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News January 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

Gerty goes to Glasgow

26 Jan: A select few from phase 5 and Oswald Hood (Adw), who is soon to be part of Phase 5, spent the last weekend in January at the sweat Box for the Northern Area Zonal Meet. This meet is typically fast (combining the best from the North West and North East) and times to compete are around NQT in every event.

It was incredibly hot as usual and one of those weekends where parents go through a huge roller coaster of emotions when our athletes are going for National times and they miss out by a small amount of time.

Several times we had near misses. This happened to Laura Brookes (Edl) who narrowly missed out on her 100m Butterfly. Her mum was shouting from the balcony and couldn't sit still in her seat, and Laura was trying so hard and wanted it so much. Unfortunately Laura was blighted by a viral infection just the week before the meet and was not on form and still recovering. She still had a great swim and just missed her NQT by less than a second. Next time Laura!

George Scatchard (Spa) met a similar fate in his 200m Backstroke. He went out strong with a lovely long controlled stroke, and we really thought he was going to do it. Cheers and shouts from the balcony, but sadly he finished less than a second short of his NQT.

There were many great swims from the weekend from this high level meet. There were only 2 finals for boys, and 2 for girls. Either 15 and under for boys or 16 and over. For the girls, either 14 and under or 15 and over. That's all! It's really tough. Our Laura made 2 finals at just 13 years old, Shannon Dodson (Adw) also finalled in all 3 events she took part in. Os swam a cracking 200m Breaststroke and PBd by 5sec. Natasha Crow (Arm) was off form, blighted by what could be described as a painful jaw. Everytime she dived in the pool her jaw clicked and hurt, but with true "Crow" determination she battled on and had a go. Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) was another one that was ill and had to pull out of Sundays racing. From the Saturday though, just to prove his versatility, he managed to bring home 2 Bronze medals in 50m Freestyle and 400m Individual Medley (could they be more different).

Joe Litchfield (Spa) had the toughest schedule of the weekend with 8 events. In true "have a go Joe" style he finalled in absolutely everything. For his efforts he won 3 Gold medals in 200m and 400m Individual Medley, plus 200m Butterfly. The boy is an animal and an absolute joy to watch. He also won Silver in 200m Backstroke and a Bronze in the 100m version.

Star of the weekend had to be Georgia Wright (Arm) who was attempting British Champs times. She swam 200m Backstroke on the Saturday morning, missed both her NQT and British Champs times (which are similar) and also missed the final; 11th so no second attempt. On the Saturday afternoon having her NQT already, she swam the 400m Freestyle and missed the British Champs time by 2sec. Leaving for the day incredibly frustrated she swore that Sunday would be a better day!

Sunday morning was 100m Backstroke and she needed 1:06.33 for NQT and 1:06.31 for Brit champs. An excellent swim, incredibly strong, she swam the exact time she got at Nationals in the summer (1.06.69) to qualify 4th fastest for the final. Slightly slower in the final (press ups for her) with 1:06.86 left her frustrated again, just 0.38sec away. There was still one more event to go though, the last event of the weekend. Could she pull out something special in the 800m Freestyle at the end of a long, tiring weekend.

Having missed out on every event so far we had no great expectation of anything.
What can I say?
In true Gerty grit she knocked nearly 9sec off her PB from just 1 month ago and qualified for numerous things. The big one, of course, the Commonwealth Games Trials and British Champs in Glasgow in April. The other bonus was to achieve the time needed in 800m Freestyle to take part in the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (ASSE) Programme from September 2014. Way to go Gerty on producing such an outstanding swim from start to finish. Tightly paced splits of 34 seconds all the way through and an incredibly strong back-end only 3sec slower than the first 400m.

Wetone faster than ...

14 Jan: We're not a million miles away from Phase 4's targeted meet for cycle 1, so the final round of test sets are coming thick and fast. This week's was the longest running version, the 2x800m Freestyle. You might remember back in October we spoke about the record when this set was last performed in a 25m pool. In June of 2011 Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) matched the 10:10 standard of George Scatchard (Spa). Fast forward two and a half years and Georgia Whetton (Arm) blasts that out of the water with a 10:06 fastest rep and 10:09 fastest average.

