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News February 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

Scores on the Doors

25 Feb: Anyone who has been around Dartes for a few years will tell you we love the numbers! Whether it's our feeder club distribution (Adwick 26, Armthorpe 25, and lowly Dearne Valley 3rd with 8) or the ratio of boys to girls (32% boys, 67% girls) if we can measure it to gauge improvement we usually do. Yorkshire Championships of course, gives us lots of ways to measure improvements.

MC P5 P4 P3 P2 P1 Total
[Needs Sorting] 0 0 0 0 0 5 5
Adwick 1 5 6 8 3 3 26
Armthorpe Kingfishers 1 7 12 2 1 2 25
Askern Spa 0 4 1 1 0 0 6
Dearne Valley 0 0 3 4 1 0 8
Don Valley 0 0 1 2 1 2 6
Edlington Stingrays 1 3 0 1 2 0 7
Minsthorpe Marlins 0 1 4 1 0 0 6
Rossington 0 0 2 1 0 0 3
Thorne Tigers 0 0 0 0 2 0 2
Total 3 20 29 20 10 12 94
Club Distribution February 2014

Officially there are 3 club competitions running through county champs. The top senior clubs contest the Yorkshire Bank Trophy. That usually goes to either City of Leeds or more recently City of Sheffield. Our prediction before the start of the 2014 champs would have been Sheffield - and without compiling the numbers, Coach Russ Barber's collection of Team GB hopefuls looks like a safe bet. The age-groupers then contest the George Lester Trophy. That one is even more clear-cut - it always goes to City of Leeds. Under the leadership of Coach Richard Denigan, the marauding yellow and blue army isn't about to lose that streak any time soon.

The third club competition is the most unpredictable. It's for the most improved team during the 3 weekend competition. Points are awarded for Gold (3pts), Silver (2pts), and Bronze (1pt) and the team with the biggest percentage improvement from the previous year is awarded the B&I Trophy. Dartes won that trophy last year for the 6th time, more than any other club (also 2011 and 2009). Going in to these championships, two clubs with new, big name Head Coaches looked like good bets. Coach Mark Lappin's Borough of Kirklees has been looking exceptionally good recently, and has a massive swimming development programme to back him up and keep his coaching team supplied with raw material. At the other end of the scale, tiny Cleethorpes, under the new leadership of super-coach Graham Bassi, looks set to finish in the top 5 again.

So far, after 2 of 3 weekends, our medal count has also improved from last year for a near continuous 7 years of improvement. Below is a very quick, compiled on the back of an envelope, and in no way guaranteed to be accurate, look at where the medals sit after weekend 2. In the interests of adding a little controversy we've also appended population sizes and approximate number of entries.

4Donc Dartes18241961302,402514
Medal tally after weekend 2

*We don't actually know what constitutes Cleethorpes and "District", so we've taken the figure for North East Lincolnshire which would seem reasonable.

Not a bad position for Dartes so far. Consider too that we lacked certain medal maniacs due to illness: Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) missed weekend one, Shannon Dodson (Adw) missed weekend two, while Simon Kliment (Arm) missed the 3 events for which he was ranked number 1. Our position could have been significantly higher! Illness affects all teams of course and you only notice your own. Some call it luck, but with good nutrition, improved cleanliness, and learning to generally look after yourself better, you can prove the maxim: fortune favours the prepared!

But we like numbers, so let's throw more at you. Here's a comparison of medals won during the first 2 weekends from the last 7 years. It obviously fluctuates depending on who starts and who leaves, but the general trend is clearly upwards. Judging by this year's total so far, even the departure for university of Max Litchfield (Spa) and the loss of 4 other members of the 2013 National Squad has been cancelled out by the next generation coming through. For anyone following the numbers as much as we do, those changes in squad personnel are roughly the same every year. One of our strengths is that our coaches have more stats and performance graphs at their finger tips than probably any other club in the country outside of a British Swimming ITC. Where a casual observer might panic at the loss of star swimmers, the stats show us exactly how far along the performance curve the next generation is - waiting, primed to take over.

Medal Tally from weekends 1 and 2

*Due to a different meet structure, the 2008 total is the entire medal count from Feb/Mar Yorkshires.

Now here's a bunch of numbers that we haven't seen before. We often hear it said that we rely too much on star swimmers to bring home our medals. We thought it was about time to put such claims to the test by comparing our stats with all the other medal winning clubs from the first 2 weekends. So here we have a list of those clubs, and a count of how many individual medallists each has. The first ratio is the obvious one, divide medals won by the count of medallists (Medals/Swimmer). The second ratio is Entries/Medal for the top 5 clubs so far.


* Just for the sake of this comparison we've grouped the Hull area clubs together.

