News November 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
4x400 Kick Surprise
27 Nov: We've held them back for 3 months. There hasn't been a Tuesday go by this season when loud groups of Phase 4 swimmers haven't eagerly asked: "Is it a test set tonight?". They've been biting at the bit to get stuck in to one, and last night we let them loose!
The results reflect their anticipation, as did the manner in which they attacked the challenge. Over taking in the final few metres to gain the odd second was common place. To say Dartes kids are competitive is a bit of an understatement.
That said, there's still a long way to go. If British Swimming's mark of a good 200m kick is a time of 3mins, then convert that to 420m (this set) and you get something around 6:20. We're still a good minute away from that, not surprising considering it's double the distance and four reps, but food for thought for our leaders nonetheless.
So who are the early season leaders?
Well last season's undisputed kicking superstar had a bit of a shocker - the legs just weren't feeling quite right for Robert Kirk (Spa) who fell outside 8mins in one rep (just the 2nd time he's ever failed to beat 8). Quick to take advantage was Laura Brookes (Edl) lowering her best average by 30sec to claim the 4th fastest time ever.
When we last did this set back in May we had only 3 below 8mins. This time round the top 9 are inside, with at least the top 15 capable of dipping beneath next time. Remember, we've always considered sub 8mins to be pretty good for this set - that should be everyone's target.
|Pos||Name||Date||Rep 1||Rep 2||Rep 3||Rep 4||Avg||All Time|
|1||Laura Brookes||27 Nov 2012||7:31||7:33||7:41||7:54||7:39||4 (4)|
|2||Lauren Jarvis||27 Nov 2012||7:35||7:42||7:47||7:54||7:44||6 (6)|
|3||Lucy Clarke||27 Nov 2012||7:41||7:48||7:47||7:45||7:45||7 (7)|
|4||Joshua Reasbeck||27 Nov 2012||7:44||7:44||7:39||7:56||7:45||8 (8)|
|5||Robert Kirk||27 Nov 2012||7:29||7:43||8:02||7:59||7:48||11 (1)|
|6||Chloe Key||27 Nov 2012||7:52||7:44||7:51||7:51||7:49||11 (11)|
|7||Lily Metcalfe||27 Nov 2012||7:46||7:47||8:01||8:11||7:56||12 (5)|
|8||Georgia Whetton||27 Nov 2012||7:45||7:57||8:01||8:06||7:57||12 (12)|
|9||Chantelle Waugh||27 Nov 2012||8:10||8:01||7:51||7:49||7:57||13 (13)|
|10||Grace Litchfield||27 Nov 2012||8:03||7:55||8:01||8:01||8:00||14 (14)|
|11||Mathew Jubb||27 Nov 2012||8:07||8:07||8:04||7:50||8:02||16 (16)|
|12||Tilly Arrand||27 Nov 2012||8:02||8:01||8:00||8:10||8:03||17 (17)|
|13||Robbie Casson||27 Nov 2012||8:25||7:58||8:03||8:06||8:08||19 (19)|
|14||Alanah Hill||27 Nov 2012||8:07||8:19||8:06||8:12||8:11||20 (20)|
|15||Gillian Clarke||27 Nov 2012||8:19||7:59||8:18||8:09||8:11||21 (21)|
|16||Oswald Hood||27 Nov 2012||8:13||8:44||8:05||8:05||8:16||24 (24)|
|17||Joseph Gatus||27 Nov 2012||8:51||8:27||8:19||7:54||8:22||27 (27)|
|18||Thomas Wilson||27 Nov 2012||8:31||8:22||8:21||8:29||8:25||28 (28)|
|19||Rianna Hill||27 Nov 2012||8:20||8:23||8:33||8:36||8:28||30 (30)|
|20||Rebecca Christmas||27 Nov 2012||8:30||8:45||8:41||8:14||8:32||31 (31)|
|21||Lauren Heywood||27 Nov 2012||8:29||8:34||8:49||8:45||8:39||33 (33)|
|22||Amber Hardy||27 Nov 2012||8:25||8:33||9:29||8:30||8:44||34 (26)|
|23||Corinne Hill||27 Nov 2012||8:54||8:54||9:17||8:38||8:55||36 (36)|
|24||Taylor Hardy||27 Nov 2012||10:08||9:14||10:03||9:29||9:43||40 (38)|
|25||Rebecca Wright||27 Nov 2012||9:29||9:31||10:09||10:07||9:49||40 (40)|
|26||Rebecca Allen||27 Nov 2012||9:33||9:31||10:14||X|
|27||Michelle Bellamy||27 Nov 2012||9:26||9:33||10:45||X|
As we haven't done this for a few months, and we have a few newbies, here's a quick reminder of how it's ranked. It's the best average of the 4 reps that counts. Hitting the fastest ever rep is great (7:11 by Rob if you were wondering), but if you don't back it up with another 3 strong performances, it might not work in your favour. If you don't complete all 4 fast enough, you won't get an average, and you'll be stuffed on the bottom of the table. Inside 10mins is fast enough, too far outside and the next round will start without you!
