News April 2012
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
Rampaging Robbie at Stocksbridge Sprints
27 Apr: Last weekend while the Minster Meet was in full swing, a small group of swimmers donned the hats of their feeder club (Adwick) and made the short journey to Stocksbridge to compete in the annual spring sprints. Star of the show was 9 year old Robbie Casson (Adw), who not only came home with a clean sweep of Gold medals, he also managed to break 3 meet records in the process.
The previous records in the 50m Backstroke, 50m Butterfly and 50m Freestyle all tumbled as Robbie showed everyone why he'll be making the jump to Phase 4 this coming week.
Surely there is much more to come yet.
More success came from the all conquering Hardy sisters. Elder sister Chloe Hardy (Adw) showed a return to form with Gold in the 50m Backstroke, a pair of Silvers in the 50m Freestyle and 50m Breaststroke and a Bronze in the 50m Butterfly. Middle sister Amber Hardy (Adw) put in a fine performance with a Silver in the 50m Backstroke, a Bronze in the 50m Butterfly and another Bronze in the 50m Free. Amber also made the final for the 50m Breaststroke.
Little sister Taylor Hardy (Adw) also showed her potential, making the final of the 50m Butterfly and the 50m Breaststroke. She's another one joining Phase 4 next week and will surely benefit from a few early mornings in the dim and distant future!
Well done to all who competed at both meets last weekend.
End of an Era: Farewell Coach Kevin
27 Apr: He's been nearly 4 years in charge of JDS, and many years before that when he first dived in to a pool to train with Dartes, but last night saw the final session for Assistant Coach Kevin Nicholas as lead coach of our Junior Development Squad.
During those 4 years where he first created the JDS programme and led it up until today, he's brought through some excellent young athletes. The squad's first major Championship medal was way back in 2009, just a few months after the squad was created. That first Bronze medal by Ben Long (Arm) was quickly followed up the very next weekend by a young man starting out on a Gold medal streak that continues to this day. Mark Beech (Spa) won his first 200m Backstroke Gold for the coach who had brought him all the way through club swimming and in to Dartes.
There were plenty more moments to savour of course, and we're sure he'll remember them all. He leaves Dartes and his Junior Development Squads in a much stronger position than when he arrived, having contributed to the club's rise from being a mid-table team at Yorkshire Championships to our consistent placing in the top 4 in recent years.
On behalf of everyone at Dartes, and all those who've passed through JDS, we'd like to wish Coach Kevin all the best in his future projects.
As with announcements that you may have seen from many big college teams in the states in the past few months, the departure of one coach opens up opportunities for new ones to make their mark on the sport. Next week we will welcome another of Doncaster's young, up and coming coaches, in to the Dartes fold. New Assistant Coach Danny Winn will be taking over the reigns of JDS from Tuesday.
Danny was a swimmer under our other Assistant Coach, when Coach Dave was Head Coach at Edlington. Since then he's spent time as Assistant Head Coach at that same club where he caught the eye of Coach Wallace as a superb technique coach with younger swimmers. He's a colourful character, full of enthusiasm, and eager to develop his coaching skills further. We're looking forward to see what the next era for JDS will produce. Exciting times are afoot ...
Rob's stuck, Rebecca gets closer
24 Apr: Try as he might, poor Robert Kirk (Spa) just can't kick any faster. For the last 3 attempts he's either kicked an average of 7:25 or 7:26. Tuesday night's latest attempt saw him push hard on the first 2 rounds, matching his fastest ever time of 7:19, but still, despite gritted teeth and dogged determination he couldn't hold the pace for the last two 400s and his average, once again, worked out to an agonising 7:26!
