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News October 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

Halloween Horrors but Plenty of Sparkle

31 Oct: After a tough training camp in Tenerife, with a volume in the region of 65000+, we surely wouldn't expect our swimmers to compete in a meet the day after they came back would we? Too right! The inaugural City Of Bradford Halloween Meet saw a large Dartes contingent descend for fun and fast swimming and with last chance NER qualifying at stake, there was everything to swim for.

The first event got off to a great start for Dartes with Gill Clarke (Arm), Amber Hardy (Adw), Natasha Crow (SAS), and Shannon Dodson (Adw) cleaning up their age groups in the 200m Backstroke. This event also gained Backstroke master Chloe Hardy (Adw) a very unfortunate (and extremely uncharacteristic) DQ while team mate Georgia Wright (Arm) also came a cropper for a very early turn. Next time Georgia!

Normal service was then resumed for the boys in the 100m Butterfly with Alex Pollard (Arm), Joe Litchfield (Spa), and Max Litchfield (Spa) bringing home the Golds. Robbie Casson (Adw) then stepped up for his debut in the 200m Medley and was rewarded with a Silver medal. It does get easier Robbie; how about a nice 200m Butterfly next time?

Alex, Joe, and Max continued their good run by taking Gold in the 200m Medley with Mathew Jubb (Adw) making his 11 year old debut by winning the Bronze in the same event. More Golds followed for Natasha and Caitlin Dixon (Arm) in the 400m Freestyle, with Chloe also winning the Bronze.

The Saturday success continued in the afternoon as Mark Beech (Spa) and George Scatchard (Spa) joined Max and Joe in the 100m Backstroke. George pipped the competition by a mere 0.10. Elsewhere, a well deserved Gold for Tilly Arrand (SAS) in the 50m Freestyle was followed by a Bronze for Laura Brookes (Edl) and a Silver for Heidi Smith (Arm).

The 200m Breaststroke was a very close fought event, with Dartes boys claiming a 1-2 in 3 age groups. Alex set the boys off with a Silver in the 12 years age group (but it was close) which then led to the usual tussle between Joe and Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) in the 13 years. It was close, very close, but Joe just pipped Jarvis to the Gold on this occasion by 0.12. A silver for Jarvis but it didn't stop there! Up an age group to the 14 year olds, Oliver Richardson (Edl) and George pulled out thrilling performances for another 1-2 with the Gold going to Oliver and finally, Max and Richard Lee (Spa) gave their usual double act with Max taking the Gold and Richard the Silver.

Next up was the girls 200m Butterfly. A tough event at the best of times but this time there was maybe something to prove from one of our swimmers. If you remember our Yorkshires report, we mentioned the result of the 100m Butterfly where we had a Dartes 1-2-3-4. Well the girl who finished 4th that day, Lucy Clarke (Ros), must have had some real fire in her belly as she attacked the 200m variant. A superb swim from Lucy saw her take the Gold ahead of her team mates Laura, who took the silver, and Amber who took the bronze. A Dartes 1-2-3 - oh how we like competition. Well done girls!

Not to be outdone, Gill also took the Gold for the 9 year olds with Chloe Key (Min) earning a well deserved Silver in the 11 years age group and a spot in the new season's Animal Squad (keep your eyes open for the updated lists in the coming weeks). A sensational swim from Natasha saw her smash her PB to take the Gold for the 13 year olds with Chloe Hardy taking Silver, while Caitlin won for the 14 year olds and Kelly Smith (Adw) came home with the bronze for the 15 year olds.

Another Gold for Mark in the 50m Backstroke and then it was the turn of the girls again. The 200m Freestyle saw a clean sweep for the girls in the 9 year age group. Tilly following up her Gold in the 50m Freestyle by winning the 200m title as well. She was followed by Gill for the Silver and Taylor Hardy (Adw) in 3rd. Her bigger sister Amber won Gold in the 10 years age group, while Natasha annihilated the competition in the 13 years. There was also more gold for Caitlin in the 14 years with Bronzes going to Chloe and Shannon. The boys finished off a long and tiring Saturday with wins in the 100m Freestyle for Alex, Joe, and Max; Robert Kirk (Spa) won the silver.