The first thing we noticed was how similar the ratio is for each medal winning club. The table also suggests that as a club becomes more capable of winning medals, the number of medals won by individual swimmers increases (the ratio generally gets bigger as you climb the table). Nothing ground breaking or Earth shattering there, but it's interesting to see the figures.

We're not entirely sure the second ratio has any relevance. The higher number for BoKirklees probably just suggests they do a great job of encouraging kids to enter county level competition irrespective of their medal winning chances. Being a purely performance programme, we actually expected our number in this column to be much lower.

On first glance then, Dartes is no different to any of the other medal winning clubs in terms of medal spread through the team. Dig a little deeper though, and the spread of medals becomes quite remarkable. Take a look at how evenly distributed our medals actually were!

Phase 432103.2
Phase 52993.2

This is all premature of course. The day of sprints has enough medals on offer to tip things upside down after giving them a jolly good shaking. It's always nice for everyone to see where things stand heading in to that weekend though. We do like to draw attention to the competitions that otherwise go unnoticed by most of you (and then invent a few of our own).

For the parents on the balcony at Ponds Forge next month, we have one final table of numbers for you. As if the sprints aren't destined to be exciting enough, this might cause a few palpitations as the day goes on. Why not count down the medals as they happen, and compare with previous sprint days ...


Be sure to let out a "Whoop!" as each milestone is beaten.
Hopefully 2014 can be the best of all.

Magnificent Medal Maniacs at Yorkshires

23 Feb: It was an enormous task to write about Yorkshires this year so we handed over the website keyboard to Jo Wright and left her to it.

So many great achievements, and no matter how much effort is made, it is impossible to include absolutely everyone and everything. So before I start let me congratulate each and every athlete at Dartes on your swims and PBs (69%). You all did fantastic.

I would also like to begin a little differently today and welcome some of our younger/newer athletes onto the website. For some of you, these Yorkshire Championships were probably your first long course event ever. Maybe it was a little daunting for you, or maybe you just took it in your stride. Young Katie Stringer (Adw) had a superb double weekend. She won "Finalist" pennants in 4 out of 5 events; very well done to her. New to Phase 4, Lucy Pickard (Ros) also finalled in 2 of her events. Great to see also Callie Ramshaw (Ros), Ria Finch (Adw) and Leah Hague (Arm) at their first big long course meet.

Next up on my huge list of achievements is National Qualifying Times (NQT). Joe Litchfield (Spa) added 4 new ones to his list for the summer. Newly qualifying in both Breaststrokes, the nice short 100m Freestyle, and the animal of all animal events the 1500m. There's usually an unspoken competition between a boy called Litchfield and a boy called Parkinson around this time, to see who has the bigger list. So far Joe's winning that 10-8. Simon Kliment (Arm) is rapidly making himself look like an old National Squad veteran too. Would you believe his first ever qualifying time only came in December? Despite illness, he added another 3: 200m Freestyle and both Butterflies. Caitlin Dixon (Arm) is gradually increasing her programme for Nationals, and this time it was the turn of the big medley. Finally, an extra special mention to Laura Brookes (Edl) in the 100m Butterfly. Not only for setting the fastest time in the heats (1:07.99) to add herself to the 2014 National Squad, but that also claims a Dartes age-group record that had stood since 1994! All the more impressive considering she's just turned 13 and only set the 12 years equivalent 2 months ago.

Speaking of Dartes records, here are the others that got smashed over the course of the two weekends.

In what is turning in to a bad start to the year for Emma Parker (Adw), her 1990s standards continue to fall like dominoes. You've just heard about the two Laura's nabbed recently, then Gillian Clarke (Arm) stepped up to slice almost a second from her 11 years mark from 1992. Coach Dave is still importing results from that era, but between the hard work by him and Emma's dad Tony trawling through old results sheets, we think her best performances are in the database already. No retrospective changes likely in the future. The Machine hadn't finished rewriting the record books there though. The daughter of Edlington's Head Coach lost out too. Charlotte Squires (SAS) now sits 2nd for 100m Breaststroke. In the other Breaststroke, Gill exactly matched the record of India Marvin (Ros) for her 3rd of the fortnight.

Wait, we're not finished yet. Here's another 3. Georgia Wright (Arm) claimed the 200m Backstroke in the 15 years. Joe put himself in top spot in both the 15 year and senior age records for 200m Butterfly. Bradley Hurdiss (Drn) bravely lowered the 11 year olds 1500m Freestyle time and sneaked inside NER qualifying in the process.

I've saved the best until last, which is the huge medal haul Dartes brought home. Did a previous article mention something about it being the biggest ever before sprints? An incredible 61 medals!

19 athletes contributed to the haul; there must be some very proud parents out there right now. Joe and Gill were the stars of the show with a pretty impressive tally breaking in to double figures each. We've come to expect nothing less from them during February.