Over in the far right column you can see where each athlete ranks against the all time best average performance (7:16 by Rob, for those who wondered). Hover over the number to see what it means. The first (11 in Rob's case) tells you where this week's performance places you against the best all time (1 per person). The second number (1 in Rob's case) shows where the athlete's best ever performance sits in the all time list. So when both numbers are the same, as is generally the case this time, this week's performance is also their best.
Round 2 of Arena League
24 Nov: We expected to head to Leeds for the 2nd round of Arena League action with an illness ravaged squad, desperate to score enough points to just secure a spot in the regional final. Even on the morning of the meet we were getting yet more reports of swimmers dying all around us. 7 or 8 National level swimmers appeared to be out!
Come the hour though, the heroes returned.
Fighting fit - or at least conscious (in most cases).
Where Coach Andrew had reworked the team sheet only hours before (actually a mad panic all week as the lurgy spread), a hastily scribbled retreat back to what it had been just in time for the start. Judging by the missing teams, we assume others had suffered a similar fate.
In the end then, another strong performance, cementing our position as Yorkshire's 3rd club for another year. Ahead of us, the battle for the top is looking fierce. Equal on league points are Leeds and Sheffield, the leading club heading in to the regional final being decided by how many 1st places each team scored. 24 for the blue and yellow; just 15 for the red.
Of course, the southern division wasn't the only concern for our sickly swimmers. A couple of weeks earlier, further north, Newcastle and Sunderland had a tussle of their own. The combined results from north and south (involving computerised magic comparing the action from both divisions to generate fair scores) was awaited with crossed fingers and toes. After all the stress and excitement though, we needn't have worried. Another year in 3rd place, even with the addition of another North East powerhouse in the form of City of Newcastle.
An interesting point: out of 6 teams qualifying for the regional A final, only one doesn't start 'City of'. Whether that's vindication of Doncaster council's desire for city status, or just saying we're doing a decent job, we'll leave for you to decide.
|1||City of Leeds||23|
|2||City of Sheffield A||23|
|4||City of Newcastle||15|
|5||City of Sunderland||13|
|6||City of Sheffield B||13|
|7||Harrogate & District||11|
|8||Borough of Kirklees||9|
|9||Gateshead & Wickham||8|
|10||Cleethorpes & District||8|
|11||City of Sunderland B||5|
But that's only the first step. We now need to make sure we're all in good health in two weeks time for the final at Leeds. It would be nice to threaten Leeds and Sheffield a little, just to let them know they need to keep one eye looking our way. Let's not discount the North East threat either. We're likely to get pushed all the way by Newcastle and Sunderland. Every finish will definitely count.
As ever, there's the chance of a berth at the National final next year too. All the regional finals will be thrown together (more computer wizardry) and the top 20 teams nationwide will battle it out in Ponds Forge for what many consider to be the most passionately supported event in British Swimming. We've missed out in previous years by a handful of places - work those finishes hard!
Three with Talent
3 Nov: As if a week including a 72km Mediterranean training camp and a weekend open meet wasn't busy enough, Assistant Coach Dave and 3 athletes also attended the Level 1 England Talent Camp at Leeds on Saturday. Just under 30 of the best 13/14 year old swimmers from the North East (based on results at last year's Nationals and Regionals) were invited to take part. The intention, as ever, to ensure that the next generation of stars of British Swimming are as well prepared as possible with the knowledge, techniques, and skills they will need to be successful.
In the pool, focus for the day will be familiar to everyone at Dartes: quality of underwater work and speed around the walls. Why do we drill 4 kicks and 2 strokes in to everyone from Phase 4 upwards? Because that's what everyone at this level should be doing.
Still to be convinced?
Standing order heading in to the first pool session of the day: 10m starts (from a push), and 5 dolphin kicks with no breathing out of every turn! Sunderland Head Coach Danny Thompson, lead coach for the camp, stressed numerous times: "If they don't do it, make them do it again!" Does that sound familiar?
