News August 2014
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
National Youth Champonships, Days 5 and 6
9 Aug: Day 5 at National Youths saw the Championships debut for the ever popular Oliver Richardson (Edl). Squeezing in to heat 1 of the 200m Breaststroke, he managed his 3rd fastest time ever, in a year where he's dropped nearly 8% from his PB. For a 17 year old, that's a pretty big chunk of time! That placed him 38th overall.
In the morning Joe Litchfield (Spa) and George Scatchard (Spa) also contested the 100m Backstroke heats. Joe cruised in to the Semi-Finals 5th fastest. Despite a sizeable PB, George didn't quite join him finishing 29th.
Our only evening swim was Joe's Semi-Final. As expected he cruised through that one too, climbing up one place and going slightly faster (as you're meant to do from heats to semi's - so no risk of Coach Wallace ordering press-ups for that one).
The next morning Georgia Wright (Arm) dived in for the 400m Freestyle heats. Slightly down on her PB she finished 37th. Right behind her were the two girls from Kingston upon Hull who joined us in Mallorca for our training camp last year, Jace and Shannon. All three within half a second of each other.
We also had a boys team competing in the 4x100 Medley to close the session. Our 15/16 year olds (plus Oliver) are still a bit too young to compete against the big guys, but swam fast for 25th spot.
And so to wrap up Youth Nationals, the final finals session contained just Joe's 100m Backstroke final. A half second PB could only earn him Bronze after an exhausting week of racing. All of that left Dartes in 11th place overall (the boys were significantly higher on their list, but it disappeared before we could check it). Another successful Nationals campaign.
National Youth Champonships, Day 4
8 Aug: Friday promised to be a glorious day for Dartes at National Youth Championships. Having already scored a 1-2, Gold-Silver double in the 400m Individual Medley, the boys were back in the shorter version. But first we had the morning's heats, and the first appearance at Nationals for Natasha Crow (Arm).
Heat 3 was all we had to wait for and an outside lane for Tash. She swam it in her customary way: out fast and hang on (30.79, 35.93, 38.59, 42.02). We would recommend learning how to control that a bit more, but her 3rd fastest time ever in 2:27.33 for 28th overall is a good first appearance at the big meet.
Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) returned for a 100m Freestyle heat and was slightly off his PB (by 0.04sec). 13th spot got him a semi-final berth though. His morning's work done, off he went to prepare for the Medley showdown with Joe.
The girl who loves the number 18 returned for 200m Backstroke. A semi-final spot was the order of the day, but could she beat the dreaded 18th place? This time she could, by 0.19sec Shannon Dodson (Adw) touched the wall in 17th! Now she'd beaten her previous barrier, what would she pull out in the evening?
The evening came around and Jarvis finished his 100m Freestyle as first reserve for the final. Unlike Shannon's late call up earlier in the week, there was to be no withdrawal this time, so 11th on more or less the same time as in the morning, was his final position. Shannon however, having freed herself from 18th position, grabbed the bull by the horns and almost matched him. Her best ever finish at Nationals left her 12th overall. Oh so close to her first final but next year she should be in a much stronger position!
To complete the warm up acts prior to the grand showdown, Joe had the ever so easy 200m Butterfly! Fastest qualifier, but with arch-nemesis Luke Greenbank just half a second behind, and BoKirklees golden boy Kyle Chisholm a finger nail behind him, it would be a tough warm up event! In the end he gave the boy from Cockermouth too big a lead and had to settle for Silver.
Eight finals later it was time for the show down!
Kings of Medley!
Unlike in the 400m version, this time the field stayed close.
1st and 6th on the Butterfly;
5th and 3rd on the Backstroke;
1st and 3rd on the Breaststroke.
The lead Dartes swimmer changing each 50m, but the other not far behind. Jarvis pulled out a lead on the Breaststroke that looked insurmountable, and Joe added his customary sprint on the Freestyle. Gold went to the only 15 year old in the final - Jarvis. Silver to Joe who earned himself a 1sec cushion down the final 50m.
For our Gold medallist it would be his only PB of the week. It was a pretty special one to get though - a new British Age-Group Record! He sliced 0.03sec off the old record set by Team GB Olympian Ieuan Lloyd in 2009.
After that, the Joe and Jarvis double act were sitting happy in 3rd place on the Mens Points table.
National Youth Champonships, Day 3
7 Aug: Day 3 saw the start of Medley campaign number 2. The boys 200m IM. It was the first event of the morning and but for South Yorkshire rival Cian Senior from City of Sheffield Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) would have cruised to fastest through to the semi-final. And we do mean cruise! Behind him in his heat (lanes 4 and 5), Joe Litchfield (Spa) backed off massively on the Freestyle to qualify 9th - a busy day ahead for him.
That busy day continued a few events later with the 200m Butterfly. Again, cruising through to the semi-final, no bother, 8th fastest and 2sec slower than PB for Joe. The word efficient seems apt. Easy to the 150m turn, another big underwater to bring him up to the leaders, and a final 50m sprint for home. 2nd in heat from nowhere at the final turn. He'd be repeating both those 200m events in the evening.
It was the 200m Butterfly semi first that evening, and not so efficiently this time. Faster than the 100m Champion Luke Greenbank, the centre lane would be Joe's for the final. He Touched in 2:04 and lowered his Dartes Senior Record by 2sec in to the bargain - letting everyone know what would be in store tomorrow night!
Struggling to make a similar impression on the Freestyle events this year, Jarvis swam slap bang on his 200m PB in the final. 7th place in an event he won as an age-grouper the year before. Maybe that back had taken its toll on his season! Or maybe the double age band was having the desired effect and toughening up the young youths prior to Senior swimming. Either way, with the Medley semi-final still to come, we'd soon find out.
