News April 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
A New Chapter for Dartes
8 Apr 2021: It's fair to say that the last few months have been challenging for all of us. Here at Dartes though, the hard work behind the scenes has continued, or maybe even stepped up a gear.
The coaching team have enjoyed a never ending stream of educational Zoom talks with top international coaches. Our Head Coach Dave Cuthbert has been invited to be part of the Swim North East coach mentoring programme (twice actually, the 2020 version didn't really happen, but it kicked off again for 2021 this last month). He'll be working with GB Olympic coach Russ Barber along with three other coaches from the region. Part of that will involve the group visiting Phase 5 sessions a number of times, and reciprocal visits to their programmes.
Then the committee led by Chairperson Gail Burton, along with Assistant Head Coach Jordan Allerton have been busily incorporating our new competitive stream into the club.
On behalf of the club, we wish them a warm welcome into the Dartes fold.
Up until yesterday we were expecting to return to training on Monday 12th with our previous, emergency pandemic training schedule. That had been confirmed just two weeks ago, but yesterday that all changed and a comprehensive new schedule was thrown our way. We've been locked in talks with DCLT (our facilities operator) for many months, discussing future plans and how we can each be of benefit to the other. Our major concern for the past five years has been securing adequate pool time for our performance squads since leaving Hall Cross school, and the possibility of finding a permanent base for Dartes; a home if you like. A pool where we feel we belong, and we're not treading on the toes of our partner clubs.
We're delighted to be able to announce, that Rossington Community Swimming Pool will be that home for our afternoon and evening sessions (early mornings remain at Adwick). This came as a surprise to us yesterday, but following the merger with Rossington RASCALS it makes perfect sense long term. At the time of writing refurbishments are currently being completed. We're led to believe the decorators will be busy all weekend and hopefully finished for our arrival Monday evening. We were promised a tour before opening, but that is now looking unlikely (but watch this space). We have no idea what to expect, and alas, they didn't entertain suggestions for the colour scheme.
Our new pooltime looks very colourful in all its glory. It's slightly fewer lane-hours than the combined Dartes-Rossington-Sharks had before, but bringing it all together in one pool allows us to make much more efficient use of that space.
It is extremely challenging to fit a programme of this size anywhere. Scheduling is significantly easier now that the water time from all three groups involved (Dartes-Rossington-Sharks) can be manipulated lane by lane for the best fit. As stated above, we've managed to achieve more with less pool time. We also keep our coaches together in one location which makes covering holidays, illness, and talent camp absences much easier. Hopefully it works as well in practice as it looks on screen.
A massive thank you is owed to DCLT for helping to make this a reality (unexpected though it was). A more detailed breakdown is available for each squad. Be sure to check that detail if you're Phase 4/5 as not all sessions will be available for a few weeks. Emails are on the way out to each squad over the course of Friday - each squad has slightly different instructions.
This represents an exciting new chapter for Dartes, but the hard work is only just beginning.
The Dartes name is synonymous with Performance Swimming around the North East. It's what we do, and definitely where our focus remains. As of Monday though, we become a "full pathway club". We now have a Competitive Stream (A, B, and C Squads) to go alongside the Performance Stream (Phase 1-5). We will have links directly into DCLT Learn to Swim, which we're also delighted to hear is returning to Rossington CSP - "our pool".
For the most part, the Performance Stream will train separately from the Competitive Stream, the former will of course continue its role as Doncaster's performance programme for all our feeder clubs. Our lead coaches will be on-hand to spot talented young swimmers or talk to swimmers and parents about the options available and what they entail.
Older athletes from either stream (or indeed parents) will have clear opportunities to step into coaching (or even train as competition officials). Our links with DCLT may well open up paid teaching opportunities as well. Enthusiastic older swimmers are always in demand for such roles, and doing so benefits the club by producing higher quality swimmers in Learn to Swim.
Our coaches will be able to move freely between squads and share expertise wherever they wish. We will do whatever we can to assist our coaches further their coaching careers whatever level that might entail. That includes encouraging new coaches poolside (parents or ex-swimmers alike). As mentioned in the opening paragraphs, we are well connected around the Swim North East world and will push our staff in the right direction to further their chosen career in the sport.
Now that we're operating as one, the real work of building an ambitious club can begin. The pandemic has thrown a few complications at our plans, but from Monday we start in earnest. We hope you all jump up and contribute to the success it will become. For those who haven't volunteered for anything previously, playing even a small role in our future will be exciting and rewarding. Whether you try your hand at coaching, judging, team management, or even training as lifeguards (we desperately need more lifeguards), we have expertise in all those areas and would be delighted to have you on board. Help to make this your club.
A central location to help our role as Doncaster's Performance Programme.
There can be no doubt (among those of us who remember) that Dartes suffered after its decision to move away from Hall Cross school in the centre of Doncaster five years ago. It was a necessary move, but it still hurt, and forced us to take water time at the extreme edges of the Doncaster borough (and even outside its borders in Minsthorpe). We've always kept one eye on travel distances when considering new pool time, as we know it's one of the two big deterents to joining the Dartes Performance Stream (the other being early mornings).
We measure travel times between pools as a rough approximation for the distance Doncaster's swimmers need to travel (each pool being considered as the centre of each feeder club's catchment area). The travel times below are taken from google maps, going the fastest route, pool to pool. Minsthorpe is included for historical reasons. As suspected, the numbers backup the claim that Rossington CSP is one of the more central locations since the Great Yorkshire Way opened.
For those who have never visited Rossington CSP, you can find the usual postcode and interactive map in the Locations Section of this website.
As a club we are growing in scope and ambition, yet will not forget our Performance Heritage.
Our coaching team is keen to make the training environment at Rossington CSP the best it can be. The committee is eager to support that and our close relationship with DCLT will help achieve that. We already have equipment being transferred to the new site from our various previous locations, but we have a shopping list for more. Being located largely in a single location opens up a number of exciting ventures which we will announce in due course as discussions take place with potential partners.
This truly is an exciting time for Dartes and a fantastic opportunity for all our members no matter which stream best suits your needs. Let's get off to a flying start next week, and begin making memories and training traditions to make Rossington CSP our Pool of Dreams.