We like to make sure our athletes are among the best prepared heading in to camps like this. For those of you in Phase 4 (or JDS) with an eye on selection for England Talent in the next few years, pay attention. You will need superb underwaters - get good at them now! For the three already in attendance Jarvis Parkinson (Arm), Joe Litchfield (Spa), and Alex Pollard (Arm) those skills are already locked in, and it showed. It's no coincidence that three boys with strong underwater skills are also three of the best in the North East (actually the country)!
The afternoon's pool session continued the theme, but also introduced another massively important, but often overlooked, indicator of future success. It's another of the cornerstones of what we do at Dartes.
The challenge was set. After preparing the legs with a few short spikes, it was straight in to the nationally recorded 200m timed kick. That's right, the results from this are now sitting in a database along with the results from all the talent camps around the country. The target was sub 3mins! If you get down to that sort of time you can be pretty proud of yourself.
Needless to say, all 3 of our boys managed it.
All 3 finished in the top 5.
Fastest of the lot, and if memory serves, quite a way out in front, was Joe - way to make your coaches happy.
But these talent camps aren't all about the kids in the pool. In the past we've had Head Coach Andrew involved at level 1 and level 2, for this year it's the turn of Assistant Coach Dave at level 1. While the athletes are being put through their paces, it's an opportunity for coaches from different programmes to share experiences and throw ideas around. So in addition to Coach Danny leading the camp, we had Newburn's Head Coach Chris Reekie, Borough of Kirklees' Carly Gonzalez, and Sunderland's Development Coach Craig Robertson. Overseeing everything, and also freshly back from the AASE programme camp in Malta (which Max Litchfield (Spa) enjoyed the week before our own version), was British Swimming's Fred Furniss (you might have heard of his brother Bill who coaches some girl in Nottingham). Spreading the knowledge, so to speak.
And spreading the knowledge is what will happen next at Dartes. The coaching skills and experience from this day, will now get passed back to the other coaches working with Dave and Phase 4, and in turn back to their home clubs, and so on, and so forth. If anyone else wants to get involved (at Phase 4 or JDS level), you know where we are.
|Paul ChristmasArmthorpe Kingfishers|
|Suzi WaughArmthorpe Kingfishers|
|Jeff SquiresEdlington Stingrays|
|Blaine KeyMinsthorpe Marlins|
|Sarah GreenThorne Tigers|
|Phase 4 Coaches|
As you might have guessed, our boys fared rather well in the pool, but what else goes on during these camps? The short answer is: education.
Stretching, Strength and Conditioning, the importance of warming up correctly - next time it'll be nutrition and hydration too. Workshops for each took place in the dance studio with mirrored walls to help athletes correct their own posture and technique. All the athletes went through physio screening. A selection of exercises and stretches designed to uncover strength imbalances or reduced range of motion around joints. Mostly the sort of activities Phase 5 are well used to, and Phase 4 are introduced to. The results from that have already been passed back to home coaches to see if they can improve any weaknesses for next time.
In recent years we've quietly built a reputation for putting young athletes on these camps. Those of you who aren't yet 13 need to be making sure you're next. Our 3 representatives this time around all shone brightly in terms of skills and knowledge, so pay attention to what's going on around you and prepare yourselves for your chance!
Tired, But Racing Tough!
Lets go and swim fast anyway at the York Meet.
The first weekend in November saw our Dartes athletes pop over to Ennerdale in Hull, for the York Regional Qualifying meet. A weekend of racing that was chosen specifically to hit the end of training camp week for our older athletes; fatigued muscles were very apparent. Those swimmers just back from this year's training camp in Malta were easily identified on poolside yawning their tired heads off. That didn't seem to dampen anybody's spirits though, as they all seemed determined to have a bash at some fast swimming.
The PB ratio was quite low, as expected, but after a massive 72km of training the week before, then a little extra back home on Friday evening, pure racing (as opposed to super fast times) was the order of the day. Learning how to get the best out of yourself when the chips are down, when tiredness oozes out of every muscle, and when you feel physically and mentally drained, is a skill in itself. The confidence that comes from knowing that you can still perform under such conditions is one big reason why we race at the end of such a demanding week.
That said, plenty of bling still came our way.
