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News September 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

Farewell Photo Shoot

22 Sep 2021: Last weekend's Beverley meet was intended to be Coach Jordan's farewell meet, and the results did him proud. So to make up for him missing out due to illness, we had an impromptu photo shoot last night at Rossington CSP. Word must have got out because they don't normally turn up for training wearing team kit (or smiles). Any excuse for a team photo.

In his new role as Aquatics Lead for DCLT it's highly likely our very popular ex-Assistant Head Coach will pop back to say hello now and again. So be sure to keep training hard as he will undoubtedly be watching your results.

A Colourful Meet to Start The Season

14 Sep 2021: Our first meet as hosts since the pandemic kicked off was always going to be a nerve-racking experience for those running the show. With the late decision by John Charles Centre for Sport to barr spectators for both our Sprints meet on the Sunday, and the City of Leeds Sprint meet the day before, there was understandable disappointment from parents. On the flip side, that left the spectator gallery for the clubs to spread themselves out in comfort, instead of being crammed on the very narrow poolside.

On the whole, a successful single day meet that looked to be enjoyed by all.

First off, let's say how nice it was to be surrounded once again by the usual mix of local clubs. From our friends through the Doncaster Swimming pathway (Adwick, Dearne Valley, and Edlington); to nearby Scunthorpe, Wakefield, and South Axholme; and all the other regulars that frequent our meets throughout a normal year. Not to miss-out the familiar faces of Yorkshire's ever-popular bunch of meet officials who travel the county judging and refereeing most weekends.

It truly is good to see the sport back in action once again.

With Dartes swimmers spread between the host team and the other three Doncaster pathway clubs mentioned above, there's no way we can cover everything here. The Results Archive should contain all of our swimmers' results from across those clubs. Based on performances swum with Dartes, that archive highlights PB's and qualifying times achieved for next month's Winter Yorkshires. 68 of those performances swum this weekend (30%) qualified for Winter Yorkshires, around 20 of them for the first time. It also shows that Sunday's meet returned a 90% PB ratio when including first time performances. That is about as high as we've ever achieved at a meet - albeit entirely understandable coming out of a pandemic.

That archive also automatically generates our Club Records and Top 6 Performers lists. It's rare that a Level 3 meet such as this will generate much movement on those lists (we believe them to be an accurate reflection of the club's 40+ year history). That said, there were a few notable mentions.

Just last week Louie Nightingale (Spa) managed to make some major changes to his Butterfly which contributed to him jumping into the 13 year olds 50m Butterfly list at number 4. His 50m Freestyle also leaves him 5th fastest of all-time - one place above a certain Max Litchfield (Spa)! Those are his first appearances on the Top 6 lists. In the same age group for the girls, Greta Highfield (Ros) sneaked on at 6th for 50m Butterfly and 5th for 50m Breaststroke.

Then in the 14 year olds a name that is no stranger to the Dartes records. Between the pandemic and a horrible illness, Callum Broadhead (Arm) has been unable to train much this year - and race even less. A few Level X results a year ago looked promising, but since then nothing until Sunday. Tentatively dipping his toes back into competition, saw him snatch our 50m Butterfly record from Joe Litchfield (Spa) and fall just 0.09 shy of the 50m Freestyle record held by Max too. He made up for that by claiming the 100m IM record, along with his first ever qualifying time for Winter Nationals. That means 2021 is set to see the biggest group of Dartes swimmers compete at Winter Nationals since 2016, with Callum, Madison Johnson (Arm) and Molly Chambers (Drn) having qualified for the December headliner - well done all three.

That's enough of club records, let's get back to the meet proper.

It's not really appropriate for Dartes to compete in the Top Club competition in this meet, given that we target it more at our feeder clubs taking part. We generally only take a skeleton team of Doncaster's swimmers whose feeder clubs aren't taking part. So where possible, everyone swam for Adwick, Dearne Valley, and Edlington; but as Armthorpe, Spa, and Thorne didn't enter, we ended up with quite a large umbrella team for a change. That left us leading the Top Club contest at the lunch break, only to be overhauled by Scunthorpe Anchor in the afternoon. A well deserved win for them, being pushed all the way by ourselves and Adwick.

Further back, Doncaster's other represented clubs were locked in a battle of their own. Dearne Valley just pipped Edlington to 13th place with 118.5 points compared to 104.5. Congratulations to Scunthorpe though - we hope you like the trophy.

Looking at the Top Swimmers competitions, Doncaster had a lot of interest there too. Millie Dey (Arm) managed to add a Yorkshire qualifying time in Breaststroke to complete the full-house on the day and earn her top 9 year old girl. For the boys Jack Jones (Arm) romped home for the same award. The big test for both will come at Yorkshires next month.

In the 11 year olds, Kiera Binns (Adw) won everything wearing the white and blue of Adwick, just pipping Katie Wilson (Arm) to Top girl. Not far behind, Jessica Hubery (Drn) and Phoebe Weatherill (Edl) finished 4th and 5th overall wearing the blue and gold of Dearne Valley and the stingray green of Edlington. In the boys Harris Chapman (Ros) was runner-up.

It was a three-way battle in the 12 year girls, with Grace Burton (Arm) winning over Cazia Martin (Arm) and Jessica Eggitt (Ros) in third.

There is clearly a lot that hasn't been mentioned and so many fabulous performances on the day. One thing we like to look at, just for fun, is who got the biggest PB of the day (based on our results archive - faster times may have been swum elsewhere). That prize on this occasion goes to Lexie Goddard (Drn) wearing the blue and gold of Dearne Valley. From our records it's a 20sec drop on 100m IM from Level X a year ago.

Finally, thank you to all those clubs who competed. You all contributed to making this a very colourful return to competition for us all.

6 Selected for National Development Programme

10 Sep 2021: Six Dartes swimmers were selected for the Swim England National Development Programme yesterday.

Grace Burton (Arm), Greta Highfield (Ros), Isabelle Child (Arm), Megan Child (Arm), Nicholas Honeybone (Arm), and Rose Keefe (Spa). have all been invited on to Phase 1 of the England Talent programme for 2021/22.

It's a recall for Nic, having been selected for the County Pathway Programme in 2018. For the other five it's their first selection - straight in at the older levels of the programme which is quite an achievement. In store for them via Zoom this year will be both technical and soft skills workshops.

Swimmers selected for this prestigious national camp were identified based on national rankings. They will join other athletes their age from around the country.

It should be noted that Swim England attempt to inform coaches that their athletes have been selected. Those notifications tend to be sent to Doncaster's feeder clubs rather than our coaching team due to the way Swim England's membership system is configured. Unfortunately, there are occasions where clubs assume Dartes has been informed and the athlete's Swim England profile doesn't contain an upto date contact email address. That can mean people miss out, so please keep your profiles upto date (most swimmers never actually look at them). Please also fill in the athlete's coach's details with appropriate information.