Sunday saw even more tired swimmers out there but as ever, they stepped up and gave some fantastic performances. Mark made it a clean sweep in Backstroke events as he secured a Gold in the longer 200m event; Joe and Max also won their age groups, with Robert again taking the silver for the 12year olds. Natasha and Chloe battled it out in the 100m Butterfly with Natasha just edging Chloe out, while up an age group Shannon and Caitlin had a similar tussle; Shannon just getting the better of her friend and training partner.

Medals for Oliver, George and Max followed in the 100m Breaststroke and then it was the battle of the girls again, this time in the 200m Medley. A Silver for Tilly and Bronze for Gill in the 9 year olds; a Gold for Laura and Silver for Amber for the 10 year olds; a Gold for Natasha and Silver for Chloe for the 13 year olds; and gold for Shannon and Bronze for Heidi in the 14 year olds. More medals followed in the 50m Breaststroke with Taylor, Tilly, Laura, Holly Brookes (Edl) and a Gold for Jessica Gillatt (SAS).

The last event of Sunday morning saw some tired arms contesting the boys 400m Freestyle. A Bronze for bourbon boy Oswald Hood (Adw), was followed by a Gold for Robert and a Silver for Mark. Joe secured another Gold for the 13 year olds with Jarvis not far behind him in silver and another medal went to Max in the 15 years old age group.

The last painful session again brought medals galore with Amber and Laura taking Silver and Bronze respectively in the 100m Backstroke. Natasha and Chloe also took Silver and Bronze for the 13 year olds, with Shannon adding the Gold for the 14 year olds to her treasure trove. The splash and dash of the 50m Freestyle saw George take the Silver and Richard take the Gold. The 200m Breaststroke saw Gill take the Silver while up an age group, the dynamic duo of Amber and Laura were at it again: this time Amber taking the spoils but Laura happy to settle for the Silver. Up another age group or two and Holly edged out Chloe to take the Silver and Jessica showed her Breaststroke prowess to take another Gold in a closely fought competition. Consolation for Heidi Smith who took the Bronze.

A great swim from Kim Smith (Adw) saw her take the Silver in the same event. So after all that we've got some very tired swimmers out there and what is scheduled for the last session? The 200m fly!

Now there are a lot of Dartes swimmers competing in this one.
Can they hold out?
Of course they can!
A super heat sees [Name Removed] (Adw), Oswald and Mark go head to head and results in a Silver for Ryan and a Gold for Os! Mark is just pushed out to 4th for the 12 year olds but super swims from Alex and Robert see them take Gold and Silver. Up an age group, Joe secures another Gold with a Silver for Max and a Bronze for Oliver.

The end is in sight! There are only a couple of events left, can our swimmers hang on to the bitter end? A Silver for Gill in the 50m Backstroke is followed by another 1-2 for Alex and Robert in the 200m Freestyle. Yet another Gold for Joe in the same event and a Silver for Max. The last event for the girls, the 100m Freestyle sees another Gold for Amber and Natasha and well fought Silvers for Chloe and Shannon, with Caitlin gaining a Bronze.

At last, time for our weary swimmers to go home. Even for those who had not had a week long camp in Tenerife, it was a long weekend. There were some superb performances, and some horror stories, and plenty of NER times gained which was the main objective. Their reward? A break from morning training but only as a one off - back to the hard work come Tuesday!

Of course there was something else we haven't mentioned too: the 6x25m Freestyle team! Over in lane 1, 5 of Dartes finest contested the fun team event, but the anchor leg was handed to a, err, non-swimmer? Could Coach Wallace save the day and bring the team home? Find out below:

Going Away Present

18 Oct: With Coach Dave taking a couple from Phase 4 on camp with Phase 5 this week, it felt only right to treat the rest of the squad to an extra special going away present in the form of the 2000m test. They thrive on such challenges.

New Squad Record for Captain Kirk A very close second for Georgia, after leading the whole way On the whole there were lots of big time drops to be happy about (we'll try and indicate those on to the table for next time). All of the top 5 dropping around 1min or more from last month's attempt, allowing Robert Kirk (Spa) to set the new squad record from position 5. Leading the way throughout, but tying up a little towards the end, was Georgia Wright (Arm), and Josh Reasbeck (Edl) chasing them both.

