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News August 2021

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

Day in the life of a Swimmer

27 Aug 2021: The new season officially starts when we switch to September. Just to remind everyone that your crazy lifestyle isn't as unique as you may think, here's a look at the New Zealand version. Same early mornings. Similar big, scary sets. A few tears, lots of muscle soreness, copious amounts of desperately trying to fit everything in.

In fact, the only difference might be: "morning tea?"

Be proud of what you do.
Swimming is the toughest sport there is.
Always strive to be the best you can be.

Entries for Winter Yorkshires

21 Aug 2021: Level 2 Meet Our entry deadline for the Winter Yorkshires Competition is as follows:

Real Deadline: Friday 17th September, 5pm.
Late Qualifiers Deadline: Tuesday 21st September, 5pm.

The Late Qualifiers Deadline is only to be used by those competing at Beverley who manage to achieve new Yorkshire QT's at that meet. Only those events qualified for at the Beverley meet will be accepted after the Real Deadline, the bulk of a swimmer's entries must be submitted by 5pm Friday 17th.

Those of you waiting for September Sprints should submit your Yorkshire entries in the days following that meet - there is no reason to leave your entries to the last minute.

Those competing at Beverley should submit their Yorkshire entries as-they-are by the Real Deadline. Any additional qualifying times achieved at Beverley can be entered before the Late Qualifiers Deadline. We won't be processing faster entries from Beverley (those will automatically get used), only newly achieved qualifying times.

There is a lot of work involved in processing meet entries, and no one wants to repeat that process multiple times due to people ignoring deadlines. Deadlines should always be assumed to be 5pm on the date stated unless informed otherwise. Please be fair to those doing the behind the scenes work and get your entries in early.

Entry deadlines will be strictly enforced going forwards.
Make sure you adhere to them.

The full list of meets we will be attending is shown in the Club Info section: Event Calendar (half way down the Club Info menu). That will show our deadline for each of the meets we're attending and which squads the meet is suitable for. Ignore the meet's official deadline that you see on the info packs, meets are often full long before that date.

Due to the pandemic, this season's meet calendar will be rather chaotic. We don't yet know which meets are happening, and which have been re-scheduled, etc. As soon as decisions are made, the calendar will update.

New Role for Coach Jordan

6 Aug 2021: This is to let everyone know that Asst Head Coach Jordan Allerton has accepted the Aquatics Lead Development role within DCLT. This means that as of the middle of next month we will lose Jordan's coaching expertise from our poolside and would like to thank him for the tireless work he has performed for us in recent years. We are delighted that his enthusiasm for Doncaster Swimming will continue to help build the Doncaster pathway to a stronger future in his new role.

Obviously, that will leave a hole in the coaching team at Dartes. As of today, we are starting the recruitment process to employ a full-time replacement for Jordan, and in addition, now that we're emerging from the pandemic, a part-time coach to support both Coach Dave and Coach Jordan's replacement.

The long-term view of Doncaster Swimming should improve greatly having Jordan in his new post which will only be beneficial for the future of this club and also our partner clubs through the pathway. We wish him the very best in the role, and look forward to working closely with him in the future as we had with his predecessor at DCLT.

As with any time a popular coach decides to leave and take up a new opportunity, there will be much disappointment among our swimmers and parents. That is always the case and is perfectly natural.

When asked for comment, Head Coach Dave added:

"I've been through the process of replacing 5 Head Coaches and an even greater number of Assistant Coaches over the years. Emotions always run wild for a week or two, but our young swimmers soon forget previous coaches and business continues as normal with barely a ripple. This will prove to be no different to previous times."

Rest assured that our athletes will remain in good hands until a replacement is selected. Head Coach Dave will be taking a more active role with Phase 4 over the next few weeks. This is both to ensure the quality of coaching continues, and to be in a strong position to guide Jordan's replacement from day 1. He will also be temporarily covering any gaps between Jordan's departure and the new coach's arrival for Phase 4, alongside his work with Phase 3 and Phase 5.

We will be looking at the coaching roster for A, B, and C squads over the next few days to ensure those are not impacted by Jordan's departure as well.

Return to Racing at Festival of Swimming

2 Aug 2021: Finally, we're back on the blocks and racing ...

This weekend a small group from Phase 5 took what is now an unfamiliar trip down the M18 to Ponds Forge. It was the long awaited, and half empty, Festival of Swimming. Just like ourselves, most clubs made only a tentative appearance, with one prominent coach admitting: "We've advised everyone not to do this". For our part, we made the early decision to hedge our bets; Phase 4 and below would go to Beverley for the Barracudas' County Qualifier, while Phase 5 would bravely fly the flag at the Festival.

