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News January 2011

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

British Gas Zonal Meet

7 medals between them at Zonal: Max and Nic 30 Jan: The inaugural British Gas Northern Zonal meet took place at Ponds Forge this weekend. Our team of 11 brought home 7 medals courtesy of Max Litchfield (Spa) and Nic Grainger (Spa) who also earned his 1500m NQT.

First 4x400 Kick of 2011

29 Jan: It's getting to that stage of the training cycle where many of you are getting rather tired. By the time Saturday morning comes around, a full week's worth of work should be taking its toll and a well deserved lazy weekend is yours to enjoy. First though, it's 4x400 kick set time.

First and Second: Joe and Chloe You choose which kick you want to do (Backstroke and Butterfly tend to be fastest, Breaststroke substantially slower). The faster guys repeat on around 9 minutes, the younger ones are given a little longer. Due to Coach Wallace heading off to the NER Zonal meet at Ponds Forge, the remaining Phase 5 swimmers had a battle of honour with Phase 4. In the end that probably finished up even (trying not to be biased).

In lane 1, Joe Litchfield (Spa) set a blistering pace to almost break 6mins on the 2nd rep (Butterfly). In the middle of the pool, our regular pace setters Chloe Hardy (Adw) and Natasha Crow (SAS) had their usual tussle on Backstroke; chipping away at their best times by a second here and a second there. Prize for consistency goes to Holly Brookes (Edl) with three 7:10 efforts in a row. A performance in honour of Edlington's new website perhaps.

First timer Lily Metcalfe (Spa) found out the hard way that if you don't complete all 4 reps, you end up at the bottom of the table - despite 3 fast opening efforts. Ooops. It's the average time over all 4 reps that counts. You should be able to make them all pretty much the same if you dig deep and push yourselves.

NameDateRnd 1Rnd 2Rnd 3Rnd 4Avg
Joe 29 Jan 2011 6:31 6:02 6:15 6:26 6:18
Chloe H 29 Jan 2011 6:44 6:45 6:51 6:50 6:47
30 Oct 2010 6:47 6:50 6:58 7:00 6:53
Natasha 29 Jan 2011 6:49 6:54 6:47 6:50 6:50
4 Dec 2010 6:54 7:01 7:14 6:57 7:01
30 Oct 2010 6:49 6:48 6:59 7:02 6:54
Holly 29 Jan 2011 7:10 7:10 7:10 7:14 7:11
4 Dec 2010 7:25 7:34 7:56 7:42 7:39
30 Oct 2010 7:41 7:32 7:23 7:17 7:28
Kathryn 29 Jan 2011 7:03 7:16 7:16 7:30 7:16
4 Dec 2010 6:51 6:49 6:51 6:53 6:51
30 Oct 2010 6:54 7:21 7:12 7:21 7:12
[Name Removed] 29 Jan 2011 7:14 7:20 7:31 7:34 7:24
Kim 29 Jan 2011 7:33 7:39 7:27 7:18 7:29
30 Oct 2010 7:21 7:28 7:25 7:27 7:25
Oliver 29 Jan 2011 6:51 7:14 8:11 7:42 7:29
Kelly 29 Jan 2011 7:43 7:34 7:28 7:47 7:38
30 Oct 2010 7:15 7:21 7:32 7:29 7:24
Amber 29 Jan 2011 7:48 7:37 7:41 7:33 7:39
30 Oct 2010 7:52 7:31 7:31 8:00 7:43
Mark 29 Jan 2011 7:38 7:38 7:34 7:52 7:40
30 Oct 2010 7:21 7:27 7:24 7:31 7:25
Finleigh 29 Jan 2011 8:21 7:38 7:38 7:32 7:47
30 Oct 2010 8:09 7:48 8:12 8:05 8:03
Robert 29 Jan 2011 7:46 8:09 8:01 7:55 7:57
Leanne 29 Jan 2011 8:19 8:20 8:46 9:32 8:44
Harry 29 Jan 2011 8:55 8:51 8:22 8:57 8:46
30 Oct 2010 9:50 9:37 9:21 8:54 9:25
Alex 29 Jan 2011 9:23 9:41 8:13 8:01 8:49
4 Dec 2010 8:33 8:53 8:44 8:25 8:38
Katie 29 Jan 2011 9:13 10:19 9:53 9:27 9:43
Tyler 29 Jan 2011 9:21 10:10 10:04 9:37 9:48
30 Oct 2010 9:24 9:34 9:23 9:03 9:21
Lily 29 Jan 2011 8:09 7:38 7:38 DNF