That is now the undisputed squad record for this set!

Struggling to keep on her pace was Simon Kliment (Arm) in 2nd place. Struggling to match Georgia he might have been, but add both reps together for a 1600m time and he's still almost a minute inside Yorkshire qualifying - his target for Sunday's time trials. A minute inside even when including a full 100m lap of honour!

The difficult task there of course is convincing his mum to let him enter the 1500m in February - it's proving tricky. Might be worth pointing out that simply going the same pace as in this test set would have earned him a Bronze medal in last year's 12 year olds results (sorry Mat).

Another one doing great things with qualifying times was Chantelle Waugh (Arm). Continuing her blistering form from the weekend the Smurf managed to set an NER qualifying time on round 2 - shame we can't license these attempts; the ASA would no doubt object to having multiple swimmers per lane.

Pos Name Date 400m 800m 400m 800m Avg All Time
1 Georgia Whetton 14 Jan 2014 4:59 10:06 5:04 10:12 10:09 1 (1)
15 Oct 2013 5:09 10:28 5:09 10:20 10:24
2 Simon Kliment 14 Jan 2014 5:03 10:22 5:09 10:25 10:23 3 (3)
15 Oct 2013 5:37 11:26 5:22 10:53 11:09
3 Chantelle Waugh 14 Jan 2014 5:15 10:30 5:10 10:19 10:24 4 (4)
4 Rianna Hill 14 Jan 2014 5:14 10:29 5:09 10:22 10:25 5 (2)
15 Oct 2013 5:07 10:20 5:08 10:22 10:21
5 Oswald Hood 14 Jan 2014 5:15 10:34 5:12 10:31 10:32 6 (6)
15 Oct 2013 5:15 10:35 5:25 10:54 10:44
6 Corinne Hill 14 Jan 2014 5:18 10:39 5:13 10:30 10:34 8 (7)
15 Oct 2013 5:15 10:37 5:12 10:30 10:33
7 Alanah Hill 14 Jan 2014 5:23 10:42 5:19 10:43 10:42 8 (8)
15 Oct 2013 5:31 11:01 5:28 11:05 11:03
8 Tilly Arrand 14 Jan 2014 5:21 10:48 5:14 10:40 10:44 9 (9)
9 Kara Mayos 14 Jan 2014 5:27 10:54 5:21 10:53 10:53 10 (10)
15 Oct 2013 5:27 11:05 5:31 11:17 11:11
10 Bradley Hurdiss 14 Jan 2014 5:26 10:51 5:29 11:02 10:56 13 (13)
15 Oct 2013 5:23 10:52 5:28 11:02 10:57
11 Grace Litchfield 14 Jan 2014 5:29 10:56 5:22 11:00 10:58 14 (12)
15 Oct 2013 5:26 10:52 5:24 11:00 10:56
12 Lucy Pickard 14 Jan 2014 5:24 11:04 5:29 11:00 11:02 14 (14)
15 Oct 2013 5:55 11:57 5:51 12:01 11:59
13 Rebecca Christmas 14 Jan 2014 5:30 11:04 5:32 11:11 11:07 15 (11)
15 Oct 2013 5:19 10:45 5:30 11:03 10:54
14 Gillian Clarke 14 Jan 2014 5:34 11:05 5:45 11:10 11:07 15 (15)
15 Rebecca Allen 14 Jan 2014 5:31 11:21 5:32 11:04 11:12 16 (16)
15 Oct 2013 5:38 11:26 5:31 11:06 11:16
16 Rebecca Wright 14 Jan 2014 5:35 11:29 5:27 10:57 11:13 17 (17)
17 Charlotte Howard 14 Jan 2014 5:36 11:18 5:39 11:12 11:15 18 (18)
15 Oct 2013 5:42 11:19 5:41 11:17 11:18
18 Lauren Christmas 14 Jan 2014 5:46 11:35 5:44 11:34 11:34 19 (19)
15 Oct 2013 5:52 11:55 6:00 12:06 12:00
19 Emma Stringer 14 Jan 2014 5:50 11:49 5:39 11:30 11:39 20 (20)
15 Oct 2013 6:17 12:21 6:25 12:57 12:39
20 Robbie Casson 14 Jan 2014 5:35 11:31 5:53 12:01 11:46 21 (21)
15 Oct 2013 6:09 12:19 6:05 12:15 12:17
21 Ben Wright 14 Jan 2014 5:42 11:39 5:58 12:02 11:50 22 (22)
22 Oliver Vodden 14 Jan 2014 5:55 11:52 5:59 11:56 11:54 23 (23)
15 Oct 2013 5:55 11:54 6:47 14:09 13:01
23 Joe Sykes 14 Jan 2014 5:52 11:57 6:04 12:30 12:13 24 (24)
Click on the name to expand previous results