Right behind him though, the times were dropping massively. The top 6 all squeezed under 8min which is the target everyone should be aiming for. It's not easy to make big drops in the top half of the table (as Rob knows only too well), but they all managed it this time round. Rebecca Heywood (Min) getting closest to the limits set by Captain Kirk, just 7sec behind now. Right behind her though Lily Metcalfe (Spa) is showing a very similar progression, so maybe next time she too will make the jump towards 7:30.
|Pos||Name||Date||Rep 1||Rep 2||Rep 3||Rep 4||Avg||All Time|
|1||Robert Kirk||24 Apr 2012||7:20||7:19||7:32||7:34||7:26||2 (1)|
|2||Rebecca Heywood||24 Apr 2012||7:31||7:28||7:36||7:39||7:33||3 (3)|
|3||Lily Metcalfe||24 Apr 2012||7:40||7:31||7:46||7:47||7:41||4 (4)|
|4||Joshua Reasbeck||24 Apr 2012||7:40||7:46||7:49||7:53||7:47||5 (5)|
|5||Katie Pendlebury||24 Apr 2012||7:46||7:44||7:56||7:45||7:47||6 (6)|
|6||Lucy Clarke||24 Apr 2012||7:45||7:55||8:04||8:12||7:59||8 (8)|
|7||Grace Litchfield||24 Apr 2012||8:05||7:54||8:21||8:27||8:11||11 (12)|
|8||Courtney Massey||24 Apr 2012||8:09||8:21||8:20||8:17||8:16||14 (14)|
|9||Georgia Whetton||24 Apr 2012||7:59||8:15||8:30||8:28||8:18||15 (15)|
|10||Oswald Hood||24 Apr 2012||8:26||8:18||8:32||8:06||8:20||16 (16)|
|11||Laura Brookes||24 Apr 2012||8:20||8:15||8:21||8:40||8:24||17 (11)|
|12||Amber Hardy||24 Apr 2012||8:21||8:24||8:19||8:36||8:25||18 (17)|
|13||Eleanor Vodden||24 Apr 2012||8:33||8:22||8:50||8:28||8:33||19 (19)|
|14||Chantelle Waugh||24 Apr 2012||8:40||8:40||8:44||8:16||8:35||20 (20)|
|15||Gillian Clarke||24 Apr 2012||8:48||8:48||8:39||8:26||8:40||23 (22)|
|16||Lauren Jarvis||24 Apr 2012||8:32||8:27||8:53||9:10||8:45||23 (23)|
|17||Mathew Jubb||24 Apr 2012||8:46||8:38||9:03||8:43||8:47||24 (24)|
|18||Chloe Key||24 Apr 2012||8:43||8:56||8:51||9:24||8:58||26 (21)|
|19||Lauren Heywood||24 Apr 2012||8:51||8:58||9:07||9:10||9:01||26 (26)|
|20||Molly Butterworth||24 Apr 2012||8:42||9:05||9:56||9:04||9:11||29 (27)|
|21||Rebecca Christmas||24 Apr 2012||9:18||9:31||9:18||9:08||9:18||30 (30)|
|22||Harry Butterworth||24 Apr 2012||9:32||10:13||10:06||10:07||9:59||(25)|
|23||Iona Holdsworth||24 Apr 2012||10:05||9:58||10:04||10:22||10:07||(31)|
Coach Dave's Shark Eye
21 Apr: Earlier in the week Armthorpe's Head Coach Dave Holmes popped over to Adwick with his underwater camera to help Dartes Head Coach Andrew Wallace analyse turns. This morning he was back for more.
The SharkEYE device is a little easier to use than last time we had access to one around 5 years ago. Back then we were running up and down the pool at Hall Cross with a long cable trailing in our wake back to a laptop. The person with the camera pole couldn't see the picture being filmed, so the person watching on the laptop had to shout FASTER, SLOWER to make sure the swimmer stayed in the picture. It was good fun. Dave's newer version is ever so boring. It saves to an SD card so no more tripping over cables, and has a screen of its own on the pole, so no more losing swimmers from view.
The basic principle is the same though. An underwater camera stuck to the end of a pole to dunk it underwater to help analyse what goes on beneath the surface. Hopefully we'll have him coming down more often, his experience and enthusiasm for the sport can only help Doncaster's finest develop. Which is exactly what Dartes is about: all of Doncaster's clubs working together to provide the very best performance programme we can put together.
For those of you who don't know much about Dave, we had him write an article about his swimming days a few years ago.
Loud and Proud at Derby
15 Apr: Yet again our athletes were streets ahead at City of Derby's double day event. It was the turn of our younger swimmers to show off their skills this time (with a few from Phase 5 thrown in for good measure!) They did not disappoint, it was a very rewarding weekend.
