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News September 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

Welcome to Team FINIS

30 Sep 2019: Remember those FINIS Backstroke wedges we had funding for back in August? Well since then we've been negotiating a support package with the "coaches' favourite" equipment manufacturer. We can proudly announce that on Monday morning we signed up to become part of Team FINIS for the next 2 years. This comes after a couple of months examining options behind the scenes (including a rival manufacturer's support package).

So what does that mean?

Firstly, the coaches get their hands on some nice fancy technical equipment. FINIS is well known for its innovative gadgets, snorkels, paddles, etc. We have a few new toys in the post. It also means our members get a nice 15% discount on FINIS kit of their own - provided they purchase through NESS Swimwear (our usual supplier). There will also be some form of support for our meets too, but more about that nearer the time.

Perhaps the highlight, especially for those who qualify, is that those highly ranked athletes heading for British Champs could be in line for a couple of free FINIS tech suits each season. These FINIS suits come highly recommended. They'll even throw in a fitting session for you to try them out before deciding. No obligation of course, if you'd rather stick with your current suit that's fine too.

FINIS is best known in the swimming community for its innovative research and design. The Swimmer's Snorkel is probably the best known item, being the first such snorkel to be front mounted to allow use during swim training. Today, front mounted snorkels are common place and recognised as the paramount tool to improve a swimmer's technique.

In return FINIS becomes our aquatic equipment supplier of choice and we would urge you to consider their products when replacing existing kit. To be fair, we usually did anyway.

Biggest Ever Winter Yorkshires

29 Sep 2019: If we start by stating that this weekend just gone generated the biggest Dartes medal tally from a weekend at Yorkshires, you'll understand why we've missed quite a bit from this report. A big medal tally could just be explained by a big club or two missing the contest early in the season, but the over-crowded poolside suggests everyone was there who should have been. It wasn't just medals either, 8 Dartes age-group records were smashed along the way (and we do mean smashed) - testament to the quality on show.

Historically, Winter Yorkshires was held over a single weekend for all age-groups. A limited range of 100m events and 200m IM were squeezed in, limiting the number of medal chances on offer. Then in 2016 it was split in two: 12 and unders one weekend, 13 and overs another weekend. Suddenly a wider range of events were added - more medal winning opportunities!

So let's get the disclaimers out of the way first. There are a lot more medal chances this weekend than any other weekend of Yorkshire competition. 10 events per swimmer (50m+100m stroke, plus 200m and 400m IM). At this level of the sport, that's a lot of racing packed in to a couple of days. That said, you take the opportunities as they arise. Give Dartes the option of netting a sack full of medals, we'll rise to the occasion.

Our previous best for a weekend was 35 medals in February of 2015. By comparison, only 6 events per athlete were on offer alongside finals. It's important not to get carried away - too much.

But enough of keeping everyone's feet on the ground, let's see what happened.

So we know what you're all thinking.
This was all down to Luke and Callum, right?
Wrong!
Event 1 saw 9 year old Kiera Binns (Adw) win the first of her two Freestyle Golds. Later would come a 100m Butterfly Silver, and another two for Backstroke. Her all-round ability also earned her a Bronze in the 100m IM. 6 medals is only 1 short of the total Luke Gilliver (Drn) could celebrate, so a fantastic achievement by Kiera.

The next event and the theme continued in the boys 50m Freestyle. Thomas Staniforth (Adw) Bronze for the 9 year olds on his debut with Dartes. Following him, Jenson Owen (Edl) did the same in the 10s.

Then to the 12 year old boys and the flood gates opened - on Breaststroke of all things. Three boys in the top 5, with Callum Broadhead (Arm) for once getting the better of Nicholas Honeybone (Arm) at 100m to win Silver and Bronze. Luke was only a half second behind for 5th. Not the Gold, Silver double act we usually think of as a dominant display, but 3 top 5 placings and 2 medals in a single event is fantastic.

From that point on we were treated to the Callum and Luke show. It was only the 50m Breaststroke (Bronze for Nicholas) and 50m Butterfly (Gold for Callum) where Gold and Silver didn't go to Callum or Luke in some order. Between them, Callum grabbed 5 Gold and 4 Silver, to Luke's 3 Gold and 4 Silver. Nicholas also got in on the action with a pair of Breaststroke Bronze. Fully half our medal tally came from those three.

Easy to assume it's a weak age-group across Yorkshire then, but you'd be wrong. Six future internationals have set 12 year boys Dartes records that still stand today; admittedly long course are tougher than short. All three of these boys were busy smashing Dartes records this weekend; 7 out of the 10 events contested - truly brilliant.

Probably the biggest of all went to Luke, knocking Greg Viercant (Arm) from the top spot on 400m IM. Or maybe it was Callum doing the same to poor old Greg in 100m Freestyle in an astonishing 58.83. Luke was only 0.05 behind Greg's time in that event too. In fact, We're waiting for the British Rankings to be updated - we suspect it'll make fun reading.

Finally those rankings were updated ...

RankQuantity
1st8 events
2nd6 events
3rd3 events
4th-10th8 events
Dartes 12 year boys SC rankings

We'll enjoy those rankings while we can, because they won't stay like that for long - the target has been set, the rest of the country will come hunting. Our boys are in a good place at the moment though.

Our sole remaining girl on the Regional Talent pathway put in some solid performances too. Ella Calverley (Edl) snatched 3 Bronze medals from her 8 races, 6 of which saw her place top 5. She was there or there abouts across the board. Similarly our representative on the County Development pathway was showing his class too. Jesse Goodwin (Adw) earned himself a Silver in 50m Butterfly and Bronze in the sprint Freestyle. 6 top 10 finishes for him too.

