dave sprang a surprise visit on the JDS to put the majority of phase 3 through their paces; rumour has it he was on the look out for some new swimmers to fill the gaps in his squad. Instantly everyone seemed eager to please and full of enthusiasm at the prospect of bagging a spot on his team. They had a gruelling session with very little rest, however, coach Dave must have been in a good mood as he didn't make them do the 2x800m test then the 400m-kick test but he certainly kept everyone on their toes. Underwater fly kicking, Backstroke/Breaststroke flip turns and Backstroke head position were some of the things being assessed.
A cup full of water on the head of every swimmer showed who was keeping their head still and who was not. A great drill to emphasise that head position is a key part of great technique. Phase 3 seemed at the top of their game listening to instructions attentively and giving 100% to everything they were asked to do.
Wonder who the lucky swimmers will be to move up to Phase 4. We won't have long until we know. Well done to all of Phase 3 who took part in the assessment you all worked very hard.
Coach Dave adds:
We're often asked what we're looking for in the kids we move up. The simple answer is training attitude. A Yorkshire time is pretty much essential with the quality of young athletes in the programme these days, but above that: who is trying to perfect the skills coaches ask of them; who is working hard; and who is a good influence on those around them.
That's pretty much the same whether you're looking to move from P3 to P4 or P4 to P5, just the standard we expect gets higher and higher.
For June then, we've decided to give a spot in Phase 4 to Katy Burton (Arm) and Chantelle Waugh (Arm). Judging by Sunday's efforts, more of you will get the chance over the coming months. Well done girls.
New Test for Phase 4
28 May: With the grey clouds of summer arriving and the end of season meet just two months away, it's time to develop a little speed in the pool. Saturday morning found Phase 4 adding a new test set to their training. There was half an attempt among the coaches to convince everyone they were in store for a 10km time trial, and judging by the groans when told it was actually a speed set we might do that next week.
Instead 15m speed was the order of the day.
The rules are simple: Dive, Butterfly kick past the steps (12.5m), then surface before 15m for a time to when the head passes the imaginary 15m line. The objective is to speed up the underwater work and make it a race weapon (or an advantage if you don't like violence). For Max Litchfield (Spa) crossing the line in 6.xsec or Mat Davies (Arm) hitting 7.xsec last weekend, it already is, and they're probably the ones to try to emulate.
With master of the starts Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) missing this morning it was left to George Scatchard (Spa) and Mark Beech (Spa) to lead the way under 10sec. But Tyler Dodson (Adw) left her mark too. Quite a few popped up too early due to not heeding their coach's advice and counting their kicks so they know exactly how far they've gone. Whereas Lily Metcalfe (Spa) on the other hand, just kept kicking and kicking on round 2. A nice try for a Gold star, but not on this set!
Bank Holiday Nutrition Reminder
28 May: We like to keep everyone reminded about good nutrition habits, so here's your bank holiday weekend reminder of what heavily training athletes need to be eating. Make a point of concentrating right to the end for yet another expert highlighting the importance of post training snacks.
Tired 4x400m Kick Set
21 May: They knew something was coming this morning, but we kept them guessing as to which test set it was. In the end they had 4x400m kick to endure and a fastest average time to set. We've had a few very tired swimmers in the pool in recent weeks, mid-way through the final training cycle leading up to our end of season meet Phase 4 is in hard training with a few finding out exactly what that means at the Rotherham meet last weekend.
This stage of the season is all about battling through training and working extremely hard when tired. As Phelps' coach Bob Bowman once famously put it: "It's about putting a little money in the bank every day, so when that big meet comes round, you can make one big withdrawal". So for those heading to Nationals, the work being done now may well slow you down this month and next, but come the end of July you should be buzzing. For everyone else, the same is true for the City of Bradford meet - our other big end of season competition.
So what of things this morning. Well our usual standard setter Kathryn Shepheard (Adw) started strongly, dipping under 7mins on rep 1, but then uncharacteristically, couldn't hang on to the pace she set. That left the door open for Mark Beech (Spa) who was on her toes at the start and destroyed 7mins on rep 2. His average is inching ever closer to that 7min mark - next time!
Sneaking up on Holly Brookes (Edl) and Kathryn were two of our younger girls. Lily Metcalfe (Spa) forced her way out of lane 6 and in to lane 5 with two very strong opening performances. A few seconds behind her on the leader board Finleigh Dukes (SAS), was having a two way battle with Robert Kirk (Spa) for lane 5 supremacy. The Flying Fin just won, but we'll re-arrange the lane order next time and see what happens.
