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News June 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

British Swimming, Glasgow Junior Meet

7 Jun 2021: After just 7 weeks (and a couple of days) of training Ella Bainbridge (Arm) travelled to Glasgow for the British Swimming Junior Meet last week. Similar qualifying standards as set for British Championships in April made this an extremely tough meet and one of the selection meets for the British Junior Team set to compete in Rome next month.

After a Silver medal at Nationals in 2019 we had hoped Ella would be in the running for that team. Alas, the COVID pandemic 7 months later and associated training disruptions since then had made that unlikely, and with British Championships (another qualifying meet) taking place just days after Ella's return to training that wasn't a feasible meet for her either. And so, with just a week remaining in the qualifying window, Ella made the trip to Scotland.

7 weeks in to training, Phase 5 has just got up to full volume and has just started a big endurance block. It's not an ideal time to be preparing for big races, and with 15 weeks without meaningful competition we weren't sure what to expect either. Getting close to PBs was the aim, Junior Team qualification was no longer on the agenda as some of the competition had been able to start training months earlier.

First up was the 200m IM on Thursday afternoon. Racing got off to a great start with a 50m Butterfly PB to lead it out (30.08). In fact Ella managed to stay under PB pace right up to the final turn, where a lack of training contributed to a very tough final 50m of Freestyle. Finishing just half a second off her PB with a very gutsy swim set up the rest of her week nicely.

On the Friday there was the added complication of not being able to swim down between 100m Breaststroke and 200m Butterfly. There were many COVID regulations in-play (swimmers isolated in specific hotels, social distancing, and everything else you can imagine), but the tight qualifying standards and invitation only status of meet entries made for low numbers of competitors and quick turn rounds limiting swim down/recovery opportunities.

Her Breaststroke heat was an all Yorkshire affair. Ella in 4, CoSheffield in 5, and CoLeeds in 3. The first 50m was under PB pace the same as the previous day had started. But this time she held it down the 2nd 50m and touched in 1:14.80 for a 0.76s PB. That was also a Dartes 17 year olds age-group record by nearly 2sec.

A few minutes later she was back on the blocks for the hardest of 3 events, her specialist 200m Butterfly. Again taking Lane 4, she started strong and was under PB pace at turn 1. She's been working on front end speed quite a bit, so the 3rd fast start out of 3 was good to see. Pushing hard down the 2nd 50m she turned at the half way mark almost a second under PB pace. The 3rd 50m began looking very strong too, with a strong drive back towards the leader (Ella was in 2nd place at this point). At the final turn she was still under PB pace and strongly placed in the heat.

With the lack of training, the final 50m was always going to be hard work. That was known beforehand, and so it proved. As with the IM the previous day, she set herself up brilliantly at the last turn, but we'll need to wait a few more weeks before the training allows her to race home strong. A 2:20 is a solid early season swim for Ella and another Dartes 17 year old age-group record by 4sec.

Overall, 3 very positive performances in a difficult situation after only 7 weeks of training. This should be a boost to all those about to start Level X. You can all get out and race fast over the next few weeks.