Another of our young boys was beginning to stake his claim to follow in Jesse's footsteps on the talent programme (and of course Callum, Luke, and Nicholas before him). Jenson Owen (Edl) picked up medals in Butterfly and Freestyle and inserted himself on the Dartes all-time lists in strong positions. Silvers for 50m and 100m Butterfly, were backed up with another Silver for 100m Freestyle and Bronze in the sprint version. 6 top 5 finishes for him on the day, but a couple of 3rd placed rankings on the Dartes all-time 10 year olds lists.

Towards the end of day 1 we had more success in the 10 year olds, this time the girls. Grace Burton (Arm) turned 3rd fastest at the 50m mark, but managed to claw her way home for the Silver medal. Just like Jenson, that earned Grace a spot on the Dartes all-time list too, in at number 5. Between that, her 9th placed 50m sprint, and the 200m swum at Hull in July, Grace now has a spot on all 3 short course Butterfly top 6 lists.

Our 11th medal winner of the weekend had to wait until the final 9 year olds event of the weekend for hers. Aimee Keefe (Spa) joined forces with Kiera in the 100m Freestyle to deny the usual Leeds domination. Where Kiera won Gold, Aimee brought home the Bronze (Leeds in Silver and 4th).

We've clearly missed a lot from the weekend, those were just the potted highlights. Overall, some excellent swimming from our young guys showing off the hard work being done by Assistant Head Coach Jordan and Development Coach Harvey and the athletes in their squads.

The Kicking League

19 Sep 2019: So here's a new thing we're introducing for Phase 5 - we may get Phase 4 in on the action too (there are some quick kickers down there!) We've been trying to increase kick speed this season as it's something we neglected in favour of other things last time. The objective is to hit 1:30 consistently for a 100m kick set. Developing the foot speed required for that over shorter distances is where we've started - Phase 5 did around 16 fast kick sets in their first 2 weeks.

We're up at 3 rounds of 8x50 this week. Clearly we need to be sub-45sec at 50m to have any chance of going 1:30 for the 100m. Here are the ones averaging under 50sec throughout the Backstroke version.

Note: average times are the important factor. Over the Backstroke sets we've done so far Ben Wright (Arm) has been consistently fastest, with Ella Bainbridge (Arm) not far behind. We have however, had Ajay Scott (Arm) and Callum Broadhead (Arm) dipping in to the high 30s for occasional reps. It'll be interesting to see how this early season speed kick work reflects on our standard 4x400m kick test that will be re-appearing for Phase 5 shortly.

NameR1R2R3
Ben Wright414140
Ella Bainbridge414142
Ajay Scott434141
Cohen Stephenso434243
Callie Ramshaw434444
Daniel Bailey444546
Callum Broadhea484545
Hannah Newnham474745
James Robinson464747
Frankie Ness474747
Zackary Merritt474846
Molly Chambers464847
Daisy Purchase484846
Madison Johnson464849
Marise Garbutt464948
Abigail Kelsall484847
Backstroke: average 3(8x50) times

Talent Camp Season

17 Sep 2019: The back half of the year is traditionally talent camp season. The best swimmers from around the country get together as different age-groups at a variety of venues to learn and mingle. It's also an opportunity for the nation's top coaches to learn new techniques, share ideas, and see what swimmers from peer clubs look like in the training pool. As you can see from the table below, there are various levels to these camps, and it gets progressively more difficult to remain on the pathway.

ProgrammeLed byQtyAge Range
County DevelopmentCounty79211 year olds
Regional DevelopmentRegion28812 year olds
National DevelopmentSwim England25013-14 year olds
National Event CampsSwim England9015-16 year olds
International CompsSwim England4018 year olds
SE Performance SquadSwim England2022 years and under
Podium PotentialBritish Swimming3015 years +
PodiumBritish Swimming2415 years +

This weekend just gone saw our swimmers and coaches involved at the County and National Development levels. On the Saturday, Head Coach Dave Cuthbert travelled to Huddersfield to observe the Swim England Phase 1 National Development Programme. It was a great opportunity to check up on the 13/14 year olds from the North East (plus a few from the North West and Midlands too). Seeing the level of skills performed in training and the quality of land work being delivered was important to keep Phase 5 on their toes. The exercises performed during these camps will be finding their way in to our land programme this season too in an attempt to make our athletes the best prepared they can be. Madison Johnson (Arm) was also taking part at this level of the pathway, but joined the Midland's version of the camp in Chesterfield. For the athletes it's a good opportunity to work with unfamiliar coaches, so getting away from the same-old faces from the North East is a definite bonus for her. Whereas the North East camp had well known coaches from Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Tynemouth, Tadcaster, and Newcastle, plus one from Manchester, the staff (and swimmers) at Chesterfield were largely unknown for her.

Next weekend Dave is travelling to Catterick to act as a lane coach for the Regional Development Programme - the 12 year olds. We have 4 athletes on that camp so it'll be interesting to see how they stack up alongside their regular competition. For Dave, it's a return appearance on the talent pathway after an absence of some 6 years due to work commitments.

For 2019 though, we have all 3 lead coaches working along the pathway. Previously we've had 1 or 2 coaches selected, but this is the first year to have all 3 - quite an achievement and a reflection of the hard work being done throughout the programme. Our Development Coach Harvey Williamson made his first appearance at the County level in Harrogate this Sunday, alongside our veteran County camp coach Jordan Allerton. In the pool with them was Jesse Goodwin (Adw). These camps take the form of 2 pool sessions working on skills (such as IM turns and relay take-overs), plus land training techniques, and an educational workshop of some kind. Generally, everyone returns home having learned something new and gaining motivation for the weeks and months ahead.

You can keep up to date with Talent Programme selections in the Honours section.