Down the bottom end of the table, the new guys in to the squad are also gaining the confidence to attack the swim harder. It never takes long for big time drops to start, so keep working hard and before you know it you'll be climbing up the table.

But pay attention, we'll have new rules for next time:
- over taking only from shallow end to deep end (odd lengths)
- no over taking in the first/last 5m of each length
That should make things a little more orderly and provide safer opportunities for over taking.

Interesting to note also, that from the top 8 positions, 6 of Doncaster's clubs are represented. A very even spread of talent among the clubs represented in Phase 4 these days, which is always nice to see.

Pos Name Date 810m 1530m 2010m
1 Robert Kirk 18 Oct 2011 11:12 21:13 27:45
2 Georgia Wright 18 Oct 2011 11:08 21:10 27:50
3 Joshua Reasbeck 18 Oct 2011 11:45 22:15 28:20
4 Kathryn Shepheard 18 Oct 2011 11:36 22:25 29:39
5 Rebecca Heywood 18 Oct 2011 11:51 22:37 29:45
6 Leanne Davies 18 Oct 2011 12:03 22:43 29:56
7 Amber Hardy 18 Oct 2011 12:04 22:54 30:24
8 Caitlin Feirn 18 Oct 2011 12:29 23:35 30:56
9 Oswald Hood 18 Oct 2011 12:19 23:30 31:00
10 Laura Brookes 18 Oct 2011 12:05 23:26 31:06
11 Katie Pendlebury 18 Oct 2011 12:06 24:09 31:37
12 Lauren Jarvis 18 Oct 2011 12:31 24:24 32:34
13 Joseph Gatus 18 Oct 2011 12:57 24:49 32:45
14 Mathew Jubb 18 Oct 2011 13:20 24:27 32:50
15 Courtney Massey 18 Oct 2011 13:24 25:43 33:39
16 Thananya Kaewsanthia 18 Oct 2011 13:31 25:56 33:50
17 Katy Burton 18 Oct 2011 13:29 26:00 34:13
18 Grace Litchfield 18 Oct 2011 14:08 26:34 34:42
19 Chantelle Waugh 18 Oct 2011 12:44 26:16 34:45
20 Lucy Clarke 18 Oct 2011 13:46 26:25 35:05
21 Lauren Heywood 18 Oct 2011 14:48 27:45 36:26
22 Chloe Key 18 Oct 2011 14:35 27:33 36:53

School Swimming Season

16 Oct: It's usually held in November but this year, the English Schools Swimming Association's Secondary Relay Championships was held on Friday, and as usual, a large contingent of Dartes swimmers (and former Dartes swimmers) from all of our squads feature in the starting line-ups for our local schools.

The Hall Cross junior girls team consisted of Caitlin Feirn (Ros), Katie Pendlebury (Ros), Kathryn Shepheard (Adw), Olivia Drury (Don), and Lauren Walker (Adw). Ben Carville (Ros) also showed for the junior boys. The boys intermediate team looked strong with a pair of Armthorpe boys and a pair of Adwick boys: Torin Wilson (Arm), Dale Marshbank (Arm), Stuart Wardle (Adw) and Aaron Walker (Adw) making up the foursome. In the senior section for the girls, Dartes stalwart Emma Humphreys (Ros) heads up another strong team, with all members pulled from Doncaster clubs.

The Hungerhill team was dominated by Armthorpe club mates Georgia Wright (Arm), Bethany Reddy (Arm), and Morgan McAnulty (Arm). While Hill House have a strong pool of swimmers to choose from including Jessica Gillatt (SAS) and the Mets record breaker Millie Colbear (Arm).

You think competition is fierce between clubs at the Mets?
Wait till the rivalry kicks in between the schools!

Youngstars Dominate at Winter Yorkshires

10 Oct: So here it is. The first big meet of the season, the Yorkshire Short Course Championships. We've barely been back in training a month and already there are lots at stake: County titles, Regional Qualifying Times and dare we even say it, a first stab at National Qualifying Times via the short course route? Surely that would be too much to ask at the first attempt? More on that later!

