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News May 2018

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

Announcement Regarding Head Coach Position

30 Jul 2018: Over the weekend we announced our new team of lead coaches for the 2019 season. The intention is to provide the club with a long-term consistent strategy in the pool and cement good relationships with our local partners out of the pool. In addition to the obvious requirement of securing expert coaching throughout our squad structure. The full announcement follows ...


To all at Dartes and Doncaster Swimming.

Thank you for your patience regarding news of the Head Coach situation at Dartes. We are now in a position to make a statement about the future.

The committee and coaching team have had a number of discussions about the way forward and the opportunities that are now available. We are determined to see the club drive forwards towards long term success and we hope the rest of Doncaster Swimming will come along with us. We have a number of ideas for future improvement and we've selected a coaching team with those plans in mind.

So without further ado, here is our lead coaching team for next season:

Head Coach (Phase 5): David Cuthbert (volunteer, level 3 coach)
Assistant Head Coach (Phase 4): Jordan Allerton (volunteer, level 2 coach)
Assistant Coach (Phase 1-3): Jacob Greenhalgh (volunteer, level 2 teacher)

We considered advertising the full-time role, but we believe Coach Jordan has greater long term potential than any of those who applied for the role last year, and indeed most other Head Coaches in the North East outside of the major programmes. Part of Dartes' role within Doncaster Swimming should be to develop local coaches alongside athletes, and we see this as a great opportunity to do just that. We're proud to have given Andrew Wallace his start in professional coaching, we aim to provide similar opportunities for Jordan too, having proved himself first as a volunteer. Nominally he'll be running Phase 4, but as the full-time coach he'll be doing much more than just that.

On that note, the intention is to make such an arrangement a more long-term strategy for the club. We have limited resources, but being able to provide Doncaster's young coaches with a taste of performance swim coaching is just as important as guiding athletes to National level competition. It's something we've only scratched the surface of in the past, but that's the plan for the future. To develop our own coaching pathway to produce a steady stream of home grown coaching talent.

First in line for that is our new Assistant Coach, Jacob Greenhalgh. We'll be supporting him through various education programmes and our other coaches will offer mentoring and guidance. It's a brilliant opportunity for a dedicated young coach to learn the trade and make his mark in the sport. Just like Jordan did, Jacob will begin with Phase 1-3, while also being involved higher up the programme too.

Finally, after nearly 20 years of successfully coaching age-groupers at Dartes, it's time for Dave to step up to the hot seat. While Jordan takes on his new challenge with Phase 4, Dave will be responsible for guiding the club's elite to the highest levels of the sport. It'll see a return to the principles of LTAD and a focus on Medley swimming that formed the bedrock of the club's last 15 years of success.

We do of course, rely heavily on all our volunteer coaches to deliver a high quality programme. We look forward to seeing you all on deck with us again next season.

There are other plans afoot too, but more on those in good time. We'll be slightly changing the training schedule for next season too, but more of that in the coming weeks.

Dave Cuthbert (Head Coach)
Jordan Allerton (Assistant Head Coach)
Jacob Greenhalgh (JDS Coach)
Rob Bailey (Chairman) and Committee

The coaching team can be reached at: This is the new one-stop email address for all coaching related enquiries.

Championships Season

24 Jul 2018: Believe it or not, there are other sports out there beyond swimming. No, there really are! Over the years we've seen our athletes achieve considerable success in those other sports. Usually there is some element of swimming involved of course, like Rebecca Milnes, an age-group World Champion triathlete from a decade ago.

As we were waiting for British Swimming Championships to kick off this week, to be closely followed by English Home Nations Championships next week, news arrived of more multi-sport success for a Dartes athlete. Greta Highfield (Ros) is a regular on the British Biathle circuit and Sunday was National Championships in the cool waters of Salford Quays. A sport born out of Modern Pentathlon, it involves just the swimming and running elements. Usually a 200m open water swim followed by a 3km run.

Greta performed brilliantly to win the Youth E National Championships which qualifies her to represent Great Britain in the World Championships - in Egypt! She will also be competing at the European Championships shortly too.

Congratulations Greta!

More Honours for the American

13 Jul 2018: As The American keeps popping home during holidays from university, we thought it would be nice to keep you informed of what she's been doing in Div II of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Georgia Wright (Arm) gets many mentions in news stories involving West Chester University, so much so that we sometimes think the scholarship student returns to Doncaster for a break from the stardom. But then we remember that she also owns 7 senior Dartes records too.

Here's another of those stories from across the Atlantic:
- State System Board of Governors Recognizes NCAA Champions from Five Universities

Our congratulations to her and her team for their continued domination of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Josh for NER Talent Camp

4 Jun 2018: Last month he won a Bronze at NER Championships alongside appearing in 7 finals. This week we've had notice that Josh Cusack-Hughes (Adw) has been selected for the North East Region Performance Programme for 2018. In addition to Josh's selection, Dartes Head Coach Matt Cross will also be leading the coaching team for the event too.