As already heard, Brad had a great weekend too.
We're used to hearing him say that he can't do Backstroke anymore - Gold!
This weekend he claimed his Breaststroke was amiss - Gold!
Please don't get him started on Freestyle - Gold, Gold, Silver!
Put them all together with Fly for a Medley - Silver!
We'll leave you to guess where that puts him on the BAGCATs rankings.

Dartes records these days are pretty tough to come by, so no surprise that the same names were winning medals - that's pretty much what it takes. Georgia won 3 Gold medals in 800m Freestyle, and both Backstrokes, there was also a Silver for the big Medley. Up an age group and Shannon Dodson (Adw) also won both Backstrokes, this time joined by Silver in the short Medley. Oswald Hood (Adw) made his mum incredibly proud and speechless winning Gold in 200m Breaststroke plus Silver in the 100m. She certainly wasn't speechless when Hollie Pinder (Adw) qualified for the British International Disability Meet though. Her screaming and dancing poolside wasn't repeated for her son - much to his relief!

Well done to Hollie and all of her coaches at Adwick for qualifying for the biggy.

Closing the Gold medallists, Caitlin won the 400m IM, and picked up a couple of Bronze in 200m and 800m Freestyle.

Winning Silvers ...

Despite going home ill before finals on the morning of day 3, Simon won 2 Silver medals in 100m Butterfly and 400m Freestyle. He also managed 3 Bronze medals. Uncharacteristically, Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) only managed 2 Silvers and 2 Bronze. He was another one struck down by some evil bug which kept him out of the first weekend and off colour for the second. As consolation, he was presented with the Adrian Moorhouse Scholarship Award for the second year running.

Newcomer to the Yorkshires, but with a family tradition to uphold, Charlotte Howard (Arm) won 2 Silver medals in 100m Backstroke and 400m Freestyle demonstrating her growing versatility. She also won a bronze in the longer Backstroke. It's extremely hard to make much headway on the Dartes medal table just from Yorkshire medals nowadays. She climbs 3 places to 54, but it seems harsh that Brad's 4 Golds only moves him up 2 spots to sit at 51. The highest climber was always likely to be someone who has yet to medal at Regional's as those medals take precedance over County's. In this case it was set to be young Ben Wright (Arm). "Bob" bobbed his way to Silver in Backstroke and wind-milled his arms to Bronze in 400m Freestyle. Not pretty, and leaving coaches pulling out what's left of their hair, but 10 year olds can get away with that - for a while at least. Oliver Richardson (Edl) gets a rare mention for a 400m IM Silver, and namesake Oliver Vodden (Adw) did likewise in the 200m Breaststroke. Harvey Williamson (Arm) marked a tentative recovery from a shoulder injury with another Silver in 100m Backstroke. Half a second ahead of him, the Gold medal would also have meant his first ever appearance at Nationals. We shall wait for next time.

Winning bronzes ...

Natasha Crow (Arm) won Bronze in 200m Butterfly - which was also her first major medal way back in 2011. Josh Reasbeck (Edl) repeated the feat for the boys - for the second year running. Casey Waugh (Arm) brought home another in the 400m IM. Last but by no means least Robbie Casson (Adw) took on an unusual role for him, that of Brad's wing man for 200m Backstroke. Our second medallist in that final kept the Dartes Backstroke tradition alive and kicking.

Final mention of this write up goes to the vastly improving Laura Brookes who swam 12 events over the double weekend and just missed out on medals. However, an NQT under her belt in 100m Butterfly and a new 13 years record for that very swim and 11 from 12 top ten placings definitely is worth a shout out - Go Laura!


1 Feb: As everyone knows City of Sheffield's Lewis Coleman managed to bring together the whole of British Swimming for a day to raise the profile of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. It was a massively successful day, not only because British Olympic medallists and former World Record holders formed the vanguard of an assualt on a Guiness World Record, but also due to the enormous fun everyone had while raising piles of cash for the day's charity.

If you were living in a cave for the past month or so, you can catch up on what the event was all about at the Swim 4 Leukaemia website. If you want to read about the day's successful World Record attempt by 100 British swimmers past and present, or maybe even listen to commentary of Lewis' final 100m, pop on over to the Pullbuoy website and do just that.

With Ponds Forge being a short trip down the motorway, and probably a little influenced by our close links with the City of Sheffield squad, many Dartes athletes went to lend their support. We even had last year's Dartes star Max Litchfield (Spa) among the mighty 100 selected for the task.

That wasn't all though. Among the official photo (click it for a bigger version) there were no fewer than 5 current or former Dartes athletes in view. There's a prize for the first person to email us identifying (name and position in photo) all 5 of them. For the rest of you, go and donate to Lewis' cause.

Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research