For some of our swimmers, this was their first taste of really big competition. Let's face it, your first Yorkshre Championships are a bit special aren't they? You're just 9, you've done the hard work and qualified. You've probably done a couple of club galas against local opposition but now is your big chance to see how you stand against the best in Yorkshire.

How did our youngstars stand against the biggest and the best in the county?
Extremely well!
Fresh from her record breaking turn at the Mets last week, Millie Colbear (Arm) stepped up and continued her seemingly unstoppable success by winning a Bronze in the 50m Freestyle, Gold in the 50m Backstroke and also scored two 4th places and a 7th. Not bad for a first outing at the Yorkshires.

Dartes regular Gill Clarke (Arm) also made the top 10 in the county in the 200m medley and the Backstroke. The veteran of the 9 year old girls Tilly Arrand (SAS) also made the top 10 in 50m Freestyle and 50m Backstroke.

The 9 year old boys saw another debutante in Robbie Casson (Adw) who put in some fine performances, winning a few heats, and earning himself a finalist hat for his superb Backstroke where he finished 7th. Fellow 9 year olds Harvey Williamson (Arm) and Samuel Tinsley (Min) also put in strong swims, with Harvey being rewarded with a Bronze in the 50m Freestyle and a 6th placing in the 100m Medley. Sam came in just behind Robbie for 8th place in the 50m Backstroke. A brilliant start for our youngest swimmers.

So with the debutantes out of the way it was time for the old pros to start their county campaigns. It feels strange saying that our 10 year olds are veterans of the Yorkshires but for some of them, this was their 4th outing on the county stage (taking Spring Championships and previous Winter Competitions in to account) and again, this is an age group that really piles the pressure on the other teams. For Dartes, we have the dynamic duo of Amber Hardy (Adw) and Laura Brookes (Edl). Both girls took home silverware this time last year. Now they've stepped up to the bigger 100m distance, could they equal the success they had before?

Just a bit!

A top 10 finish in their weaker 100m Breaststroke for both girls led to a thrilling show down between the two with barely a look-in from any other swimmer with the misfortune of being pitted against them. A 1-2 in the 100m Backstroke with Amber getting the Gold by a mere 7/10ths. A 1-2 in the 200m IM but this time Laura taking the spoils with more than a second to spare. Then another thriller in the Butterfly with yet another 1-2; Laura again taking the Gold by more than 6 seconds over her friend, training partner, and friendly rival. Could they keep this up for the last race? the 100m Freestyle?

Alas, Eleanor Jones from City of Leeds spoiled the party somewhat by taking the Gold, but a 2-3 with Laura just edging out Amber by a tiny 0.03sec margin concluded a thrilling weekend and saw the girls take 3 Yorkshire titles out of the 5 on offer. Not bad at all.

Now after the Spring Yorkshires, we reported on Chantelle Waugh (Arm) and her unfortunate habit of getting DQd in big events. Could she finally get through a weekend of Yorkshires without the dreaded thumbs down from the watchers in white?

A wobble at the start cost her a place in the 100m Breaststroke but she more than made up for it with a creditable 7th place finish in the 200m IM and a Bronze behind Laura and Amber in the 100m Butterfly.
Much better Chantelle!
Keep it up.
Speaking of the 100m Butterfly, we haven't really done it justice.

Yes it was Gold and Silver to Laura and Amber, and now we've just added Bronze for Chantelle too - in the same age group, in the same race. Well guess what, it doesn't end there! it was actually a 1, 2, 3, 4 for the Dartes girls, with Lucy Clarke (Ros) locking out the other teams. A great result and one which bodes well for the future.

Oh if only there was a 4x100m Butterfly team.

Not letting the 10 year old girls have all the glory was 10 year old boy Mathew Jubb (Adw). He put in some superb perfomances to take Silver in the 50m Butterfly, Gold in the 50m Freestyle, Silver in the 100m Medley, 7th in Breaststroke and 8th in Backstroke. Another Yorkshire Champion for Dartes and we've still not got to the real veterans yet!

