March 2011

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First Long Course practice in a long time

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:33pm (March 31st, 2011)

It's been quite a while.  I haven't swum a practice long course in at least 6 months.  Today I made the trek to EMU to hop in and prepare for this Grand Prix meet coming up in just over a week.  Although nothing can really prepare me for the competition itself, I really just need to get used to swimming that far for that long since I typically swim Short Course Yards.  I fit 2,600 meters into an hour doing some burst sprints and some easy swimming after 100's.  My highest accomplishment today was a 1:05 backstroke from a push and a 30.x backstroke from a push.  I was actually pretty happy with that 1:05!  It was faster than I thought I would swim at this point.  As sad as it sounds.  I'm hoping to just achieve a 1:00.xx at the meet.  If I reach that goal, I still have quite a ways to go before I tag an Olympic Trial cut at 57.69.  I'm up for the challenge!

Session Weight Information
Pre-Practice Weight: 168.3 lbs
Post-Practice Weight: 167.8 lbs
Practice Information
Dist: 2,600 LCM - (Long Course 50 Meters)

Too many quotes!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 11:31pm (March 29th, 2011)

I had a great experience at a local community pool this evening.  Due to limited pool availablity at my typcial locations I was forced to look elsewhere or skip another swim day.  A new pool always brings some good stories.  I've talked about things all being "relative".  I see it all the time and I try to be as honest about it as possible.  I will be the first to admit I'm not a fantastic swimmer, I just happen to be a significantly faster than the average recreational swimmer people see at these pools.  This creates some funny and flattering situations and comments.  It's to the point that it turns into sort of an ego boost whether I like it or not.  The quotes are just too funny not to share.

As usual, I arrived on deck, stretched for a few minutes while getting a few looks from other swimmers... seemingly just noticing that I don't belong there.  I knew the pool was both yards and meters in an "L" configuration.  I inquried upon the lifeguard as to which way the lanelines were setup.  She replied "meters".  I dove in and did my typical 500 warmup.  I was sharing the lane with two other swimmers which quickly dropped to one other swimmer after I had passed the other one a few times.  Shortly after my practice began a swimmer joined my lane and her personal trainer started instructing her on her stroke technique.  I found it odd that it seemed like she was doing a lot of the same drills I was doing but didn't think much of it.  I had anotehr swimmer join my lane a little while later.  This person eventually stopped at the wall at the same time as me, waited a moment and then asked "how did you get so fast?".  I smiled and just replied, "well, I've been swimming for quite a while... you do anything long enough and you get pretty good at it".  He just shook his head and said "it's just amazing how easily you go though the water, you're like a dolphin".  The last comment gave me a chuckle due to an inside joke.  I talked to the swimmer for a few mintues and he told me he was training for the Coast Guard so we discussed that program for a bit and I mentioned "nice talking to you" before I took off again to finish up my workout.

A little later I met up along the wall with this swimmer who had the personal trainer.  I inquired upon what she was training for.  She told me she was preparing for her first "Ironman" triathlon.  I was immediately impressed!  I let her know how much I would love to participate in something like that and how much credit I give her for even committing to such a race.  We talked about the competition for a few mintues and then she said... "and how about you? You're obviously a professional swimmer".  The comment alone was worth another laugh.  She went on to say "when I got in the pool, my coach said, you see that guy?  He's a professional, just do what he does".  I got yet another smile from that one.

When I was finishing up my practice I ran into a guy I swam with in high school, we talked about life, college and swimming for a few minutes.  It was nice to catch up.

I hit the hot tub before they shut down the pool for the evening.  Overall it was a wonderful evening.  Lots of uplifting comments and smiles both given and received.  The pool was fantastic for a community pool and I will definitely return!

Practice Information
Dist: 2,600 SCM - (Short Course 25 Meters)

Looking forward to some old fashioned competition

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 12:02pm (March 27th, 2011)

I've noticed over the last few years that people I knew in college are getting back in the sport.  It's definitely increasing each year.  It's common knowledge that swimmers just seem to need a break after college.  They seem to take 10 years off and get back into it.  I'm excited to have an opportunity to swim against some of the people I swam with in High School and College again.