We often get asked what the last column in the table indicates. The first number tells you where today's performance ranks against previous attempts. Note the word previous! It doesn't include these results in the calculation, so the Hill twins both rank number 8 against previous attempts. The number in brackets shows where their fastest ever attempt ranks them (again, against previous attempts). So if both numbers are the same, this attempt is their fastest. Unfortunately, as we've changed pools a few times over the years, we currently only include this and October's results so far.

How many medals at Janus?

12 Jan: As meets go, the Harrogate Janus meet tends to be one of our biggest (in terms of entries), and most popular competitions of the year. Nearly 330 swims made us the biggest team poolside with most heats containing at least one Dartes athlete, usually more, and on a handful of occasions 5! A quick analysis of the results sheets tells us that hosts Harrogate only fielded 281 - just to give you an idea of the scale of our domination.

It's another measure of how much Dartes has improved of late. Those entries have jumped from fewer than 100 with a handful of medals to over 300; an average increase of around 43 entries per year since 2009. Progress on the medal front too, a single Gold in 2001, 18 in 2009, right up to 75 Golds this weekend - WOW! With such an increase comes substantially more headaches for coaches.

Embarrassed Birthday Girl The Shyly Assembling Choir Among those 330 swims we had a wide range of abilities too. From the likes of Simon Kliment (Arm) chasing National qualifying, all the way down to the youngest members of JDS hunting their first Yorkshire times. From those old veterans in their late teens to those barely 9 years old. It's a rare occasion where a substantial number from all our squads are present together.

To put that in context, the only other meet over the course of the season where we would expect over 300 entries is the Hull Easter meet. Even an afteroon at the Mets only contains around 230 entries from Dartes swimmers spread between all of Doncaster's clubs. As you can imagine, it makes for a busy, bustling atmosphere poolside. It also provides a rather good choir (assembling shyly right) to sing "Happy Birthday" to a bright red Amber Hardy (Adw). Whether that was a muscular glow post 200m race or sheer embarrassment we can only guess.

For race of the weekend, we had to wait until mid-way through Sunday afternoon and the final heat of the girls 200m IM. Four Dartes girls took the centre lanes (3 through 6). Entry times ranged from 2:46.30 to 2:46.75. It promised to be a close one.

Team Manager Jane asked: "who's your money on?"
Coach Dave replied: "Kara!"
An incredulous look was returned: "No chance, my money's on Chantelle, she won't let anyone beat her today!"

Oh dear, that assessment missed the underlying nature of the Medley. As everyone in Phase 4 upwards knows, it's the 3rd quarter that counts. The 3rd quarter in a medley also happens to be the odd one out - Breaststroke. We've all seen it, it apparently doesn't matter where you are after the Backstroke, if you're the strongest Breaststroker in the race you will probably find yourself at the front after the 3rd quarter. Pay attention next time, see if that's not true a good 80% of the time!

So for The Smurf to win such a close race, she'd need a lead before Breaststroke. Kara had already beaten her by 2sec at 100m Butterfly this weekend, such a lead looked unlikely. Close race it was going to be, but the odds looked stacked in Kara's favour. To see how the race worked out, we've added it to Dartes TV. Well done to all 4 girls, a cracking battle.

