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Considerations for Team Selections

With seven club teams worth of swimmers to consider for selection for Doncaster's teams at Yorkshire Championships, it's tricky to know where to draw the line. The ethos must be to give Doncaster the best representation possible using the combined might of all our clubs. Taking the fastest swimmers from each club, should give Doncaster multiple teams, whereas individual clubs may struggle to field one in their own right.

This document uses historic data from team events to identify the level each swimmer needs to be at, and to give clubs an indication of which swimmers to put forward for teams.

Team Selection for Yorkshire, North East, and National Championships

Yorkshire Teams Selection

For Yorkshire Team Championships we're currently working with the double age bands and team events shown in the table below (age as at 31st Dec). This has changed from time to time, but has been pretty stable for a decade. Other than the "Open" age, a swimmer can only swim in their own age-group (not up).

The objective is to enter as many competitive teams as possible. That requires knowledge of the quantity and quality of teams that are likely to enter the event. To understand that, we've drawn conclusions from the results of 2017 onwards. The table below provides a likely time and position where teams get "left behind" by the "pack". There may be slower teams than this time, but they're unlikely to be close enough to other teams to be considered "in the race". The exception to that rule is the 9/10 age group, discussed next.

For the 9/10 age group results are extremely volatile with widely varying times each year. It also has the lowest number of entries, often fewer than 10 teams. So whereas the targets stated below for other ages are intended to keep our teams "in the pack", for the 9/10 year olds the target is as slow as it's wise to submit. The intention being to ensure Doncaster is represented in that age group in some way - which has become increasingly rare (for Doncaster and other towns).

For each age group, the table provides a slowest acceptable "Target" time for Dartes teams. Alongside that time is the likely position that a team swimming that time will finish. Finally we have the useful columns for our clubs and coaches: the expected PB's of swimmers selected for those teams. Any swimmer with PB's faster than, or "similar" to those times can be considered. Obviously the average from the chosen four should come in under the Target, not necessarily each participant, so there is a little leeway.

Men 9/10 Freestyle3:101547
Men 9/10 Medley3:301549536641
Men 11/12 Freestyle2:252236
Men 11/12 Medley2:522241435037
Men 13/14 Freestyle2:142033
Men 13/14 Medley2:302037394334
Men 15/16 Freestyle1:541528
Men 15/16 Medley2:101532333629
Men Open Freestyle1:501527
Men Open Medley2:071531323628
Women 9/10 Freestyle3:101550
Women 9/10 Medley3:301556515846
Women 11/12 Freestyle2:242836
Women 11/12 Medley2:582841435340
Women 13/14 Freestyle2:152933
Women 13/14 Medley2:352938384535
Women 15/16 Freestyle2:092932
Women 15/16 Medley2:212933354231
Women Open Freestyle2:051531
Women Open Medley2:201533344231

The four fastest available athletes will make up the A team. The next four will be the B team, and so on, and so forth until the team's time on paper falls outside of the target above. Such selections might not be made purely on PB's as times can often become out of date, so coaches will use their judgement when shuffling swimmers around. Teams may also take names different to "Dartes A", for variety. Recently we've taken to naming them after the club's colours (Black, Red, and White).

Whatever they're called on the day, the A team would normally be expected to challenge for medals, or at least reach the final. The B team should be fighting for a spot in the final. A C team or lower is likely to be approaching the target time and position shown in the above table. The 11-14 age groups tend to have multiple teams, the others are likely to field one team only, but that depends entirely on how many swimmers are put forwards for consideration.

Deeper Analysis of Yorkshire Teams

The following two tables provide a look at what times are required for certain key results. Each age group and event is listed, along with the spread of times achieved by the Gold medal winners, and what it took to reach a final. In both cases, we've used the faster of either heat or final time. Where appropriate we've given the time required to achieve a top 20 position (not all age groups would have 20 teams entered). Finally the spread of slowest times achieved in the competition.

Age GroupEventWinningTop 10Top 20Slowest
9/10200m Freestyle2:16-2:242:43-2:59n/a2:54-3:30
9/10200m Medley2:33-2:433:14-3:30n/a3:14-3:44
11/12200m Freestyle2:00-2:062:12-2:162:22-2:282:33-2:44
11/12200m Medley2:13-2:232:30-2:362:45-2:552:57-3:21
13/14200m Freestyle1:48-1:521:59-2:012:11-2:142:16-2:26
13/14200m Medley2:02-2:092:16-2:172:26-2:322:37-2:47
15/16200m Freestyle1:40-1:421:47-1:52n/a1:54-2:04
15/16200m Medley1:53-1:562:02-2:09n/a2:10-2:29
Open200m Freestyle1:33-1:371:44-1:50n/a1:50-1:53
Open200m Medley1:43-1:471:55-2:022:052:02-2:08
Boys time spread, 2017-2020

There are occasional outliers which skew the results, but generally the times don't shift much each year - especially in the older age groups. Our target times above, would normally be calibrated to squeeze well inside the slowest times on these tables. There are usually two or three teams trailing the pack by quite a distance, which we want to keep clear of.