Not only did we have 5 of our swimmers awarded top boy/girl in their age group, nor was it good enough to just about clear poor Derby out of all the medals at their own meet. No, no, we were going for the top club award as well and it's fair to say with a mahoooooooosive 262 point lead over City of Derby we stole the show (883 points, to 621). It was one of those meets where we could be Loud and Proud and not worry about getting told off!
For those hard core swimmers who endured the double day event and entered everything, their hard work and their parent's fantastic support paid off in dividends. Our first female Dartes machine who deserves a huge mention is Katie Pendlebury (Ros). She is on fire at the moment; she just keeps on going and going, and nailed just about every race. With a running total of 11 events, plus 4 finals, she earned herself: 8 Golds, 1 Silver, and 1 Bronze. Obviously this earned Katie a very well deserved top girl award.
A similar story for Georgia Stead (Adw). For her top girl award she also swam 11 events, and reached 3 finals. Off that she won 6 Golds, 4 Silvers and 1 Bronze. You made your mum very proud Georgia we saw the tears of joy! Well done!
Our other female Dartes machine was the one and only Laura Brookes (Edl). She managed to contest a similarly massive 10 events. Luckily for Miss Noisy there were no additional finals for her age group, everything was Heat Declared Winner. She still showed everyone how to win though. A huge amount of Gold medals for her, 8 in fact, 1 Silver and a Bronze to boot. This very impressive weekend haul also won her top girl in her age group.
To even things up a little we also had some male Dartes athletes demonstrate they can swim like mighty machines too.
First up for a mention is
George Scatchard (Spa)
or "Scatch" as he is known to his squad mates.
An impressive 9 events, plus 3 finals: 8 Golds and a Bronze.
A well deserved top boy award to boot.
Last but not least is the boy who was named Phase 5 "one to watch" at last year's presentation evening. Alex Pollard (Arm) seems determined to prove his coach's prediction correct, and this weekend's performance was no aberration. Having sat next to his dad and annoyed him a great deal of the Sunday (sorry Neil) it's fair to say we were very proud of Alex and the performances he put in. His hard work got him a very much deserved top boy award. His scores on the doors included 8 events, 3 finals, 7 Golds and a Silver.
When we look down the list of results our coaches must agree we did exceptionally well. In an average meet we normally have around 50% of our swims hit PBs, at Derby a whopping 71% of our swims were better than previous attempts. Thats an awesome achievement for you all to be incredibly proud of our athletes and recognise that our coaches really do a cracking job, and Dartes really does work well. Congratulations to all of you.
Just a point about PBs highlighted by one of our coaches after Derby. Time after time, swimmers and parents (more often parents it has to be said) go home from meets almost suicidal if PBs haven't been achieved across the board. Bare in mind what we just said about an average meet generally setting around 50% of PBs across the entire squad, and this exceptional meet setting what is probably a record high of 71% PBs. That means any swimmer coming home from any meet with more than half of their swims setting PBs has done well and needs to feel very positive about their performance. Parents should do too!
There were far too many outstanding achievements to mention every single swim and every single medal this weekend, but an additional mention must go to Oliver Vodden (Adw), Gillian Clarke (Arm), Mark Beech (Spa), and Lauren Jarvis (SAS). You all did great, won some awesome medals, and all four of you missed out by just a single place for the top girl/boy award in your age groups. So close for you all which shows how hard you all worked.
Off the back of that there are still 22 swimmers that have not had a mention who came home with medals and had some great swims. It's nothing personal, we've just run out of room. You all did great though and helped win Top Club, so well done to everyone.
Coach Wallace on England Talent Camp Duty
12 Apr: April was time for another England Talent Camp and Head Coach Wallace was again named on the coaching staff up in Sunderland. The main emphasis for swimmers was on maintaining levels of hydration and the importance of performing pre-pool land exercise and post-session stretching. The advice was that swimmers participating in a 2hour swim session should drink about two litres in order to replace what they have lost during the session through sweat. Most people don't realise how much fluid they lose during a session, especially if the pool temperature is slightly higher than normal.
Dehydration can lead to major dips in performance and can make you more prone to illnesses. Pre-pool and post-session stretching is important to ensure you are ready and able to perform well in the session and also recover the muscles in time for the next session. This becomes more important as swimmers get older and start to attend 2 swim sessions and a land session each day. Stretching can help to increase and improve coordination, flexibility and range of movement, enabling swimmers to produce a higher standard of technique and also reduce the chance of injury. It is important that as a group our swimmers understand the importance of pre-and post-session prepartion and perform it without having to be told - it is for your benefit.