I did my first "P90X Ab Ripper" in a long time.  I'm proud to say I made it though the whole thing without much trouble.  I'll also admit I'm hurting today!  It really is quite a good 15 minute core workout.  I've been much better at hitting the pool each day.  As I always say, consistency what works best for me.  3,000 yards, 6 days a week.  I've made it a priority and I'm feeling good in the water.  I've tried to focus more on some sprinting.  I feel as though I've fallen into a "cardio" rut where I'm doing too much slow swimming and not enough burst speed exercises.  It's affected my backstroke more than anything.  I've been very disapointed in my 50 and 100 backstroke.  I just can't seem to rev it up at these meets.  It's gotten to the point that I'm starting to wonder if I need to move on from backstroke.  I truly don't have the speed I did even 2 years ago.  My butterfly and freestyle seem to be fine.  If it was an issue that affected all my strokes I would simply say I'm out of shape, however it seems more likely that I've just lost my backstroke temporarily.  It's never happened to me before so it's an odd place to be.  I think more sprinting will help.  We shall see.

I signed up for the 2011 Eric Namsnik Grand Prix .  Arguably the highest profile meet in Michigan this year.  It's a USA meet so in typical form, all the big names come out for it.  I'm sure we'll see a handful of Olympians and other hopefuls duking it out.  I'm excited to be able to swim in the meet, especially considering how poorly I've competed lately.   I'll be swimming:

50 Free
100 Free
100 Fly
100 Backstroke

I'm a realist so I can say with certainty that I'm not prepared for this meet.  I'm not in good shape and I haven't had that many respectable times lately.  Still, it's provided me some additional motivation to train and should be a blast to compete at that level again.  I'm looking forward to it.

Practice Information
Dist: 3,000 SCY - (Short Course 25 Yards)

Feeling 100% Again

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:25pm (March 24th, 2011)

Feeling significantly better and back in the water.  A little fun fact is that I signed up for the 500 Free at the Michigan Masters Meet.  Therefore today I tried it out.  I've only swam the 500 free ONCE in my life.  It was in high school and I think I swam it in a 5:36 but I'd have to dig up some old results to be sure.

Tonight I swam a 500 free from a push with a drag suit on.  I wore my sweet little hand mounted stopwatch and clocked a 5:33.00.  I was actually fairly pleased with that!  I'm a horrible distance swimmer... to the point it's humorous to even say "distance swimmer" and reference myself in the same sentence.  Anybody who knows me would be legally forced to agree.


It had to happen sooner or later

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 12:33am (March 22nd, 2011)

I've been saying for quite some time that "I never get sick".  I spoke too soon.  It either hit me hard, or I'm a total whimp.  Either way, I had a rough two days of little sleep and some throughly annoying nasal and headache symptoms.  I can only hope it attributed to those really unfortunate times this past weekend.

I'm feeling slightly better and decided to hit the pool for a short workout.  The pool was slammed as usual (who wants to swim on a Monday?!).  I decided to try my stretch cords and fins since I only had about 10 yards in a single lane to work with.  I've been focusing on extending the time I can kick or swim all out.  I think it's sort of pathetic, but when I started last week, I could only swim for 10 seconds before slowing down.  Today I got up to 15 seconds.  Trust me, it's harder than it sounds.  I probably only swam 1200 yards but it was enough to take the edge off.  Back in the water tomorrow!

Practice Information
Dist: 1,200 SCY - (Short Course 25 Yards)

I call it how I see it, and THAT was ugly

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 10:48pm (March 20th, 2011)

Against proper judgement I attended the Milford Masters meet today.  Based on how much sleep I've been getting and feeling a bit under the weather, I probably should have skipped the meet.  I only got a few hours of sleep leading up to the meet and it really showed.  At no point during the morning, the warmup or any of my races did I feel "fast".  I kinda felt like passing out most of the day.  It was quite a long meet as well.  It started at 10:30am and I left around 4pm after my five events.

50 Fly: 25.91 SCM
(actually not too bad, my best of a 25.05 wasn't TOO far off.  I was thrilled to be within a second based on how I was feeling.)

100 Back: 1:02.63 SCM
(only about 10 minutes after the fly but there is NO excuse for adding that much time.  Two years ago I set a national record in the same pool at a 55.26.  This race was an embarrassment as I'm sure anybody would agree if they added 7.5 seconds to their 100 meter race.)