We had goals for this meet though (or Phase 4 did). How well did they do with those?

We talk a lot about getting the process right. Making sure you prepare properly for racing. Part of that is the warm up. Your focus needs to be on raising your heart rate and getting the muscles ready to work. Before diving in to the pool, dry land blood flow work is essential. The bigger the movement, the higher the heart rate, the better prepared your body becomes. We provide you with a basic blood flow routine to make sure everyone knows what to do. Beyond that, whoever is leading the activity on the day may well add extra bits. Either way, 10mins is the minimum time it should take, so make sure you arrive in good time to take part in that prior to the first warm up.

Awesome underwaters by Emma Someone needs a hair cut At Janus most of our swimmers were to be found in the marshalling alcove doing exactly that. Good job by all of you, let's make sure we keep practicing that during training and keep improving what we do at meets.

In the pool however, it's a different story. We're still thinking of ourselves as a small club. The numbers at the top of this article dispute that. Poolside at meets we're now one of the larger clubs, and we need to act like it. We can't fit everyone in one or two lanes for the pool warm up. Spread yourselves out. Instead of squeezing 20 girls in the same lane and getting nothing useful from the warm up, 3 or 4 across 8 lanes would be much better. Stop being aquatic sheep and start thinking for yourselves.

Goal number 2 was something we look very good at these days. Not just the stars in the squad, but everyone. 10-15m underwater starts were performed by the vast majority. We're still not confident enough to use the full kick-count that Phase 4 practice regularly - scared to go beyond 10m it seems. Even the JDS guys were getting stuck in and having a go - Team Culture!

Looking through Coach Dave's notes after the event, there's a great big * next to the 200m Backstroke of Emma Stringer (Adw). She was new in to Phase 4 in September, but has already mastered 13m starts and her feet are outside the flags consistently on turns. Excellent skills by her and a good example of what happens with a focused attitude to training.

Even on the bigger distances most of us are being disciplined and holding the distance. Through a 400m Freestyle distance off turns is hard work, but Lauren Christmas (Arm) was managing head to 6m most of the way through for a 30sec PB and speeding ticket. Tilly Arrand (Arm) was another one for a Silver.

Tough to find stand-outs when most performed extremely well. The key is the push and glide off the wall. Most of you (no matter what age or size) should be able to perform a push and glide to 4m without any loss of speed and without even kicking. Many compensate for a weak push (or no push) by kicking too early. Head to 6m or more is easy with a purposeful push! Worth noting, a push and glide of that sort of quality is one of the skills required to move through most reputable learn to swim programmes!

If the first two goals were achieved the third still needs a lot of work. Transitions - the bit between underwater fly kick and full stroke on top. We lose a lot of speed in a very short space due to weak transitions. For Freestyle, immediately the fly kicks stop and before the arms start, we need a rapid Freestyle kick. That carries the speed in to surface swimming. We also need to make sure the first stroke is done without breathing. Breathing on the first stroke kills speed!

All 4 of those goals require athletes to make a choice (the first one also needs parents to make a choice about arriving at the correct time). You either choose to be sloppy and not bother, or you choose to get it right - this time, every time. The tiredness of racing often affects those choices for the weak willed.

Champions, on the other hand, make Champions' Choices!

Pushing the 3rd quarter - Mini-Woffles Style Marshalling What else did we see this weekend?
We talk a lot about pacing. It's very rare that a Dartes swimmer has a lazy middle 100m to a 200m race ("push the 3rd quarter" is rammed in to every single one of them from a young age). That's equally true on the 400m Freestyle.

Mini-Woffles set the scene in the first event. Pushing the third 100m about 4sec faster than the second allowed Casey Waugh (Arm) to leave the competition for dead and earn her first speeding ticket of the weekend. It was like watching her change gear. Mary Christmas did much the same in a later heat for another speeding ticket. Rebecca Allen (Drn) repeated the process. And so on, and so forth.