The old timers were there and still putting out strong performances despite having done this for years and years and years. Joe Litchfield (Spa) taking the Gold in the 100m Backstroke in his usual fine style, but all the time being chased down by last year's break-out boy George Scatchard (Spa) who took the Bronze.

An age group down saw the rapidly improving Alex Pollard (Arm) take the Silver with multiple Yorkshire and North East Long Course champion Mark Beech (Spa) finishing 4th. Don't panic, Mark's time is the Spring-Summer championships, he actually improved on last year's 7th place at Winters.

Alex on the other hand, went from strength to strength with a Silver in the 100m Butterfly. A huge improvement for him, this time last year he touched 9th and 11th in those two events! Well done Alex.

More success for the boys came with Joseph Gatus (Spa) winning the Bronze in the 100m Backstroke, and Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) taking Bronze in the 100m Freestyle and a stunning Gold in the 100m Breaststroke!

Another veteran who had a superb start to the season was Natasha Crow (SAS). PB after PB for Natasha saw her gain a top 10 place in 4 of her events against some very strong competion; a glut of NER times was her well deserved reward.

Our true veterans at the tender age of 14 ,15 and 16 were in a really competitive open age group. They were swimming against 18 year olds, 19 year olds, and the boys even found themselves up against the odd Olympian! Always going to be a struggle but some fine performances saw a number of top 10 placings with Shannon Dodson (Adw) coming 4th in the 100m Backstroke and joining quite a large group of athletes dipping beneath the magical minute mark for the first time in the 100m Freestyle, it earned her 7th place.

A tough age group indeed.

Max Litchfield (Spa) came 7th in the 200m IM, 8th in 100m Butterfly, 6th in the 100m Freestyle and 9th in the 100m Breaststroke. He still managed to get in the medals for the Silver in his signature 100m Backstroke. 14 year old Oliver Richardson (Edl). had it a bit easier and came 9th in 100m Backstroke, 4th in the 100m Butterfly 8th in the 100m Freestyle, 6th in the 200m IM and 8th in the 100m Breaststroke.

So the first big meet of the season out of the way. We've had lots of fast swimming from all our Yorkshire qualifiers, tons of PBs, NER times and several Yorkshire champions.
But what else was it that was mentioned in the opening paragraph?
At the first real meet of the season?
Surely not.

Well try telling that to Max, Jarvis, and Shannon.

All three recorded qualifying short course times for the Nationals next June/July. A superb achievement at what is effectively the first time of asking. Just in case you were wondering, Max secured his NQTs for the 100m Freestyle and the 200m Medley; and Shannon repeated her NQT swim that she achieved at the METS last week in the 100m Backstroke. Of course, unlike the Mets which wasn't licensed at this level, this one actually counts!

But swim of the meet must go to Jarvis. To say we weren't expecting it is a little bit of an understatement (although not entirely correct either after the night before). He's never been considered as a Breaststroker (lesson for all you young swimmers trying to pidgeon hole yourselves on a specific stroke). Up until Yorkshires last year he'd never really done anything on the stroke, but a couple of Bronze medals (100m and 200m) must have piqued his confidence, because his Saturday evening Arena league performance quite frankly shocked us!

After swimming 1:12 in war paint (lots and lots of war paint) the night before, the cogs in his brain were clearly computing possible outcomes before the big race. Somewhere poolside, someone said something like: "This could well be very special!".
Special it was.
Gold and a stunning early NQT, his first ever in Breaststroke!

So 3 members of the National Squad 2012 already. It's a welcome start, especially as the goal posts have changed yet again. 11 year olds must now qualify on 12 year old times - reducing yet again our chances of increasing the size of our National Squad.

I wonder who will join them, or when this dynamic trio can add any more NQTs to their repertoire?
Watch this space.

Arena League Round 1

9 Oct: An 8am warm up on Saturday and a little under 10 hours later Winter Yorkshires was half way through and another warm up was about to start. It was time for the Arena League to begin, so out came the warpaint and renewed enthusiasm. With the first event announced and swimmers climbing up on blocks suddenly the atmosphere turned electric. Technical issues caused a delay, but the supporters simply took that as an excuse to go wild. When the swimming did eventually start, it was typically Arena League loud! Louder even than the boxing match elsewhere in the Ponds Forge complex perhaps.