You'll remember around a month ago we announced a 6 strong selection for the younger age-group County Pathways Programme, this week's announcement is for the 12 year olds. The beady eyed among you will also have spotted that the 12 year old camp is across the region not just the county. Selection for these programmes gets tougher the older you get, and the expectations placed on those athletes also increases.

The intent of the camp is to develop the athlete's technical, tactical, physical, and psychological skills. They're thrown together with other swimmers of a similar age and ability level from all over the North East. The Swim England Talent Team determines the syllabus for all camps, ensuring a seamless development pathway for swimming.

Congratulations to both Josh and Matt on their respective selecctions.

A Litchfield Record Smashed!

22 May 2018: 1500m Bronze for Ben We have a small group of age group athletes competing at NER Championships this month. It's definitely not our biggest contingent ever, but there is a lot of promise rising through the ranks. There aren't enough competing in the big events for sure (1500m/800m we're looking at you!) That's a disappointment, but it's a target to fix and we know how to do it. Expect more in the coming years. A Bronze medal in the big Freestyle for Ben Wright (Arm) showing where we should be and where others need to aim. For young athletes, don't be scared of distance Freestyle. It should be considered an essential element for all age-group swimmers!

Continuing with the big event theme, the 400m Medley is the cornerstone of age-group development. We push the Animal Squad ethos for a reason (we should probably push it far more). And indeed, those attending the lunch time presentation with Swim England Talent Officer, Fred Furniss, will have heard him say the exact same thing this weekend. The 400m Medley identifies the complete swimmer. Every stroke, every skill, a big endurance engine to power through it. Any weakness is quickly uncovered. There is nowhere to hide. In his first NER Championships, Cody Watkinson (Adw) forced his way in, sneaking inside the qualifying time. What an event for a debut performance!

We say many times to many people, but it rarely hits home. NEVER EVER compare short course performances with long course performances. When it comes to events like the big Medley, that is even more important. They're different events, treat them as entirely different events. Young swimmers read that again, it's important. When you've got it, make your parents read it.

Cody's heat swim was a PB. It was a PB because it's the first time he's raced it long course. It's also only the second long course 100m Butterfly he's done (according to Dartes records). That was about to change though. His second attempt at the Medley came in the final after lunch - a proper baptism of fire!

The secret to being able to race the events that hurt as much as that one, is to train even harder! Train with the skills you want to be able to race with and put yourself in the same pain as you expect when racing - and still do the skills! At the young age, especially with boys (11 and under), getting those skills is often incredibly hard work. Sometimes you have to resort to threats. So it proved with Luke Gilliver (Drn) this Saturday. We all know he loves to push himself to crazy extremes, but we despair at his imagined need to breath at every opportunity. So going in to the 200m Butterfly heats, it was decided a threat of unimaginable horrors was required to keep him on a 2-stroke breathing pattern. Club Record for Luke

The threat worked - much to the relief of Olivia Phelan (Adw) - an outstanding swim was delivered by the 10 year old. So good in fact that it earned him a spot in the 11/12 year olds final, with a time that smashed the Dartes age-group record set by Max Litchfield (Spa) over a decade ago. In the final he pushed the 3rd 50m hard enough to shave off another 2sec.

Lucky Luke wasn't finished there either. The next day in the 200m Freestyle he took his heat by the scruff of its neck again. Up against team mate, and lightening fast opener Callum Broadhead (Arm), he was determined to stay with the slightly older boy down the first 50m. Together they were head and shoulders ahead by 50m, a lead that kept growing to 150m. Underwater skills need a lot of work for both boys still, as do stroke mechanics, but that's par for the course at this age. The heat came back strongly down the final 50m, Callum kept his hard earned advantage, Luke faded in the final 20m - but two outstanding swims.

Strong Freestyle for Callum No 2nd final for our 10 year old, but Callum jumped from 9th to 5th in the final shootout - the only 11 year old against the 12s - with another fine improvement on that all important 3rd 50m. Both boys would finish up in 2nd place on their respective Dartes age-group records; in the mix among some very big names. But hard work, and attention to detail trumps all. The qualify of their training over the next few months will decide whether they keep pace with the super-stars of the past, or fall away!

Many of you will be aware that Dartes has a Backstroke tradition. Some may have noticed Coach Dave distraught after this year's Yorkshires when our boys failed to win a Backstroke Gold. That marked the end of a 9 year run of multiple Backstroke Champions at Yorkshire Championships. Not quite a full decade, but agonisingly close. That only takes events at 100m and over in to account of course, it completely ignores the 50s. Cohen Stephenson (Adw) couldn't quite make amends in the 100m final at NERs, but then there was a giant from Bradford a couple of lanes over. He got close though, a finger nail away from 2nd to bring home our second Bronze of the weekend.

Josh Cusack-Hughes (Adw) wasn't a million miles away in the age-group below either. With more focus on skills and hitting the right intensity in training, his 4th place could well be converted next time. Lots for everyone to work hard at over the rest of the season, and more to swim for next weekend.