News October 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
Team Spirit for the White Rose
24 Oct: Last weekend while most of Doncaster's swimmers were contesting the DMasa Championships, 5 of our super stars were representing Team Yorkshire at the National County Team Championships. On the coaching staff was our Head Coach Andrew Wallace, who returned last week raving about how good the meet was, and how well Team Yorkshire bonded together and swam out of their skins to challenge Lancashire. Here is his review of the day in Sheffield.
After an agonisingly close National County Teams I thought I would reflect on what made this Yorkshire team so special. I thought the Yorkshire swimmers were excellent throughout the day, both in and out of the pool. They showed a great team spirit; they were very supportive of each other; and so many of them made improvements from the swims they did at the Yorkshire winters last week.
The skills on show were top class. The majority of the swimmers had excellent starts and turn skills and were very strong underwater - that really does make the difference in this short course competition. All you young DARTES swimmers with aspirations of reaching this sort of level need to remember this and work towards improving these in training and competition. I lost count of the amount of times we had swimmers move through the field following a high quality last turn, and fighting right down to the finish to try and secure the highest possible points they could. Races aren't over until you've hit the pads, so make sure you're thumping the hand in fast, and remember to keep kicking through the last stroke!
As with any competition you want to try and win it is necessary to field the best you can in each event. This meant some swimmers only competed in a single team event, while others had 2 individuals and a team. But everybody played their part and produced their best possible swim on the day to try and help the team achieve its goal.
Overall it was a great team effort and couldn't have been a closer finish. After having a quick look at the potential team for 2013, it could be even stronger. If swimmers continue to progress over the next 12 months, or others rise to the challenge, with some more hard work from all involved things should look even more positive next year. Congratulations to all involved and the swimmers that took part, they all did an outstanding job of showcasing the young talent that is around in our sport. The Yorkshire bunch definitely did the White Rose proud.
Exciting End to National County Teams
21 Oct: Today saw the first ever live streamed National County Team Championships. For those watching on the Internet, our 5 Dartes stars contributed to a strong title challenge against a Lancashire team that has dominated the event for over a decade.
Thanks to a couple of wins for Max Litchfield (Spa) and a 2nd placed finish for Alex Pollard (Arm) the White Rose were leading heading in to the last 4 relay events. The depth of the Red Rose teams proved just a little too strong in the end though.
They carried a 2 point lead in to the concluding 6x50m mixed Freestyle team, and never looked to be under threat by their Yorkshire rivals. They won the meet fair and square, but a final DQ for a Yorkshire take-over gave them a 22 point victory which really doesn't reflect how close the challenge was.
Well done to all on the Yorkshire Team.
You came oh so close to breaking the Red Rose dominance.
Fine Showing at Winter Yorkshires
14 Oct: Winter Yorkshires saw a huge medal haul for our athletes last weekend. 30 medals from the Winter Competition combines with our collection from Spring Championships to give us the largest county Gold medal haul in Dartes history.
A whopping 35!
Let's take a look where those medals went.
Firstly the older boys.
Top of the shop had to be Alex Pollard (Arm) bringing home a whopping 4 Golds in Backstroke, Butterfly, Medley, and Freestyle. He even threw in a 4th place finish in Breaststroke just for good measure. Awesome stuff from the guy nominated by our Head Coach Andy Wallace as "one to watch" back in November. More Gold in Backstroke and Medley for Joe Litchfield (Spa) was followed up with 2 Bronze in Butterfly and Breaststroke. While older brother Max Litchfield (Spa) was on fine form as always grabbing a Gold in Freestyle and 4 Silvers in Backstroke, Medley, Butterfly and Breaststroke.
Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) won a medal in every race as well. Gold for an outstanding swim in Breaststroke, making a 1:07 look oh so easy. He also brought home 3 Silvers in Freestyle, Medley, and Butterfly, His collection was completed by a Bronze in Backstroke.
Secondly the younger boys.
The vastly improving Matthew Jubb (Adw) won himself a Gold in Freestyle, Silver in Butterfly and the rest of his races were top 10 finishes. New to our Dartes family (having recently joined JDS) Harvey Williamson (Arm) won Gold in Freestyle and Bronze in Backstroke. Swimming alongside him more often than not, Robbie Casson (Adw) grabbed himself a medal of each colour too. Gold in Backstroke, a shiny Silver in medley and a Bronze in Butterfly. Joseph Gatus (Spa) had some cracking swims too, winning Bronze in Backstroke and three top 10 finishes in other strokes.
Last of the boys to earn a mention but certainly not least is up and coming Oliver Vodden (Adw). Gold in Breaststroke and Silver in the medley the icing on the cake over a weekend that never saw him finish out side of the top 10.
Next mention, the girls.
Three of our female athletes won medals; Laura Brookes (Edl) grabbed a Bronze in Freestyle and achieved top ten finishes in all her other strokes. The other 2 girls swam in a rather large open age for those 14 and over! It's a tough group to medal in, just like our boys 15 years and over who faced the same challenge. Shannon Dodson (Adw) powered through in true T-Rex style and won Silver in 100m Backstroke. Final mention goes to Georgia Wright (Arm) who surprised everyone knocking a whopping 3 seconds off her PB in the same race as Shannon, finishing in a 1:06 and grabbing Bronze. That performance left her just 0.32sec away from NQT - next time Georgia!
Top ten placings.
At the Winter Yorkshire Competition the top 3 win the traditional medals while swimmers 4 through to 10 win a finalist's Yorkshire hat. Many have been proudly worn at training this week showing what great swims have been achieved.
There were of course many more athletes gaining top 10 placings. The cream of the crop were Tilly Arrand (SAS) and Gillian Clarke (Arm) finishing top 10 in 4 of their events. Well done to them, and all the others with top 10 finishes.
7 for Nationals
4 Oct: It's only just turned October, are we talking about Nationals already?
Qualifying Times for the summer extravaganza have just been published, and a quick check shows that the 2013 Dartes National Squad already contains 7 athletes! That's before any serious qualifying meets have taken place, and just a little over 1 month back in to full training. In the past we've had the likes of Max Litchfield (Spa) and Richard Lee (Spa) setting qualifying times this early, we've had Shannon Dodson (Adw) miss qualifying by 100ths at Winter Yorkshires, but 7 qualifiers before a shot has even been fired - that's pretty special!
So special in fact that if we look over National Squads from this century, we find that, discounting 2009 onwards, only 2006 finished the season bigger! It doesn't matter how you compare it: 7 athletes across 24 events! That used to be considered a good finishing tally for the season (it actually was the tally for 2007).
Coach Wallace has his own targets in mind for this season of course, and although this seems like a good start, there's plenty of work left to be done.
So who are the pre-ordained superstars:
Qualifying is only the first step though. If you've hit the standard this early, you really need to be getting stuck in to the work and setting your goals significantly higher. You all have a very real chance of winning medals in the summer, but sit back and relax and there are plenty of athletes up and down the country waiting to catch you up and over take you - and they will!
We've said before that Phase 5 should really be focussed on British Championships anyway. Set your sights on qualifying for that competition in March and use that as a springboard for further success later in the year. Don't forget too, some of the names in the list above have a shot at Euro Juniors later in the season - believe in yourselves!
With the right attitude big improvements can be made in skills and techniques between now and July. Use early qualifying as motivation to take the next step in the sport. You're heading in the right direction, don't limit your expectations, aim big!