Of our 20 Maltesers, 18 of them managed at least one medal; pretty impressive. For many of them there was a lot more than one top 3 placing too. Caitlin Dixon (Arm) showed everyone that swimming the equivalent of Doncaster to Leeds in one week doesn't prevent you from racing hard by winning 3 Golds: 100m Butterfly, 200m Freestyle and 400m IM. She also won 4 shiny Silvers in 200m Butterfly, 100m Freestyle, 200m IM and 50m Freestyle. Not to be outdone by his older sister Alex Pollard (Arm) was away on England Talent Camp on the Saturday, he rocked up on the Sunday and won Gold in all 3 of the races he entered. Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) did likewise, also winning 3 Golds on Sunday after spending Saturday in Leeds with the England Talent team.
After spending a week in the sun challenging Max's lead on pretty much every length in the University of Malta pool, Jamie Clarke (Arm) returned home to Gold in the 200m IM and fought hard for 2 Silvers in 200m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle. George Scatchard (Spa) won an impressive 400m IM bringing home Gold for that, and another one for 100m Backstroke. Heidi Smith (Arm) had a great weekend winning 2 Gold in 100m Freestyle and 200m Breaststroke, 2 Silver in 100m Breaststroke and 200m Freestyle. She also won a Bronze in 50m Butterfly.
Shannon Dodson (Adw) grabbed herself 5 medals too - 2 Golds in 100m and 200m Backstroke making it look so graceful and easy. A Silver in 100m Butterfly and 2 Bronze medals for 200m IM and 100m Breaststroke. Jessica Gillatt (SAS) won a Gold to stamp her authority on the 100m Breaststroke. Rhiannon Hill (Spa) had a busy weekend too, snatching Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze medals. Eleanor Vodden (Adw) won Gold in her key event, 200m breaststroke, and backed that up with Bronze in the 100m version.
Our next 3 athletes had a little bit of a tougher time, as not only had they been on the gruelling training camp but they also had to compete for medals in the same age group as our senior girls. Natasha Crow (SAS), Chloe Hardy (Adw), and Georgia Wright (Arm) were up against the likes of Caitlin, Heidi, Shannon and Jess at the younger end of the 14/15 year age group. Nevertheless each of them produced a top 3 placing - well-done girls! Georgia won Silver in the 200m Backstroke, Natasha 2 Bronze in 100m Backstroke and 200m Butterfly, and Chloe grabbed Bronze in 200m Breaststroke.
Joe Litchfield (Spa) was another called up to the England Talent programme. He too returned for action on Sunday to claim Gold in 100m Butterfly, 2 Silver in 50m Butterfly and 100m Breaststroke and a Bronze in 200m Freestyle. Oliver Richardson (Edl) enjoyed a busy weekend winning himself 2 Silver medals in 200m Breaststroke and the very tough 400m IM. There were also 3 Bronze medals (200m Butterfly, 200m IM and 100m Breaststroke) hanging around his neck by Sunday evening too.
Rebecca Heywood (Min) won herself a Silver medal in 200m Backstroke and a Bronze in the 400m IM. Last but not least of our Malta athletes Robert Kirk (Spa) and Josh Reasbeck (Edl) won themselves a Bronze medal apiece.
So that's all those tanned bodies from the training camp taken care of, there were lots more from Phase 4 and JDS enjoying the weekend too. A storming weekend for the almost twins. Laura Brookes (Edl) needed a wheelbarrow to take home all her bling. A whopping 6 Gold medals (100m and 200m Butterfly, 100m and 200m Freestyle, 200m and 400m IM). Little Miss Noisy also added 100m Breaststroke Silver to her collection. While she filled her wheel barrow, the other one, Amber Hardy (Adw), pretty much cleaned up everything else. Golds for both the Backstrokes and the big Breaststroke, and Silvers behind Laura for most of the others. Not a bad double act for Noisy and Angry!
Katie Pendlebury (Ros) did an awesome job of being the flag bearer in her age group too. Bringing home 2 Gold and 6 Silver medals - well done Katie! The vastly improving Robbie Casson (Adw) (and just how long can we keep saying he's vastly improving - who knows) won Silver in his 200m IM and a Bronze in his first ever 400m attempt! Great job, considering he is the younger end of the 10/11 age group. Lucy Clarke (Min) won herself 2 Silver medals in 100m and 200m Butterfly.
Tilly Arrand (SAS) and Gillian Clarke (Arm) were in the same position as Robbie at the younger end of their age group, however they still grabbed 2 Bronze apiece - well done girls! Chloe Key (Min) notched up another 200m Breaststroke medal as one of the younger swimmers in her age group, and cements her status as a challenger for NER qualifying later in the season.
A special mention goes out to Heidi, Shannon, and Caitlin for their constant support of our younger swimmers throughout the weekend. Cheering, supporting, and encouraging during races and generally being fantastic role models for the club - well done girls.