The entries are in

27 Jan: It's that time of year again where we get our first chance to judge our progress over the past 12 months. Yorkshire Championships over February and March is the first of our big 3 meets and the only one where every swimmer in Dartes should be able to compete. We've done extremely well over the past 2 years, increasing the quantity of entries massively and also winning more medals than for many years. Most Improved Club, 2009 Along the way, in 2009 we finished 5th overall and won Most Improved Club. Then last year we improved still further and climbed up to 4th club overall.

Our entries for 2011 have stayed at roughly the same level as last year so we're hopeful of matching our 2010 placing. Considering the much stricter rules regarding entries, that in itself is probably a success. We'll need to see how the rules have affected other clubs.

Entries (AG and S/J combined)

Before the Championships have begun then, we're on a pretty even playing field with last year. We will need to make every swim count though if we're going to beat last year's performance. Points are awarded for top 3 finishes (medallists). Last year we had a silly number of 4th places that we need to convert this time around. In many of those cases we lost medals, rather than jumping up to 4th in the last few metres. Polish your finishing skills over the next few weeks and make sure your hand gets to the wall first!

If you've never reached a Yorkshire final before, be determined to do just that this year. If you have, lets turn those top 10 placings in to medals. Those of you winning medals in previous years, practice your alchemy and turn them to Gold!

Meet the Swimmer: Aaron Peirsol

26 Jan: As London 2012 gets ever closer, we thought it would be nice to introduce you all to the likely stars of the Olympic swimming pool and showcase some of the World's finest athletes. Last time we brought you Hannah Miley, today we bring you a mega star of the pool.

Aaron Peirsol is 5 times Olympic Champion and 7 times World Champion. As World Record holder at both 100m and 200m Backstroke (Long Course) he's likely to be the man to beat for Liam Tancock and James Goddard come London (if he gets there). We say if he gets there, because Aaron has now competed at 3 Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008) and finished 2010 ranked 5th in the 100m and 7th in the 200m (worldwide, according to FINA). Ahead of him in the 100m were two GB swimmers (Liam and Walker-Hebben), and James in the 200m. The depth of American Backstoke is also pretty phenomenal, Aaron could only manage 5th American in those same 200m rankings.

Come Olympic trials though, we expect him to raise his game for one last Olympic swansong. So here is Aaron Peirsol headlining a stroke clinic in Manchester, courtesy of Team Arena.

Coach/Volunteer Education

20 Jan: Dartes at the English Institute of Sport This evening a group of coaches and club officials travelled to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield for the "Safeguarding and Protecting Children" workshop. It's a course that coaches need under their belt before applying for the new coaching licences, and the club needs suitably trained staff for Swim21 accreditation and because it's an important issue for the club to address.

Child protection is an area that the ASA has been at the forefront of for many years and is still regarded as one of the National Governing Bodies leading the way. So probably only fitting that Dartes provided the largest contingent and probably also among the more vocal delegates on the night, thanks in no small part to Helen and Julia.

The workshop was hosted by former Rugby Coach Mick Owen (left, on photo) and was attended by delegates from the world of hockey, athletics, teaching, horse riding, skiing, and crown green bowls to name but a few. Representing Dartes were Coaches: Dave and John; along with officials: Sue, Julia, Helen, and Paul.

Thank you to Mick Owen for making the workshop both entertaining and informing.