Nick Chad from the English Institute of Sport was again the strength and conditioning coach on the camp. He stressed the importance of swimmers being generally athletic and able to produce expolsive and controlled movements on land and in the pool. The majority of the land work done during the camp has already been included in the land work we do at Dartes, and the quality is improving each week.
In the pool we did: 1 race pace session, 1 heart rate based session, 1 demanding kick set, and 2 endurance recovery sessions. The race pace session was filmed to enable the swimmers to take something back to their home programme coach for analysis. Hopefully this will enable them to pick up on some areas for improvement, in a similar way to the Dartes Phase 5 session last Saturday morning when Dave Holmes was kind enough to come along with his Shark Eye and film some of the IM turns for us during our intense set.
The thing that is always a big benefit on these camps is the opportunity to listen to the Strength and Conditioning coach, the nutrition expert, physio and other coaching staff and ask questions. This is an important learning experience and enables me to bring the good bits back to Dartes to use to improve what we offer our athletes. These responsibilities also need to be understood by any of the swimmers selected to take part in the England Talent Programme too. Its not about what you do on camp, but what you learn from it, and how you use that information to move your swimming career forwards. The camps are there to provide you with knowledge, whether that knowledge is put to use is up to you.
Here are the rest of the coaching staff for camp number 3, so you can see the quality and experience involved:
ASA England Talent delivery officer: Dave Evitts
Head Coach: Mike Roberts (City of Liverpool)
Group Coach: Danny Thompson (City of Sunderland)
Group Coach: Lucas Connelly (Stockport Metro)
Group Coach: Darren Ashley (Warrington)
Group Coach: Andy Wallace (DARTES)
Underwater Filming: Liam Owens (City of Liverpool)
S&C: Nick Chad (EIS)
Physio: Leanne Tipple
Team Manger: Lynda Garland
On a related theme, we thought we'd share an interview with one of the most highly rated Stength and Conditioning coaches in World swimming. Nick Folker is S&C coach at Cal Berkeley, currently top US college team. Interview courtesy of Swimming World Magazine.
Get out FAST and hold on!
11 Apr: Probably for the first time ever, Tuesday night saw a full-house contest the Easter test-set. The whole of Phase 4 arrived to see what the Easter Bunny would bring them, the wise money was on the 2000m!
Full-house it may have been, but technical issues resulted in 1 lane missing out on times despite some fine swimming by Matthew Jubb (Adw) leading the lane home. Not to worry, it just means you get bigger time drops next time!
It's easy to be intimidated by these long swims. On the first attempt you expect everyone to be setting off at a steady pace - they won't be! The pressure is on to set fast times, and to do that means getting out like a speed boat in the first few lengths. Chantelle for instance matched her fastest 800m rep at the first checkpoint, and was determined to hold the pace.
Doing likewise at the front of the fast lane Robert Kirk (Spa) was doing the exact same thing, matching his fastest ever 800m test rep. He earned himself a 30sec improvement. For Josh Reasbeck (Edl) the 2nd fastest 800m split he's ever done on these sets for a 20sec overall improvement.
The message to take on board then, be confident and aggressive at the start. This is where you learn how hard you can drive through those big events in competition, so take advantage of the opportunity and push yourself to your limit! Apparently Grace Litchfield (Min) took that lesson to heart, she smashed her fastest 800m split by about 30secs to come home 1min 53sec faster than before.