This year we welcome Borough of Kirklees back to National League action to make a 7 team Yorkshire contest alongside the stalwarts from last year. Up North, more big name teams are joining in for 2012 so our newly re-formed North East League has been split in two for the qualifying rounds, and the top 4 teams from both parts will battle it out in the Regional Final.

After a full day of racing for many it was a very tired band of swimmers and supporters who donned the war paint for round 1 of the Arena league.
Let battle commence!

Our swimmers are made of tough stuff with some awe inspiring performances and nail biting finishes. With 50 events in total here are the highlights.

War Paint for the experienced Katie The girls mean business We got off to a flying start in the 1st event, Ladies Open IM with a victory following a surprise DQ for the City of Sheffield swimmer who turned on to her front before the flags on the Backstroke leg before returning to her back.

Whether she thought the 15m rope was the Backstroke flags or something else, we shall never know. Her unfortunate loss was our ladies gain who all swam well including a commanding performance from Shannon Dodson (Adw) on Backstroke swimming up an age group. The men's open IM was no less dramatic with Max Litchfield (Spa) finishing a nail tip ahead of his City of Sheffield rivals.

The close battle with our City of Sheffield counterparts continued in the Boys 13 and under Medley. Joe Litchfield (Spa), Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) and Harry Butterworth (Adw) set up the lead and left it to Alex Pollard (Arm) to hold off the advancing COS swimmer.
Could he do it?
We mentioned last season just how important finishes are in this type of meet, especially after a full day of racing when times aren't necessarily going to be earth shattering.
So could he hold off the chasing pack?
You bet he could, by a nail biting 0.05s.

Down an age group and a commanding performance from Joseph Gatus (Spa) in the Boys 11 years Backstroke to once again secure maximum points. As did the on-form Laura Brookes (Edl) to follow up her Yorkshire Gold with an Arena League win.

Not to be outdone by team mate Oswald Hood (Adw) making victory look easy in the 11 years 50m Breaststroke with a solid 40.86.

The final callout from an evening of fast swimming goes to Jarvis for providing 3 of the most exciting swims of the night. He swam a fabulous 100m breast in 1.12.64, a massive PB which gained him 2nd place and wowed the crowd. As he said later in the week: "Dave, I've learnt how to do Breaststroke" - we noticed! The next day so did the rest of Yorkshire as he took Breaststroke Gold, relegating Backstroke to his new weak stroke, and qualifying for Nationals at the first opportunity in a completely new discipline!

Helping out poolside all day: Minsthorpe's Danielle Angry Amber and Terrifying Tyler He backed this up with a stunning 100m Freestyle in 58.48s taking 1st.
"Sounds tiring", I hear you say.
Apparently not. Jarvis still had the energy to take over in 5th position as swimmer number 3 in the 13 years Freestyle Team and claw his team back to a strong 2nd position. Not without an assist from superb underwater Fly kick. Anchoring that team was another to demonstrate the importance of strong underwater work. Joe, couldn't quite bring his team up to the lead, but 15m underwater turns gave him a big lead over 3rd place and left him running out of pool before touching as runner-up. Great swims from all 4 boys nonetheless.

At the end of the day then, and it was a long day (8am warm up for Yorkshires, right through to a 9pm finish for the Arena League), we set ourselves up for another strong campaign. With the North East league split in to North and South divisions this year, we need to finish top 4 after round 2 to claim our place in the regional final.

Pos Team Points
1 City of Leeds A 294
2 City of Sheffield A 291
3 Donc Dartes 205
4 City of Leeds B 184
5 Bo Kirklees 158
6 City of Sheffield B 148
7 Harrogate & District 117

There are some very strong and familiar teams joining us from further North this year. Likely to travel down in force for the regional final is City of Sunderland, having won the first round quite comfortably. The original list of participants also included powerhouse Newburn. They don't appear on the results from round 1 though, so they're unlikely to grace the regional final.

Nevertheless, if as expected, Leeds, Sheffield, and Sunderland are all in attendance, it should make for an electrifying show down which we definitely want to be a part of.