City of Derby Level 1 Meet

16 Jan: For two weekends in a row Ponds Forge has been graced by Olympians. Last weekend our small army contested the City of Derby level 1 Open Meet rubbing shoulders in the swim down pool with the likes of Kerri-Anne Payne and Cassie Patten, Beijing Olympic medallists in the inaugural open water 10km. They were joined by a selection of other elite senior athletes from their Stockport Metro Intensive Training Centre (ITC). Also on deck as Chief Coach of the host team was Melanie Marshall, formerly World Ranked number 1 in the 200m Freestyle and two time Olympian, in addition to winning 6 medals at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Amber in a tussle with a Londoner Joe matched the 1500m effort of England Record Holder Richard Webb As if that wasn't enough for January, this weekend attracted a certain Liam Tancock among other members of Team GB. The Canadian Youth team, on tour in the UK, added an International flavour and earned The Burns Meet a mention in the Vancouver Sun. Your point of trivia for this weekend: England's national record holder over 200m Breaststroke, Richard Webb, was entered for the 1500m Freestyle. His time of 19:41 was only good enough to match the converted effort of our very own Joe Litchfield (Spa) yesterday morning. Awesome swim Joe!

Of course, Richard's coach made him swim it Breaststroke - ouch!

But let's get back to last weekend and the highlights from the Derby meet. In the youngest girls age group we were involved in a bit of a tussle. It's always interesting at meets hosted by clubs from outside the North East as you get a different bunch of teams and swimmers to compare yourself against. In the 9 year girls, Windsor's Kalya Aung was up against Amber Hardy (Adw) most of the weekend. The Londoner had the better of the first day, being best 9 year old in the 10 and unders age group for 200m IM, 200m Breaststroke, and sprint Backstroke. Amber wasn't going to let her take all the honours over the weekend though. Once the Freestyle began on Sunday morning the tide turned. A big 7sec win for our girl in the 200m (2:40.67), and half a minute over the other 9 year olds in the 400m (5:38.92). Amber wound up her weekend as the fastest 9 year old in the 200m Backstroke too; 3 secs ahead of her big rival for the weekend.

Overall Amber couldn't quite stop the BAGCATs award going to London, she'll have to make do with runner-up. But we look forward to these two meeting at Nationals in the next few years.

Back in 2004 at the Athens Olympics, James Goddard finished 4th in the 200m Backstroke. Most of you will remember the Stockport ITC swimmer repeating that feat in the Delhi Commonwealth Games last year, as well as adding Gold for the 200m IM. Well Saturday morning he was up against Nic Grainger (Spa) in that second event. James won the heats, Nic qualified for finals in 4th.

The IM finals were held immediately following the afternoon warm up and Nic pulled out a big Long Course PB to take Silver in 2:17. Okay the big names from Stockport only stayed for the heats and dropped out of finals, but a great experience for Nic none the less.

200m Freestyle: another event, another Olympian up against Nic. This time it was the turn of Michael Rock - you'll remember him beating Phelps at the duel in the pool a year ago at 200m Butterfly. Clearly looking for stronger domestic competition, Michael swam Butterfly through the 200m Freestyle to finish 4th. Nic was hot on his heals for 6th place in 2:02.77 - another big PB for him (the age difference: 23 to 16). Another Silver in the 100m Breaststroke and Bronze in the longer version rounded out Nic's weekend highlights.

We had a strong showing in the BAGCATs awards too. Joining Amber as runner-up was Luke Shpylka (SAS) in the 14 years. Some strong Freestyle swims helped enormously: 200m 6th; and 400m 5th. Before the 100m heats he stated that he was going to swim a 58. He'd only gone under the minute Long Course for the first time the month before, but was determined to drop another second on Sunday.

Well swim 58 he certainly did - twice!
Fifth place in the heats (58.72) then faster in the final (58.35) just like you're meant to do it.

Mark keeps everyone waiting for his first NQT Sub 60 club for Jamie Luke wasn't the only one swimming fast Freestyle in the 14 years either. Jamie Clarke (Arm) put away his games console for long enough to surprise both Coach and Team manager in the heats of the 100m. His objective was to join Luke in the sub-60 club.

He turned in 29.10.