|Name||Date||Rnd 1||Rnd 2||Rnd 3||Rnd 4||Avg|
|Mark||21 May 2011||7:00||6:53||7:04||7:13||7:02|
|Holly||21 May 2011||7:02||7:15||7:19||7:22||7:14|
|Lily||21 May 2011||7:25||7:26||7:24||7:10||7:21|
|Kathryn||21 May 2011||6:59||7:24||7:30||7:48||7:25|
|Finleigh||21 May 2011||7:25||7:28||7:35||7:19||7:26|
|Robert||21 May 2011||7:27||7:32||7:37||7:23||7:29|
|George||21 May 2011||7:30||7:44||7:41||7:56||7:42|
|Beth||21 May 2011||7:15||8:08||8:17||7:18||7:44|
|Laura||21 May 2011||7:39||7:32||8:02||8:11||7:51|
|Amber||21 May 2011||7:38||7:29||9:09||7:40||7:59|
|Jarvis||21 May 2011||7:45||8:09||8:17||8:44||8:13|
|Leanne||21 May 2011||8:11||8:35||9:03||7:49||8:24|
|Caitlin||21 May 2011||8:35||8:37||8:28||8:23||8:30|
|Josh||21 May 2011||8:55||8:28||8:25||8:21||8:32|
|Oswald||21 May 2011||8:29||8:31||8:38||8:49||8:36|
|Alex||21 May 2011||8:49||8:06||9:11||9:25||8:52||Harry||21 May 2011||8:58||10:08||9:27||9:31|
|Joe||21 May 2011||9:50||9:56||10:28||9:34||9:57|
|Georgia||21 May 2011||9:21||9:50||DNF||8:55|
|Katie||21 May 2011||8:23||8:29||DNF||8:22|
Coach Dunne Comes to Visit
20 May: There has always been a standing invitation to all our feeder club coaches to pop down and visit one of our training sessions. Some are regular members of the Dartes coaching staff. Sarah Green (Tho) has been helping run Phase 4 for a few years, while Head Stingray Jeff Squires (Edl) has been heavily involved with JDS and is starting to get more involved with Phase 4 too. Keith Gilbert (Adw) has been invaluable filling in for Assistant Coach Kevin for the past month or so, and Derek Fretwell (Arm) is always around somewhere, happy to provide the benefit of his experience whenever he can.
Those are some of the regular characters, but others turn up when their other commitments allow, just to keep us all on our toes.
A while ago Coach Dave bumped in to South Axholme Sharks Head Coach Kevin Dunne while attending a coaching course at the John Charles Centre in Leeds. After chatting away like coaches do, Coach Kevin accepted the invitation to come along and see how things are done at Dartes. This Friday evening was the day, and we thoroughly enjoyed showing him around and introducing him to our squad structure.
Hopefully he'll become a regular visitor. Next time we'll thrust a stopwatch in his hand and set him to work. We'll be seeing him again at North East Regional Championships in a few weeks too. So now you know who he is, extend the warmest of Dartes welcomes.
See you again soon Coach.
One Weekend, Two Meets
17 Mar: This last weekend was a bit of a busy one. It started Friday night with the Doncaster Sports Awards - by now you'll have forgotten all about that. Then Head Coach Wallace zoomed over to Manchester with most of Phase 5 and a few strays from Phase 4 to contest their Level 1 meet. Back in Yorkshire, Coach Dave made the short hop to Ponds Forge with the rest of Phase 4, the remnants from Phase 5, and a bunch from JDS, for the Rotherham Metro Level 1 meet.
But that wasn't all. Down in Crawley at the K2 centre, Oswald Hood (Adw) was swimming in the Independent Association of Prep Schools National Final and repeated his 4th place in 50m Breaststroke from last year. We've also heard on the grapevine that Doncaster was strongly represented at Yorkshire Masters Championships on the Saturday in Scarborough too. We're still waiting for those results to be published but our spy on the pool deck tells us that Tina GaleWilson (Arm) cleaned up in a number of events.
A very busy weekend with lots of success to celebrate. First up Max Litchfield (Spa) was awarded the prize for "Outstanding Sporting Moment" at the Sports Awards for his British Junior Record 200m IM. [Name Removed] (Adw) added to our bling on the night with "Disabled Sports Personality of the Year" reflecting her call up to the GB squad and lowering of various big records over the past 12 months.
On the Saturday in Manchester, one of those Phase 4 strays opened the meet in style with his first National Qualifying Time of 2011. Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) annihilated his 400m IM PB set at Yorkshires in February. That was quickly followed by NQT number 2 in his last event of the day, the 200m Butterfly. That brings the number of Dartes swimmers qualifying for Nationals to double figures for the 3rd year in a row, and there's still 1 month to go.
Surprisingly, those two performances helped Dartes to 1st place in the Top Club competition at the end of the first session. We only took a small group over to Manchester, but by the end of the meet we finished runner-up! Had we realised we were in with a shot, we'd have made sure more of our big hitters from Phase 4 took the trip across the pennines instead of staying at home in Yorkshire.
But if Jarvis did his usual barnstorming on to the National Squad, Jamie Clarke (Arm) once again had everyone biting nails right up to the final stroke. At Yorkshires he missed his 100m Backstroke NQT by a heart breaking 0.03s. On Sunday morning he went out in search of the longer equivalent.
