Dartes point way to the top in swimming

Leading the way: Some of the top Dartes swimmers, back row, from left, Joe Litchfield, Max Litchfield, Shanon Dodson; middle: Jamie Clarke, Caitlin Dixon; front, Jarvis Parkinson, Chloe Selam, Mark Beach.   Pictures: Steve Taylor
Leading the way: Some of the top Dartes swimmers, back row, from left, Joe Litchfield, Max Litchfield, Shanon Dodson; middle: Jamie Clarke, Caitlin Dixon; front, Jarvis Parkinson, Chloe Selam, Mark Beach. Pictures: Steve Taylor
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DARTES’ swimmers have again left rivals trailing in their wake during what has been another successful campaign.

Dartes, whose name is derived from the first letter of the names of other local clubs, caters for Doncaster’s elite swimmers from affiliated local clubs.

Members of the Junior Development Squad at St James' Street baths.   Pictures: Steve Taylor

Members of the Junior Development Squad at St James' Street baths. Pictures: Steve Taylor

Club official Jo Wright said swimmers join from as young as seven, going into the club’s Junior Development Squad (JDS).

There are three phases to the JDS programme with youngsters being required to attend more squad sessions as they progress through the phases.

After graduating from the JDS youngsters move up to Phase Four.

Said Jo: “The aims of Phase Four is to achieve progression in real terms, year on year. All members of this squad must be committed to becoming the very best swimmer that they are capable of being. The work done in the squad should build the foundations to enable that to happen.”

Ambitious and successful swimmers in Phase Four may be invited to join Phase Five which aims to increase the number of national level youth swimmers qualifying and making finals and prepare swimmers for British Championships and Junior international competition

The pinnacle of swimming in Doncaster, the current Dartes Premier Squad, contains national finalists across the age ranges and has produced national team members in the past.

A number of the Dartes’ top swimmers, including Max Lichfield, the British record holder at his age-group in the 200m IM, younger brother Joe, Michael Beech, Jarvis Parkinson, Caitlin Dixon and Jamie Clarke have been contesting the National Age Group Championships and the National Youth Championships over the last few days.

“Jamie is an excellent example to any young athletes that want to excel. His hard work, determination and commitment have helped him to achieve his target time to move the goal posts and keep pushing forward. Who knows where it might lead?” said head coach Andy Wallace.

Working alonside Andy are Dave Cuthbert (lead coach age group squad), Kev Nicholas (lead coach junior development squad), Leanne Dodson (strength and conditioning coach) and assistant coaches John Smith and Derek Fretwell

Feeder club coaches actively involved in regularly helping out at Dartes include Keith Gilbert (Adwick), Sarah Green (Thorne), Phillip Hughes (Edlington), Jeff Squires (Edlington), Neil Stephenson (Adwick), Danielle Norton (Minsthorpe), Blaine Key (Minsthorpe).