Now swimming wisdom suggests that you're going to come back slower than you went out. Over 100m that's usually by about 2sec; the dive considered good for a 2sec advantage. That's how it worked for Luke: 28.00/30.72; and the eventual winner from City of Sheffield, Alexander lenthall: 27.69/30.03. In fact, a quick skim down the results from the heats shows that everyone going out on 29 finished slower than 1:00. Even a few of those turning on 28 finished on the wrong side. But Jamie likes to be different!

A blistering 2nd 50m pulled him from 14th to 8th, grabbed him a spot in the final alongside Luke, and set a new PB of 59.24! Dubious pacing, but an excellent swim, and a massive Long Course PB from just a month ago.

We mentioned Joe's Saturday morning 1500m earlier, and he was in fine form at Derby too. Gold in both 100m and 200m Backstroke, and a Bronze for 200m Butterfly earned him 4th place in the 12 years BAGCATs. Following in his Backstroking footsteps a year below, and hunting his first National Qualifying Time was Mark Beech (Spa). A teeny weeny second too slow on his first attempt for 2011. He'll keep his Coaches and parents biting their nails a little while longer; we're sure he's doing it on purpose.

Another high BAGCATs placing went the way of Heidi Smith (Spa) in the 13 years. No medals, but solid swimming through a range of events across the weekend to earn her 3rd place overall. Keeping her company was Caitlin Dixon (Arm) whose 100m Butterfly PB was broken on the way to qualifying 3rd fastest for the final.

Another fine 200m Butterfly for Finleigh Solid weekend of performances for Heidi Speaking of Butterfly, we had another Bronze medal in the 10 years 200m. Finleigh Dukes (SAS) dropped over 10sec for a huge Long Course PB to go with the 20sec time drop to finish 5th in the 400m Freestyle. Proving the rule that the more times you do the tougher events, the more confident you get, and the faster you attack them.

All told, some fine performances for a mid-cycle meet.

There seems to be some kind of Quote of the Meet competition going on among the parents up on the balcony. Maybe chlorine fumes affect people differently at higher altitudes, or maybe you just had to be there listening to the rest of the conversation. Either way we're promised it was hilarious when Marcia, eyes swimming around her head, told her fellow Loud and Prouders: "I haven't got a clue". While everyone was still recovering from this shocking revelation, she apparently backed up her argument by being unable to finish her next sentence: "But if I had a clue ...".

Rest assured, shenanigans pool side are far easier to understand!

Saturday Morning Time Trials

15 Jan: Many of you will be aware that the rules are changing regarding entry to Yorkshire Championships and most other big Championships too. No longer will athletes be able to submit their own expected entry times. Instead entries will be taken directly from British Swimming rankings. Essentially, this means that if you don't have a time on the ranking system, you won't be accepted for an event.

That's a problem that's easily solved for 50m and 100m; most licensed meets cater for those. At 200m things start to get a little tricky unless you're on the ball and are sure to enter a wide range of such events through the season. 400m and above however, things get quite tough, and it quickly becomes apparent that many can fall in to a chicken and egg type situation - especially the late developers. Traditionally, events such as 800m and 1500m Freestyle are first raced competitively at Yorkshires (after a time trial to ensure they meet the standard) but that will no longer be an option. Open meets offering these events are extremely rare and as most licensed events must now take the fastest entries (also off the rankings database) it's almost impossible to get a first attempt in a licensed environment to get on the system. Without that first attempt, you'll find it tough to get accepted, and so on, and so forth.

Second fastest boy of the morning: Elliot Fastest girl of the morning: Caitlin Recognising this problem, for 2011 only, YSA are allowing entries for 800m/1500m Freestyle off the back of time trials. Only 800m/1500m Freestyle - no other event! Every other swim (and 800m/1500m in subsequent years) will need to be qualified for at a licensed meet within 8 months of the entry date.

All of that puts an awful lot of responsibility on the shoulders of athletes and parents to make sure they enter a good mix of events throughout the season to enable them to keep competing in every event! At Dartes, we expect our swimmers to have a crack at every event on the programme (not all at the same meet of course), from 50m sprints all the way through to the 800m/1500m Freestyle; and the 100m, 200m, and 400m races in between. So plan your season wisely, decide which events you're going to enter at which meet (not just your favourites), and have back ups for difficult to enter races too because you will get rejected occasionally. Do not expect Coaches or Team Managers to handle all of that for you, there are far too many athletes, and not enough coaches!

