News March 2019
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
National Qualifying Window Opens
24 Mar 2019: The last weekend in March saw the national qualifying window open. Suddenly things got real and swimming fast counted for more than just PBs and pride. Swimmers with ambition had just 9 weeks to set times ranked in the top 50 nationally. The top 25 would get selected for British Champs at Tollcross in Glasgow, the next best 25 English athletes would be invited to English Nationals at safe, familiar Ponds Forge (800/1500 Freestyle was slightly different with 18 and 15 invitees respectively).
Historically we've used the Sheffield Premier meet to open our qualifying account. Just as often we've suffered ridiculously high rejection levels as everyone in the country heads for the first meet in the window en masse. We had hoped it was just the allure of Ponds Forge - "Fastest Pool in the Country!". So for 2019 we made the decision to travel south, hopefully avoid the crowds, and contest the highly recommended Wycombe Premier meet.
It turns out it wasn't Ponds Forge that attracted masses of entries to Sheffield Premier every year, but rather the status of first meet in the window. Alas, Wycombe was flooded with more entries than the organisers knew what to do with, and a little rejection drama ensued. Eventually Friday night of the meet arrived and everything ran like clock-work - a very well run meet and a nice facility - we're likely to return in some form.
The swimming performances were a mixed bag. Travelling to unfamiliar locations can have unpredictable outcomes - one of the reasons for travelling to new places each season. The quiet Friday night was a relaxed introduction to the meet for our distance queens. Callie Ramshaw (Edl) dived in to the 800m Freestyle first and dominated her heat. A near 5sec PB over her previous best set a month earlier at Yorkshires. A 1sec PB at the 400m half way mark for a 2 in 1!
Having insisted she would never do an 800m Freestyle again after Animal Trials in November, Chantelle Waugh (Arm) made Friday night special with another dominant 800m heat performance. Again, a near 5sec PB, but this time from nearly 3 years earlier which just made Friday night even better. Just like Callie, she went through 400m on her PB and set the tone for the rest of an outstanding weekend.
When it comes to preparing for Nationals, it isn't just about swimming fast. Although English Champs is usually at Ponds Forge, go higher than that and you often have to compete in unfamiliar surroundings - this year Glasgow, next looks like being the Olympic pool in London! This travelling brings challenges of its own that need to be overcome.
- long car journey
- unfamiliar bed in the hotel
- tempting bad choices for dinner in the hotel
- inconvenient breakfast time unusual breakfast choices
- intimidating unknown facility
- competitors you know nothing about
- unfriendly marshalling room
- everyone else seem to know each other, you're alone
- swim down with odd things going on around you
One of the reasons we chose Wycombe was to introduce all those things before the big meet arrived. Some we expected to handle the change of environment and didn't; others we expected to struggle but just got on with racing. Either way, it's an experience to learn from and be prepared for next time.
The Medley girls dominated their heats even if times weren't quite where they wanted them. A Gold for Madison Johnson (Arm) in the 200m, and Silver in the 400m, both with good PBs. Callie a smidgen away from her 200m best. Hannah Newnham (Arm) a 400m Bronze to set a time likely to squeeze her in to English. Chantelle just outside the medals in both (4th and 5th) but times which should set up her qualifying campaign well. Between them, heats were won and Dartes caps were looking strong in the pool.
Chantelle couldn't stop swimming fast. 4 out of 5 big PBs, and only 0.21 shy on the 5th. Nor could she stop winning heats. As predicted by her half way split in the 800m, her 400m equivalent dropped over 5sec. Another performance likely to send her to English in the summer. Likewise the 200m. For an opening weekend, that could very well be 5 events qualified for English out of 5.
Maddie was doing similar. Her 200m Butterfly saw a 6sec PB, and 2:31 might just be enough to squeeze in to English Nationals. As might the 5:20 400m IM and the 2:29 200m IM. Time will tell as the next couple of months shuffle the lists around viciously.
Although not PBs, our other 200m Butterfly girls set times which should be enough for English qualifying too. Molly Chambers (Drn) on 2:25.80 is probably enough after a very difficult season. Callie's 2:28 is likely good enough, but a scheduling clash with the 1500m Freestyle might make that a moot point anyway. Hannah's 2:32 might not get her there, but she will swim much faster than that in the next few meets. For the boys Ajay Scott (Arm) convinced himself there was no point swimming the 200m Fly last thing on Sunday. Then he convinced himself that maybe there was. The result: a 2sec PB to go 2:15. There was definitely a point in doing that! It will comfortably qualify for English, but a few more seconds will be needed for British.
The remaining boys managed to snatch the odd PB, but travelling appeared to get the better of them (and many of the girls too). Cohen Stephenson (Spa) won a medal of each colour including Gold for a solid 200m Backstroke which will probably see him at British. PBs aren't always necessary within the window, his 100m Backstroke of 1:05 might also be enough for Glasgow (although he should beat that before end of May). A silver medal winning 200m IM is likely to qualify for English nationals too, despite being a second away from his best. Of course, hitting PBs is the best way to qualify, but setting any time is important at the first meet, just to put yourself on the list and take the pressure off.