50 Back: 27.03 SCM
(I tried my best to get pumped up for this race.  I was feeling very lethargic and had waited around for over an hour to swim.  I even had time to hit the hot tub for a while... not a great idea.  The race was the best performance I could have hoped for.  A bit long in the finish, this was certainly a 26 second race.  Slow, but not horrible)

100 Free: 55.21 SCM
(I just wasn't fast on this entire race.  Took it out too slow, brought it home too slow.  A month ago I was a 52.75 SCM)

50 Free: 23.96 SCM
(Not too bad of a 50 Free. I breathed too much, even one right off the turn?!  Glad to see a 23.xx on the boards though.)


Milford, then States, then Nationals

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 10:04pm (March 19th, 2011)

I'm on the hook now that I paid the registration money, I'm on the hook for all these meets.  It's my perogative to complain about registration fees.  Milford: $35.00.... States: $50.00..... Nationals: $80.00.... I better get a free stupid shirt for $80.00.


Busy but been in the pool each day

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 6:53am (March 19th, 2011)

I've been absolutely slammed but have been making time to swim each day.  I received my new toys in the mail on Friday and got to try them out in a community pool that evening.  I'm the most impressed with my short fins.  I felt like I got a fantastic leg and ab workout only wearing them for two short sets.  I think they will really help me with my underwater kicking especially!  I also got a new set of paddles.  I already had one set but they stay at EMU so I'm frequently without them.  It will be nice to have a mobile set. Other additions were just new goggles and suits, nothing too exciting but any swimmer can appreciate the feeling of strapping on a brand new pair of scratch free goggles :)

Practice Information
Dist: 2,500 SCY - (Short Course 25 Yards)

I taught a 39 year old how to dive today

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 9:49pm (March 17th, 2011)

I admit I've never actually sought out a swimmer to help them with their swimming, but I'm often drawn into it after talking to a Recreational swimmer I share the pool with.  Today I ran into Charles again (I change names for privacy) after helping him a few months ago.  We caught up for a few minutes, thanked me for my help a few months ago and inquired if I could coach him.  I explained I couldn't offer coaching but I'd be happy to offer some pointers.  I took a look at his butterfly and meanwhile trying to sell him the Masters Swimming program pretty hard.  I think he would really do well in a masters meet.  When I brought up competition he explained he had never dove in a pool.  I offered him a few drills he could do but after seeing him do one start, determined he was a natural.  I recommended he look for some different goggles due to the fact he was using a scuba mask which didn't stay on his face during a start.Overall, it was a great little 15 minute experience for both of us.  I got to teach (which I love to do), and he got some (hopefully) valuable pointers on stroke technique and Masters competition.As always, I try to spread my love for swimming and get others involved.  It's such a win/win/win/win.  I get more people involved in swimming, which can only help the sport as a whole, the swimmers probably get in better physical shape which can help self esteem and keep people healthier.  What a great sport!

Practice Information
Dist: 2,200 SCY - (Short Course 25 Yards)

Ordered New Toys!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 2:37pm (March 11th, 2011)

I'm not a big fan of "toys", but I'm gonna give it a shot.  "Toys" really refers to any training tool used in or out of the pool.  Buckets, chutes, stretch cords, paddles, pull bouys and bands would all probably qualify for toys.  Most of these toys you attach to your body to increase resistance or improve stroke form.  For swimming being a relatively cheap sport, spending $132.00 on training equipment seems ludicrous!  However, that bought some stretch cords, another set of paddles, a few new pairs of googles with bungee straps and a new suit.  I'm excited to try out the new stretch cords.  It was really my frustration with "Open Swim" which sparked my interest in stretch cords (glorified surgical tubing with a belt).  Since many times the lanes are so packed that I have to either wait or simply go home, I will be strapping myself to the wall and kicking or swimming in place in the deep end where there are few or no other swimmers.  I'll also be using this method to prepare for long course meets without swimming in a long course pool.  I'm proud to say I finally pulled the trigger for some some new equipment.  For such a relatively little amount of money, it was tough to justify the purchase since swimming typically costs me close to nothing.  Just a few more days to wait for shipping!


A day off before a hard month

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 12:17am (March 9th, 2011)

After a slow practice on Monday, I took Tuesday off to rest up.  I'm planning on swimming the Snik Grand Prix in exactly 1 month so I will be ramping up my workload to prepare for the meet, followed by the Michgan State Masters meet and Masters Short Course Nationals in AZ.  I'm not certain what I can accomplish in 30 days, but I'll be doing my best to balance work and allow a little more training time in the pool.  Back in the water tomorrow!