Cleary then we need as many contesting 800m/1500m at Yorkshires this year as possible. The objective: to get a good, solid time on the rankings system so you can enter NER Championships and hopefully other open meets through the year too. The importance of that can't be stressed enough. If you have a qualifying time, enter the event, and get on the rankings system!

With that in mind, at 6am this morning we threw at the swimmers some impromptu Time Trials. A half hour warm up saw 18 lucky swimmers selected to prove their worth while the rest cheered from the side or continued training. An hour later, 11 of them had recorded qualifying times, and a few others were complaining that they hadn't been given the chance; that's ambition for you. What used to be seen as a scary distance swim is now being attacked with determination and confidence.

Remember: both 800m and 1500m are events where swimmers can make huge improvements each time they swim through improved technique, skills, fitness and pacing. Well done to all 18 swimmers today (and the others who've already qualified) for appyling themselves well and swimming strong.

AthleteEventTimeConverted to LCQT

Valiant effort by Georgia Up and comer George had a good bash at the 1500m Anyone in Phase 4 or Phase 5 who didn't get the chance to trial this morning, but wants to have a crack at it next week, needs to speak to their Coach during the week. Most of you have done 800m timed swims in training so you should have a good idea of what you can achieve. Before you'll even be considered however, you need to know your fastest 800m time to date, plus your Yorkshire Qualifying Time (converted to Short Course), and be prepared to convince your coach that you have a realistic chance of hitting the required standard!

For later in the season we are examining the possibility of running a series of licensed intra-club meets to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get on the rankings database. In the meantime, make sure you take the opportunity to enter as wide a range of events as possible at meets this season.

Meet the Swimmer: Hannah Miley

15 Jan: As London 2012 gets ever closer, we thought it would be nice to introduce you all to the likely stars of the Olympic swimming pool and showcase some of the World's finest athletes. To get things underway, from up the road in bonny Scotland, here's Garioch's finest ambassador Smiley Miley (courtesy of her Team Arena promotional video).

A key member of Team GB heading towards the big show down, Hannah was crowned 400m Individual Medley European Champion last year in a time that left her leading the world heading in to 2011.

7 Yorkshire SC Records for 2011

13 Jan: At the start of 2011, Dartes own 7 Yorkshire Short Course Boys Records in addition to a few other British and European standards. That's quite an achievement and should inspire everyone else in the club to aim for such lofty heights.

Dartes' oldest Yorkshire Record still standing: Greg Viercant, 1995 After 15 years, Greg Viercant (Arm) still holds the 50m Butterfly record for which the certificate can be seen on his own dedicated page. In a bizarre twist of fate, Greg's record was beaten in a relay split at the Inter Counties meet back in October. Being a relay split with a rolling start it doesn't qualify as a record breaking swim, but the boy responsible was our very own Richard Lee (Spa).

Another long-standing record owned by Dartes swimmers has lasted since 1996 when Sam Seddon (Adw) claimed the Boys 50m Breaststroke record. Do we have any up and coming athletes who fancy updating that Yorkshire Record in the next few years?

The other 5 Yorkshire boys standards belong to Max Litchfield (Spa). He currently holds: 50m, 100m, and 200m Backstroke and both Individual Medleys. Of course, Yorkshire Short Course Records are one thing, there are plenty more records to have a bash at. One of Max's records, the 200m IM is also the British Junior Short Course Record. In disability swimming, [Name Removed] (Adw) also has a few British and European records to her name in the S14 category. Her latest was set at City of Leeds Christmas Cracker where she smashed the previous 200m Backstroke standard set by Holland's Marlou van der Kulk.

Just a little inspiration for you all, in case any were needed. Why not set your immediate sights on our own Club Records.

Congratulations Blaine Key

Newly qualified Level 2 Coach: Blaine Key 10 Jan: Congratulations to Blaine Key who recently qualified as a Level 2 Coach. In addition to being part of the coaching team at Minsthorpe Marlins, Blaine also assists JDS Coach Kevin Nicholas on a Sunday afternoon. We hope to see Blaine on deck at Dartes even more in the future.