Overall, lessons were learned from the weekend for next year.
- It's important to set fast times heading in to the qualifying window.
This season's early months were focused on improving general fitness within Phase 5. We entered the qualifying window with relatively weak times on the rankings, but ready to smash them. For this period next year we need to make sure every important event has a fast PB set before entries are submitted! We will have a better starting position for 2020.
- There will always be rejections within the window.
Rejections are unavoidable.
Too many swimmers chasing too few spots at meets makes the qualifying window unnecessarily stressful for everyone involved. It will only get worse next season, as a qualifying week is set to be removed. Somehow, the powers that be consider this to be a good system - so we're stuck with it for the foreseeable future.
- First meets in the window will be over-crowded.
Accept that the meets on the opening weekend of the window are going to have huge rejection lists. Set strong times before their entry deadlines to give yourselves the best chance. Don't panic if you're not accepted, the later meets will receive significantly fewer entries and offer better opportunities to swim fast. NER Champs fall a week before the window closes next year, giving guaranteed swims at exactly the right spot!
- Travelling is a skill we need to develop.
It's no good being able to swim fast in Yorkshire if we can't swim fast away from home. Embrace competitions in new places, enjoy travelling the country and seeing new pools. We will be looking at adding chaperoned meets when we can to make this a cheaper exercise.
Time for the Kick Test
5 Mar 2019: Here we go again...
The first round of Phase 4 test sets for cycle 2 are upon us. Leading the way and wrestling her crown back was Cerys Thomas (Adw)
There's some good improvements made over the squad but don't be fooled, under 7mins is good, under 8mins is acceptable, anything over 8mins and there's plenty of work to do! That's slower than 2mins per 100m (or 1min per 50m). So set yourself a training target of being inside 1min for every 50m of kick you do in training - and don't let yourself fall outside that. Be determined and next time we do this set you'll surprise yourself.
|Pos||Name||Date||Rep 1||Rep 2||Rep 3||Rep 4||Avg||All Time|
|1||Cerys Thomas||5 Mar 2019||6:55||6:49||6:59||6:59||6:55||18 (18)|
|2||Paula Mellor||5 Mar 2019||7:01||7:12||7:25||7:00||7:09||27 (14)|
|3||Nicholas Honeybone||5 Mar 2019||7:16||7:12||7:25||7:26||7:19||39 (36)|
|4||Cody Watkinson||5 Mar 2019||7:32||7:32||7:38||7:32||7:33||42 (42)|
|5||Kate Challenger||5 Mar 2019||7:22||7:13||7:50||7:51||7:34||43 (43)|
|6||Melissa Moreno||5 Mar 2019||7:40||7:39||7:39||7:21||7:34||45 (45)|
|7||Ella Calverley||5 Mar 2019||7:20||8:16||7:30||7:26||7:38||51 (47)|
|8||Emma Mitchell||5 Mar 2019||7:33||7:39||7:49||7:51||7:43||53 (53)|
|9||Megan Wood||5 Mar 2019||7:29||7:44||7:57||7:52||7:45||57 (57)|
|10||Jesse Goodwin||5 Mar 2019||7:46||7:42||7:39||8:35||7:55||63 (56)|
|11||Jack Torrington||5 Mar 2019||8:20||7:39||8:19||7:35||7:58||66 (67)|
|12||Jessica Wilkinson||5 Mar 2019||8:34||7:49||7:54||7:51||8:02||72 (72)|
|13||Amelia Paul||5 Mar 2019||8:17||8:17||8:10||8:00||8:11||76 (76)|
|14||Erin Napier||5 Mar 2019||8:44||8:05||8:15||7:51||8:13||77 (75)|
|15||Greta Highfield||5 Mar 2019||8:19||8:31||8:26||8:18||8:23||79 (79)|
|16||Dzulija Karnevska||5 Mar 2019||8:06||8:17||8:31||8:44||8:24||80 (68)|
|17||Violet Sykes||5 Mar 2019||8:45||8:53||8:03||8:12||8:28||81 (81)|
|18||Mila Hughes||5 Mar 2019||8:24||7:51||8:53||9:04||8:33||83 (73)|
|19||Lucie Savage||5 Mar 2019||8:26||8:55||8:38||9:24||8:50||90 (51)|
|20||Grace Blair||5 Mar 2019||8:46||9:12||9:05||9:24||9:06||93 (93)|
|21||Casper Watkinson||5 Mar 2019||9:05||9:12||8:59||9:24||9:10||95 (95)|
|22||Alexander Robinson||5 Mar 2019||9:06||9:15||8:47||9:32||9:10||95 (78)|
|23||Charlie Finch||5 Mar 2019||9:04||9:13||9:05||9:53||9:18||96 (94)|
|24||Harrison Maskrey||5 Mar 2019||10:12||9:10||8:59||9:17||9:24||96 (96)|
|25||Jack Kelsall||5 Mar 2019||8:42||8:52||9:04||X|
There's a lot of history buried within this set now. It was first run back in 2011, so the rankings (right hand column) are now an honest look at how good your kick is.