The obvious Covid restrictions were in place, with hot sticky face masks everywhere. Parents had to sit elsewhere and watch via the live stream - lucky them, a good excuse to go shopping or stay outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

We weren't keen to start back long course. It's a decision that seems to fly in the face of Swim England's own advice to coaches throughout the pandemic to start back gently. Especially so, as it's just one month shy of short course season anyway.

But all went smoothly. Referees, judges, and timekeepers were given their space poolside while the teams sat in the stands for a change. Marshalling was spread almost the entire length of the pool. The only real problem was the lack of swim down facilities and medals - both precautions were overkill from our perspective, but perfectly understandable.

On to the racing ...

First up, congratulations to everyone competing this weekend. After so long away from proper competition it was always likely to result in a lot of PBs, but the swimmers still had to deliver on that - and they did. That's a much harder task for older athletes who often go most of the season knocking off a few hundredths. Younger athletes benefit from various growth spurts which is why they see massive improvements all year round.

Once those growth spurts slow down or stop, all further improvement comes from hard training, improved technique and better skills. Which brings us onto the Coach's pick for best performance of the weekend.

Compared to some of the improvements seen, the time dropped by Molly Chambers (Drn) in both of her events may look fairly modest (1.68sec over 200m and 1.48sec over 100m). For an 18 year old however, those drops are big, and her two Gold medals for the 100m and 200m Butterfly double represent a return to form after a year or more plagued with injury even before the pandemic kicked off.

Her opening race was the shorter version, up against training partner Madison Johnson (Arm) on the opposite side of the pool for the final heat. Coach Dave knew both girls were capable of delivering PB's (fingers crossed) but wasn't sure if meet 1, race 1 would set the ball rolling.

An aggressive start was the order of the day ("Be first at the turn" became something of a theme on the 100s) and turning in 30.x set things up perfectly with sprint PB's for both. Molly's previous best of 1:06 was smashed, she jumped straight past the 1:05s, and landed slap bang in the middle of 1:04 - a 1:04.56 for Gold medal number 1.

For Madison, another Gold medal and PB in 1:05.28 marks her return to form after pre-pandemic illness destroyed her 2020 season. Whether her post-race smile was relief at leaving 2020's frustrating year behind or simply the excitement of being back racing we don't know.

The 100m Butterfly result was impressive enough, but Molly returned the next day for part 2. A 2:24 PB for the 200m never did her work ethic justice, but that's where it had sat since 2018. There was clearly a chunk of time to come off, and much more work ahead this year to knock off chunks more.

She went out a little slower than the day before in 31.28. Then almost matched her old PB at half way 1:06.58. Pushed the third 50m hard (as all tough swimmers do), and then largely kept the pace going as she chased down her other Fly training partner Ella Bainbridge (Arm) a couple of lanes across. Both girls won Gold in their respective age-groups.

A 2:22.44 was Molly's big prize to mark a successful weekend of racing. Those results also make her Dartes' 3rd fastest female Fly swimmer at 100m and 4th fastest at 200m. Overall a great job to win the coach's performance of the meet.

Just ahead of her on the 200m Butterfly, Ella came home in 2:21.46 to end her final meet as a Dartes swimmer before an exciting move to Mount Kelly. We wish her all the best for that adventure and hope to see her grace our lanes again during holidays. She leaves behind a club record in that event, a bunch of 15 year old age-group records, and managed to reduce further her 17 year olds age-group record at 100m Breaststroke. The latter also earned her Silver on the day, to go with another Silver in 200m IM.

The younger age group weren't to be outdone though. Following in the wake of our older girls, the next generation performed brilliantly on the 200m Butterfly too. Grace Burton (Arm) touched in 2:41.53 to take Bronze with a 27sec PB. Her 400m Freestyle was also good enough for Bronze and set the biggest PB of the day (51sec).

Switching to Breaststroke and Nicholas Honeybone (Arm) went 1:15.69 to secure Bronze in the 100m (an 8sec PB). The "First at the turn" mantra returned to give him a 50m PB at half way. His 34.43 was the fastest split in the race.

A busy schedule saw him achieve 6 PB's out of 6. The biggest of which came in the longer 200m Breaststroke, along with a Silver medal. That race actually provided 3 PB's in one. He broke his 50m PB at the first turn, plus his 100m PB half way through. Both of which he returned the next day to reduce further. It was an odd meet in that regard. After a year and a half of no proper racing it's going to take a while for results to return to sane normality.

She clearly wasn't impressed by the swim, but Megan Wood (Arm) won a comfortable Bronze in the 200m Breaststroke. That came just before returning to action to blast out a PB in the 200m Butterfly where she narrowly missed the medals to finish 4th.

Overall, 13 athletes contested 40 performances (above are just the medalists) and brought home 11 imaginary medals. Only 7 performances weren't PB's. A fantastic job by all, and we look forward to the rest of the club competing once the new season kicks off.

Full results can always be found in our Results Archive.

Note: medals weren't actually awarded at this meet due to Covid restrictions.