Blaine has also been working hard for Dartes behind the scenes with his attempts to gain sponsorship for the club. We hope to bring you more news about his endeavours in this field over the next month or so.

Congratulations on your Level 2 Blaine, next stop: Level 3!

England Talent

7-9 Jan: It's time for another England Talent Camp and for 2011 it falls to Louise Graham, Head Coach of Gallica (and Daniel Silwinski), to run the level 2 camp that Coach Wallace attended. Five sessions at Leeds' John Charles Centre challenged the young athletes with improving underwater skills (streamlining, Butterfly kicking and breakouts).

Louise highlighed some new research that had been presented to her regarding Breaststroke underwater work and the fastest place to add the one legal Fly kick.

"3rd option and slowest is towards the end of the pull,
2nd best option is actually no kick at all,
Ideal postioning of the fly kick is as soon as the hands part on the pull.
The fly kick should be a small body flick kick rather than the huge kick that many Breaststrokers have been doing, as this increases resistence.

Coach Wallace spent the weekend watching and learning The weekend went well and included land work by Matt Cook from the English Institute of Sport. He did a lot of work on shoulder and leg stabilising exercises. Wendy Coles was in for the ASA to talk to swimmers about drug testing and the possible side effects of substance abuse. She also highlighted some very interesting sites that may be of interest or just to ensure swimmers don't take anything on the banned list. Some substances can be found in every day medicines that are available over the counter at chemists. Indeed, many doping violations reported recently have been for inhaler medication or cold remedies.

Global DRO is an online reference to ease checking medications against the WADA banned list. Checking is always good practice. It's not an accepted excuse to say: "Well I didn't know it was banned" you need to get in to the habit of checking to make sure it isn't.

Healthy eating was ensured for those participating swimmers during the weekend, with a carefully selected menu of jacket potatoes, chicken or fish, and vegtables and salads. Dessert came in the form of fruit salad. This being a Talent Camp with some BIG young athletes taking part, you can imagine that all the swimmers ate mountains of everything.

We did some work on stroke efficiency on the Saturday, with emphasis on the importance of stroke counting and fly kick counting to ensure technique is holding up and to produce good quality approaches to turns and finishes.

On the last session we did work on relay takeovers. it was very evident that many programmes don't pay enough attention to the various types of relay takeovers; these really need to be worked on from a young age and practised regularly. Although with so few meets offering team events, it's easy to see why these skills are neglected.

Once again, Max was in with Oldham Coach Lee Holland and the other IM guys. Although Max and Coach Wallace didn't get much chance to interact over the weekend (helping athletes become more independent is one of the purposes of the camp) Max later told Coach Wallace that he took a lot from the experience and enjoyed working with the other swimmers.

Here's some examples of the work done by Max and friends.

Max at Nationals Friday night kick set:
400 max effort + 6x50 alt drill and swim
2x200 off 4:30 + 6x50 alt drill and swim
4x100 off 2:30 + 6x50 alt drill and swim
They performed the set Long Course instead of Short Course like the first camp in Manchester. This seemed to prove much more difficult, especially for many of the swimmers in Short Course programmes who have very few Long Course opportunities. This type of set is very different Long Course and it is surprising how much impact the reduced turns have on overall time.

There was also a set of 40x50s:
16 as 1 hard-3ez off 1:00
12 as 1 hard-2ez off 1:15
8 as 1 hard-1ez off 1:30
4 as all hard off 2:00
Max held low-mid 29's on back (Long Course). His best competitive Long Course 50m last year: 29.23! Coach Holland mentioned that he liked Max's attitude, when he started struggling and hit a low 30, he was beating himself up about it and instantly jumped back to 29's again. This is important for any swimmer wanting to be successful, to have the ability and drive to set your own aspirations high, and do everything you can to achieve them! Don't just expect things to happen for you. Do everything you can to ensure they will.

On the whole it was another successful camp and hopefully the swimmers and coaches learnt a lot to take back to their programmes and enjoyed the experience.