The time to hit: 2:19.57
Jamie stopped the clock: 2:19.60!
How does he do it?
That's the big drama from the weekend, we'll see if anyone volunteers to fill in the blanks later in the week.
2km Test Before Breakfast
7 Mar: Whether an early celebration of Kerri-Anne Payne setting the fastest ever 10km sea swim this morning in Israel, or a welcome to Phase 4 to Joe Gatus (Spa) we'll let you decide, but this morning before breakfast 17 focused and determined athletes attacked a 2km time trial with gusto. At the bottom of the pile, young Joe was probably a little shocked by the speed everyone started at; that usually happens on the first attempt. Finding himself a good half minute off the pace early on, he quickly realised his mistake and finished strongly - a good first attempt at our big timed swims. He'll no doubt knock off big chunks next time.
At the head of the race, the boys were quick to shuffle themselves towards the front of the lanes. Three of them turned at 1200m within 1sec of each other to start the 800m charge for home, but George Scatchard (Spa) was once again leader of the gang.
|Georgia S||7 May||5:37||11:27||17:03||22:47||28:28|
We often get asked: "What time should I be doing for these test sets?" There's an easy way to estimate it, so get out your calculators, pen, and paper and lets do some Maths. What we're essentially trying to find, is what's known as the Anaerobic Threshold: the point at which the accumulation of Lactic Acid in the muscles (the stuff that makes your muscles burn) is greater than your body's ability to remove it. Clearly if you go too fast, Lactic Acid will build up too quickly, the muscles will hurt too much, and you slow down. Go too slow on the other hand, and you're just too slow! AnT is that rather painful (but hugely satisfying) speed that you can just about hold on to if you're determined enough to try. Over this sort of distance, you really do need to be determined.
The accurate way to work it out is to swim lots and measure your blood lactate. But as this involves taking blood samples at regular intervals and using expensive, high-tech equipment, that's probably best left to the big University programmes. A cheaper and easier alternative involves taking heart rate measurements and Phase 5 often experiment with our super accurate Treffene HRM.
For the purposes of this set though, we can use Maths to give us an adequate estimate. AnT is usually considered to be between 80-85% of all out effort. So take your 100m Freestyle PB and add 20% (for Jarvis: 61.4 * 1.2 = 73 or 1:13). Theoretically, that's more or less the fastest pace you should be able to maintain throughout this 2000m swim. Looking down the list of our Top 5 this morning you'll notice George hits it bang on; Jarvis still needs to focus his mind on the larger distances, but good improvement nonetheless; while Robert, Mark, and Alex are all approaching 85% (Alex actually on 86.5%). Work out your own efforts this morning, and see how you rate.
This method is never going to be entirely accurate: everyone's body is different and capable of being pushed to different levels; 100m PBs might be out of date; and of course there's the motivation factor to consider too. But it's close enough for our needs. 2000m swim times are always affected much more by courage and determination (mental strength) than by physical ability. At least now you can all see if you're in the right ball park, and set your personal targets accordingly.
|Estimated Anaerobic Threshold pace|
Meet the Swimmer: Rebecca Soni
4 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. We've been firmly in Europe for the last few introductions, so for this week, let's travel across the pond to Southern California and Coach Dr (or should that be Dr Coach) Dave Salo's post-grad squad.
Here's a recent Trans World Sport interview to tell you all about the Breaststroke star.
At the Beijing Olympics then she brought the house down by beating the Aussie favourite (Lethal Leisel Jones) and smashing her World Record along the way. Since then she's been ranked in the top 2 in the World at both 100m and 200m ever since, including #1 in both events for 2010 and so far this year.
The Australian was her main rival in both events at the Beijing Olympics (beating Soni on the 100m) but Leisel retired after the games. For London, Rebecca's biggest threat in the 200m is hard to call. Her best time of the year so far is 2:23.27, there are another 9 girls sitting 1sec behind her on 2:24, any one of them (or all of them) could step up and mount a challenge. Hovering menacingly though, the World Record now belongs to Canada's Annamay Pierse and she's currently World Ranked #2 for 2011! But all of the top 10 are currently 3 or 4 seconds behind the World Record set in shiny suits 2009.
Of course, if she swims the 200m like the 2009 World Championships, things might not quite go to plan for her. The BEST Centre's James Parrack provides the commentary.
For the 100m things get a little more interesting. We said Leisel Jones had retired, but like every retired Australian of the past decade, she's decided to make a come-back for London. With not enough time to train for the 200m, Leisel's throwing all her eggs in to the 100m and has already climbed back up to #2 in the World Rankings. They're both former World Record holders, and with current World Record holder Jessica Hardy back after a slap on the wrist for consuming a contaminated nutritional supplement, the 100m could see fireworks in the London pool.
As a bonus feature, here's Gold Medal Mel (Olympic Champion 200m Butterfly in Barcelona, 1992) interviewing Rebecca.