3k, nice and slow

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 10:21pm (March 7th, 2011)

I wish I could say I ripped it up in the pool this evening.  I was just having a hard time getting going through the entire workout.  I was feeling pretty sore from a full 14 hours of travel.  I'll probably take the day off tomorrow to rest up.  I swam two back to back 27 second 50 yard kick's at the end of practice though.

Practice Information
Dist: 3,000 SCY - (Short Course 25 Yards)
Training Quote
"That was quite humbling, we pushed off at the same time and you pulled a body length on me within a few seconds. Then I realized you weren't using your arms at all." - A nice triathlete

Southern Illinois University workout facility

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 8:13pm (March 5th, 2011)
Southern Illinois University workout facility

This place is REALLY nice.  I wouldn't say "nice" as in, really fancy, it just has everything you could possibly want to do indoors, and lots of it.  It makes me realize how much better I might train if I had a facility like this at my disposal.  It's got massive weight rooms, huge locker rooms with nice showers, it's staffed by people who seem to care what happens in the building, and it's got great pool hours.  I must have counted at least 30+ elliptical, bike and rowing machines on just the first floor.  Everything is so plentiful.  The building is incredibly popular as well.  Classes are taught there for Karate, Yoga and Pilates... seemingly every day.  I've been very impressed thus far.  In fact I've never seen a facility quite like this, Miami of Ohio might be the closest comparison.  I need one of these in my back yard.


Pushing my luck

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 4:52pm (March 5th, 2011)

This morning I was running behind for the legit open swim from 8am-10am before the Prelims session of the 2011 Mid American Conference.  I got in around 9:20am and by 10am the guards began kicking people out of the pool.  To test my luck, I just continued swimming, with a bit of emphasis on speed and underwater kicking which might lead somebody to believe I was a skilled swimmer.  Minutes later I was all alone in the pool.  Not a single guard bothered me and I continued doing my thing till I was finished with my 3,000 yard workout.  I got out and stretched, talked to some swimmers and coaches, waited for some of the competitors to hop in and I did the same.  I busted out some backstroke starts, which gained some blatent attention from swimmers and coaches before cooling down and getting out.  It was a nice morning with some more great swims.  I watched Jacob Hanson blaze through a 200 back in 1:44.45 and Troy Esentan smoke the varsity and MAC record in the 200 Breast with a 1:59.01.  It was a good morning indeed.  I'm hoping EMU can at least pull off a 2nd place raking this year.  It's hard to believe they will not only lose, but will lose to University at Buffalo.  Times certainly change.  EMU is in 3rd currently. 


How long can I fool 'em?

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 2:07am (March 5th, 2011)

I'm really enjoying being at the 2011 Mid American Conference Championships.  I've gotten to see some great swimming and have served the team, alumni and supporters well by taking lots of pictures and video.  With some connections at the meet, I scored a media pass which allowed me deck access to the pool.  During the cool down portions of the meet, I've quickly changed and hopped in for 30 minute swims.  For the time being, I think I've fooled everybody into thinking I'm on a team.  I just wonder how long that type of luck will last me.  In no way have I lied and said I was with a team, I simply jumped in the pool with the rest of the athletes and began swimming.  The honest truth is that I think my suit, goggles, body type and (apparent) fitness level is close enough to these athletes that I don't seem to draw any attention.  I'm 30 years old and apparently I can pass for 22.  I can't imageine that can last much longer, but for the time being, I'm really enjoying it :)

Practice Information
Dist: 1,100 SCY - (Short Course 25 Yards)

Records are meant to be broken

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 1:15am (March 4th, 2011)

Tonight I watched my 100 Backstroke SCY varsity record at EMU broken by Jacob Hanson.  It was a fantastic swim and shattered it by 0.52 seconds.  In swimming, that's quite a bit of time.  I've been saying for 2 years now that he would probably be the person to finally take it down.  I was the first to congratulate him with a sincere handshake and a brief conversation about how long I have been waiting for a great backstroker to come along and lower the record.  I feel proud to have held a varsity record for (very literally) ten years at a division 1 university.  I broke the varsity record in December 2000 with a 49.xx, at MAC's later that season I lowered it to 48.86, then 48.65 and then 48.60 at the same meet.  Then in my senior year I took it down to 48.51.  Ten years and 3 months later I watched it drop a full half a second to 47.99 and the meet isn't over yet!  Jacob has two more chances this season to lower it even further.Overall I'm really proud to have held it as long as I did and glad I can stop wondering when it will get broken.  Congrats Jacob!