Age GroupEventWinningTop 10Top 20Slowest
9/10200m Freestyle2:16-2:242:37-2:57n/a2:59-3:19
9/10200m Medley2:32-2:433:01-3:21n/a3:28-3:37
11/12200m Freestyle1:58-2:022:08-2:122:13-2:212:38-2:43
11/12200m Medley2:12-2:162:26-2:302:34-2:432:53-3:08
13/14200m Freestyle1:52-1:541:59-2:022:04-2:062:15-2:23
13/14200m Medley2:02-2:082:12-2:152:17-2:202:35-2:37
15/16200m Freestyle1:49-1:541:55-1:592:05-2:072:09-2:10
15/16200m Medley1:59-2:082:09-2:152:21-2:252:22-2:32
Open200m Freestyle1:47-1:501:56-2:042:172:02-2:20
Open200m Medley1:57-2:042:09-2:172:352:15-2:35
Girls time spread, 2017-2020

North East Region Teams Selection

For North East regionals, the team competition has shifted away from a regional team competition and is now firmly aimed at setting times to qualify for National Championships (usually the top 2 or 3 teams per region). The quality and quantity of entries reflects that. As a result, teams that don't contain four National level athletes or strong NER finalists, towards the older end of the age-group, will not be competitive.

Recent years have seen the spread of times shown in the table below. It's rare for entries to reach 10 per event in the 14-16 years category, and 2 or 3 is normal for the older age. It is extremely unlikely that Doncaster will ever field a senior team (we never have more than one or two swimmers of that age), and it's rare to have four athletes of a suitable age and calibre for the junior team.

The big city programmes dominate NER teams as it's very much about having a large pool of highly trained athletes at 15+. Having three suitable athletes and pulling in a weaker one (as often happens at Yorkshires) is simply not an option at this level.

Age GroupEventWinningTop 5Top 10Slowest
Boys 14-16400m Medley4:06-4:134:13-4:294:284:31-4:38
Boys 14-16400m Freestyle3:40-3:433:45-3:564:103:56-4:10
Boys 14-16800m Freestyle8:06-8:128:20-8:388:28-9:03
Girls 14-16400m Medley4:23-4:274:31-4:434:47-4:494:54-5:07
Girls 14-16400m Freestyle3:57-4:004:07-4:114:104:16-4:29
Girls 14-16800m Freestyle8:31-8:398:52-9:099:389:11-9:48
Junior team time spread, 2015-2019

Many of those "slowest" times are teams that get left adrift from the bulk of the race. To avoid entering teams likely to be in that position, the following gives targets for any Dartes team hoping to enter NER's. The slowest PB likely to be considered for each team is also shown. Obviously a much faster athlete allows for an equally slower athlete to be selected, so those targets are averages.

14-16 Men 400 Medley4:2881:051:071:151:00
14-16 Men 400 Freestyle4:0081:00
14-16 Men 800 Freestyle8:3882:10
14-16 Ladies 400 Medley4:4091:091:101:191:04
14-16 Ladies 400 Freestyle4:1291:04
14-16 Ladies 800 Freestyle9:1092:20

National Teams Selection

Nationals selects the top 25-30 teams from the country based on times achieved at regionals. Over the four years analysed, the time necessary to qualify for a 14-16 years 400m team varied by a maximum of 4sec. The 800m team varied by at most 10sec. So the time required to qualify is predictable. Similarly for the other land marks, medals and top 10 times are very similar year on year.

Age GroupEventGoldMedalsTop 10Slowest
Boys 14-16400m Medley3:54-4:003:57-4:014:04-4:074:12-4:16
Boys 14-16400m Freestyle3:32-3:343:36-3:383:40-3:423:47-3:48
Boys 14-16800m Freestyle7:39-7:507:48-7:558:02-8:098:21-8:27
Girls 14-16400m Medley4:13-4:214:16-4:234:26-4:274:33-4:34
Girls 14-16400m Freestyle3:49-3:533:52.3:553:59-4:014:05-4:07
Girls 14-16800m Freestyle8:14-8:288:23-8:318:39-8:458:58-9:09
Junior team time spread, 2016-2019

Obviously if a Dartes team qualifies for Nationals, it goes and competes. There's no decision to be made, that's done during qualifying at Regionals. The only issue tends to be what to do should illness cause a team member to drop out.