Inexperienced swimmers tend to save themselves for a final flourish down the last length. Unfortunately, that always leaves way too much energy in the tank and you can't make use of it all. The objective is to keep the splits for the last 3 quarters as tight as possible. In terms of PB, you aim to be inside 3sec of 100m PB at the half way of a 200m race; and between 4-6sec from 200m PB half way through a 400m. Watch any international race (or just look at the results), the winners hold the pace in the 3rd quarter, the also-rans back off.

The younger boys were listening too. Ben Wright (Arm) dropped about 1sec after the half way turn (a bit more balanced than the girls). Oliver Vodden (Adw) did likewise. Simon without much in the way of a challenger held the pace firmly, while Bradley Hurdiss (Drn) did his level best to stay with him and climbed to 3rd fastest 11 year old in Dartes history; pushing Jarvis Parkinson (Arm) down to 4th!

Swimmer of the meet, appropriately enough, was the birthday girl. Amber contested 7 events and went home with a birthday pressie of 6 Gold and a Silver. Achievement of the weekend may well belong to older sister Chloe Hardy (Adw) for snatching a 15 year olds Dartes age group record. We do mean snatched too. Her 50m Breaststroke time of 38.82 was a whole 0.01sec faster than Emma Humphreys (Ros) set at NERs in 2009.

Bradders: climbing up the Dartes record table All medals, all but one PBs for Kara We mentioned earlier the battle between Kara Mayos (Spa) and The Smurf. Out of a monstrous 2,000m of racing Chantelle Waugh (Arm) came out on top with a couple of speeding tickets and 3 Golds. 1,600m gave Kara 4 Golds and medals in every event. Backing up the pair at the vanguard of our 12 year olds were Lucy Clarke (Min) with another Gold and 2 Silvers, plus Tilly whose 1,200m of big PBs earned her a speeding ticket and 4 Silvers.

We're not even going to attempt to mention all 75 Gold medals, so we'll stop there. Just a final note for all parents, JDS swimmers especially, about poolside kit. Cold floors and wet feet don't mix well together. It's very easy for the legs to get cold during the weekend standing around poolside. It's rarely noticed by kids if their feet get cold, but once that starts to happen their kicking ability in races becomes compromised. Make sure your young atheltes are equipped with foot insulation! Flip flops are a bare minimum, very clean trainers would be better.

Fast Kicking in Latest 4x400 Test

7 Jan: In the world of pointless comparisons, you could say that Phase 4's fastest average over 4x400m of kick is almost exactly the same as the 10 year old Yorkshire time for 400m Freestyle. Instead we'll just be happy with the top 6 from tonight beating the 2nd fastest time set in October.

For Georgia Whetton (Arm) however, 7sec separates her from the record. Fastest rep of the evening wouldn't be hers either, that honour goes to Rebecca Christmas (Arm). Although rumours abound that she was cheating - tumble turns are NOT allowed on kick sets. Interesting to see if she can beat the time while being watched more closely next training cycle!

Overall an excellent display of fast kicking. You can all be proud of a job well done.