But first, today's busy-bee had the 200m Backstroke final to contest. Could Joe improve on last year's 5th place? He certainly could! If he was tired from his long day it didn't really show. A PB by over 1sec to lower another Dartes Senior Record. A Bronze medal to add to his collection. On that note, it's worth pointing out to our younger athletes that Joe's first National medal came just last year (and then only a Bronze)! It seems odd today, but Joe has never won an Age-Group National medal. The Dartes ethos is that it doesn't really matter before Youths anyway. Better to build the training base and perfect the skills so they're ready for you to use at 15/16 +.
National Youth Champonships, Day 2
6 Aug: Day 2 at National Youth Championships started with a pleasant surprise. A quick peek at the medal table and which club was sitting on top with 1 Gold and 1 Silver? Doncaster Dartes and Millfield school tied on 19 points each (Dartes ahead alphabetically). Meaningless after one day of course, but fantastic to see anyway.
Event 1 looked like it might help keep us there too. Joe Litchfield (Spa) qualified 3rd fastest for the 200m Backstroke semi-final that evening. His rival in chasing British Junior records last year, Cockermouth's Luke Greenbank, was fastest and ahead of Joe by 1sec - all to swim for! Further down the field, George Scatchard (Spa) reached his 2nd National semi-final, squeezing in to 20th spot! His best result was at age-groups in 2012 where he finished 15th at the 100m. Could he match that this evening?
Shannon Dodson (Adw) returned for her more favoured 100m Backstroke. Desperately trying to beat that 18th place she keeps finishing on, she squeezed in to the semis 18th fastest!
Our final event of the morning was Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) in the 200m Freestyle. Just like day 1's 400m IM, he didn't seem particularly concerned about the time. Instead he cruised through to the evening's semi-final in 20th place. One thing was for sure, that would improve over the next day and a half! But by how much?
Over lunch time Georgia Wright (Arm) pulled out a small PB over 16 lengths to earn herself a top 10 finish at 800m Freestyle. 9th spot moved her up the Dartes all-time medal table to 31st. Above the gaggle of NER Champions who have yet to squeeze in to a National final. Her time of 9:08.86 improved on her Senior Dartes Record set at Zonal back in January.
First event of the evening was the 200m Backstroke with Joe and George. Slightly faster than heats but the same position (3rd) was good enough to put Joe in lane 3 for tomorrow's final. George didn't quite match his heat time in 19th place, but it was still faster than he'd swum before today.
Miss "I love being 18th" Dodson didn't disappoint in her 100m Backstroke semi-final. If only we'd bet the house on it.
Then it was time to watch Jarvis tease us a little bit more. 20th spot in to the semi-final, 8th spot in to the final! So far, no PB for Jarvis in these Championships. Was he struggling with the iffy back, or was he just saving the special performance for a special moment? Tomorrow might be the day we find out.
National Youth Champonships, Day 1
5 Aug: National Youth Championships could hardly have started better for the Loud and Proud. By the end of the evening's finals Dartes were sitting on top of both the Medal Table and Club Points competition. It all started fairly quietly. 10 events went by on Tuesday morning before a Dartes cap was seen in the pool. But then our power couple of Joe Litchfield (Spa) and Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) appeared in the later heats of the 400m Individual Medley. They were ranked on the programme as fastest and next fastest for the 15/16 years age group. That despite Jarvis still being 15 (fastest) and Joe only recently turning 16 (next fastest).
11 heats in total, and at one point commentator Ross Davenport (former Commonwealth Champion) had to remind his side-kick Sarah Price (another former Commonwealth Champion) that there were two more 15/16 year olds to come in the later heats. They weren't the only interest for the Dartes faithful though. Heat 11 would see Jarvis, but heat 10 contained not only Joe (lane 8), but big brother Max Litchfield (Spa) now with City of Sheffield (lane 4). If that wasn't enough, there was also a young man from City of Manchester Aquatics next door to Max (lane 3) who we invited on training camp with us back in 2010. At the time Tom Paine had been a Cleethorpes boy and spent many a happy Saturday morning with us at Adwick.
By the time heat 10 arrived, none of the 15/16 year olds had set times that particularly scared us. 4:38 looked good enough for a final berth, Joe was entered on 4:32 with Jarvis on a 4:29. But we've been waiting for a day when the Litchfield brothers could go head to head and this was that day!
A storming last 50m of Freestyle put them 1st and 2nd in heat 10. Joe with a 4sec PB to reach finals as fastest qualifier. It seemed to take the commentary team the entire race to hesitantly decide that the top 2 might in fact be brothers.
Next heat and Jarvis did what only Jarvis can. He did enough to get through in 4:35. Joe would take lane 4 for the evening's final, Jarvis lane 2 - but with a 6sec cushion to his PB!
They weren't our only medley action for the morning. Shannon Dodson (Adw) was going in the 200m IM too. From lane 0 in heat 2 she pulled out a small PB to squeeze in to the semi-final. She started out as 1st reserve, then got promoted after a withdrawal. Her best previous Nationals performance was 18th in 100m Backstroke semi-final last year. She now had a chance of beating that position.
And so to the first evening of finals and semi-finals.
It was Shannon up first for the 200m. Once again finishing 18th in a half second PB. Then up stepped the boys.
1st at the 50m was Jarvis, 0.06s behind was Joe. The order had reversed by the end of the Butterfly, and Joe carved out a 2sec lead by half way. There was a period where City of Leeds' Callan Jack got within 0.01sec of Jarvis on his weaker Backstroke, but after that it was all over. 4:28.53 gave Joe the Gold, Jarvis Silver in 4:30; Bronze and the rest at 4:32 onwards. A brilliant display of Medley swimming.