|1||Robert Kirk||10 Apr 2012||10:50||20:43||27:15|
|2||Joshua Reasbeck||10 Apr 2012||11:06||21:08||28:00|
|3||Katie Pendlebury||10 Apr 2012||11:26||22:01||29:05|
|4||Rebecca Heywood||10 Apr 2012||11:34||22:05||29:07|
|5||Laura Brookes||10 Apr 2012||11:47||22:55||30:07|
|6||Amber Hardy||10 Apr 2012||12:10||23:18||30:41|
|7||Chantelle Waugh||10 Apr 2012||12:09||23:47||31:20|
|8||Grace Litchfield||10 Apr 2012||12:12||23:48||31:23|
|9||Lily Metcalfe||10 Apr 2012||12:40||24:24||31:54|
|10||Oswald Hood||10 Apr 2012||12:55||24:32||31:59|
|11||Harry Butterworth||10 Apr 2012||12:34||24:08||32:07|
|12||Georgia Whetton||10 Apr 2012||12:32||24:12||32:08|
|13||Thomas Wilson||10 Apr 2012||12:53||24:39||32:30|
|14||Gillian Clarke||10 Apr 2012||13:22||25:26||33:52|
|15||Iona Holdsworth||10 Apr 2012||13:29||25:38||34:01|
|16||Chloe Key||10 Apr 2012||13:13||25:38||34:33|
Easter Raffle Winners
9 Apr: Saturday morning the coaches were presented with another poolside challenge - draw the Easter raffle winners!
The raffle proved to be a phenomenal success. Thanks to the generosity of all those donating prizes, and everyone's greedy children wanting more chocolate, we raised £200! So for those who haven't already heard, here are the lucky 5 winners as selected by Coach Andrew and Coach Dave at around 7am Saturday morning. If you haven't already done so, collect your prizes before someone eats them!
NQTs Everywhere at Premier Meet
1 Apr: Twelve NQTs at one meet now that's some achievement for Doncaster Dartes swimmers.
Session 1 saw the first NQT of the meet in the 1500m Freestyle with Max Litchfield (Spa) finishing in 1st position in the 17/over age group. He gained his 11th NQT of the season (so far). Before that though, in the 13 year olds version, there was an emergency for Alex Pollard (Arm) whilst waiting at the blocks for his heat. The draw string in his new LZRs snapped, oh no! Alex had to run and change before his heat started. He just got back to the blocks with seconds to spare. He finished in 5th position with a time of 18:09.97, just outside his PB.
In the boys 100m Backstroke heats we saw Alex return and earn his first ever NQT. George Scatchard (Spa) narrowly missing his by just 0.19 secs. Consolation for him was qualifying for the 14/under final alongside Joe Litchfield (Spa). Joe finished 7th and George 8th, again just outside his NQT.
Come on George we are all behind you for the 200m Backstroke on Sunday. You'll remember he missed out at last chance NERs last season by just 0.1!
First NQT of the meet for Joe would come shortly after though, in the 400 IM.
Session 3 on Saturday afternoon saw Alex back in action with Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) and Joe in the 200m Butterfly. First up was Alex Pollard, I was sat with his Mum who told me she didn't think he would gain an NQT in this event. "Don't be so sure," I told her "He's all fired up from this morning and number two could be on the cards!" Sure enough Alex picked up his 2nd NQT of the meet (and 2nd ever) with a time of 2:24.38. Next up was Joe who quickly followed suit to gain his 2nd NQT of the meet and another final place with Alex and Jarvis. In the final we saw Joe finishing 5th, Jarvis 7th and Alex 8th.
NQT number 6 came from Caitlin Dixon (Arm) in the Girls 400m Freestyle. It was turning in to a rather special weekend for the Pollard/Dixon household.
Quite a weekend for Dartes in general.
We were flying at this meet, bring on Sunday's sessions.
We didn't have to wait long in session 4 before we saw the first NQT of the day. In the 200m Freestyle Jarvis brought his overall total of NQTs to eight, as if to make sure that Max didn't get complacent with his 11! Keep on chasing him Jarvis.
The next three NQTs came in the Boys 200m Backstroke heats. No surprise there, Backstroke is so often our strong point these days. George, Joe, and Alex made it a hat-trick of PBs all under NQT!
Back home updating the website, Coach Dave had long given up on this being some elaborate April Fools joke from Team Manager Pete. Double figures for NQTs at the same meet is pretty much unheard of, so when number 11 came beeping on the phone he just shook his head in disbelief. Joe again, this time in the 200m IM. Closely followed by another one for Caitlin and number 12 (her second of the weekend) in the 200m Butterfly. She ever so slightly missed out on the 100m Butterfly the day before.
PBs came in abundance, our fair share of medals too considering this is one of the favourite meets in the country for chasing National Qualifying. A truly astonishing weekend, it will certainly take some beating.