Pos Name Date Rep 1 Rep 2 Rep 3 Rep 4 Avg All Time
1 Georgia Whetton 7 Jan 2014 6:31 6:32 6:32 6:35 6:32 2 (2)
2 Rebecca Christmas 7 Jan 2014 6:49 6:48 6:46 6:29 6:43 3 (3)
22 Oct 2013 6:52 7:09 7:01 6:58 7:00
3 Tilly Arrand 7 Jan 2014 6:48 6:43 6:38 6:52 6:45 4 (4)
22 Oct 2013 7:06 7:24 6:59 6:56 7:06
4 Robbie Casson 7 Jan 2014 6:48 6:50 6:58 7:05 6:55 5 (5)
22 Oct 2013 6:57 7:05 7:08 7:08 7:04
5 Chantelle Waugh 7 Jan 2014 6:53 6:50 7:03 6:58 6:56 6 (6)
6 Simon Kliment 7 Jan 2014 6:56 7:00 6:56 7:02 6:58 7 (7)
7 Bradley Hurdiss 7 Jan 2014 6:49 6:54 7:06 7:25 7:03 8 (8)
22 Oct 2013 7:05 6:59 6:55 8:40 7:24
8 Grace Litchfield 7 Jan 2014 7:08 7:01 7:04 7:02 7:03 9 (9)
22 Oct 2013 7:06 7:07 7:20 7:16 7:12
9 Gillian Clarke 7 Jan 2014 7:21 6:56 7:01 7:02 7:05 10 (10)
22 Oct 2013 7:30 6:53 7:35 6:48 7:11
10 Kara Mayos 7 Jan 2014 7:15 7:11 7:12 6:59 7:09 12 (12)
11 Oswald Hood 7 Jan 2014 7:18 7:20 7:07 7:11 7:14 14 (14)
12 Charlotte Howard 7 Jan 2014 7:23 7:12 7:17 7:14 7:16 16 (16)
22 Oct 2013 7:34 7:32 7:28 7:33 7:31
13 Corinne Hill 7 Jan 2014 7:14 7:24 7:16 7:37 7:22 18 (17)
22 Oct 2013 7:19 7:28 7:06 7:22 7:18
14 Alanah Hill 7 Jan 2014 7:28 7:21 7:18 7:38 7:26 18 (15)
22 Oct 2013 7:10 7:08 7:16 7:27 7:15
15 Rebecca Allen 7 Jan 2014 7:40 7:17 7:15 8:00 7:33 18 (18)
16 Taylor Hardy 7 Jan 2014 7:47 7:26 7:41 7:44 7:39 19 (19)
17 Lauren Christmas 7 Jan 2014 7:35 7:31 7:47 8:31 7:51 21 (20)
22 Oct 2013 7:31 7:41 7:47 7:53 7:43
18 Rebecca Wright 7 Jan 2014 7:39 7:56 8:10 8:17 8:00 22 (21)
22 Oct 2013 7:40 7:33 7:58 8:26 7:54
19 Joe Sykes 7 Jan 2014 8:05 7:56 8:12 8:25 8:09 22 (22)
20 Casey Waugh 7 Jan 2014 8:11 8:16 8:21 8:20 8:17 23 (23)
21 Harvey Williamson 7 Jan 2014 8:46 7:58 8:16 8:29 8:22 24 (24)
22 Oct 2013 7:42 7:26 9:15 9:27 8:27
22 Ben Wright 7 Jan 2014 8:43 8:32 8:47 8:18 8:35 25 (25)
23 Oliver Vodden 7 Jan 2014 8:49 8:33 8:29 8:31 8:35 26 (26)
22 Oct 2013 10:10 10:15 10:44 11:10 10:34
24 Rianna Hill 7 Jan 2014 7:19 7:22 8:03 X
22 Oct 2013 7:06 7:05 7:20 7:09 7:10
25 Emma Stringer 7 Jan 2014 8:18 8:31 8:19 X
22 Oct 2013 9:00 9:15 9:03 9:13 9:07
Click on the name to expand previous results

An interesting analysis we performed during this test was to look at which stroke was being used the most. Traditionally, most club swimmers believe Breaststroke to be the fastest kick (or maybe it's just the easiest). Only 2 people chose Breaststroke for most of this set - and both were in the bottom half. If we discount the two who didn't complete all 4 rounds, Oliver Vodden (Adw) (an NER medallist at Breaststroke) could only use it to finish equal last. So probably not a wise choice for most.

Breaststroke God, but still only last The Region's Fastest 200 Kick - done on Fly By contrast, the two using Butterfly for at least a large portion of the set finished 2nd and 5th. The squad record set in October was also achieved using a Butterfly kick, and you might remember Joe Litchfield (Spa) setting the region's fastest time for 200m kick on last year's England Talent camps - he too, chose Fly kick.

The majority though, used either Frontcrawl or Backcrawl kick. Those on their backs were more densely packed towards the top of the table, those on boards could be found scattered around fairly evenly.

Does this tell us anything?
Butterfly is tough, so not chosen very often. Backstroke kick is probably fastest or easiest over long distances. We've said numerous times that Breaststroke is the slowest choice of kick.