July 2011

Jul
30

Psych Sheet for Nationals Released

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 6:20pm (July 30th, 2011)
Psych Sheet for Nationals Released

I'm seeded 53rd at the 2011 Nationals.  I certainly looks like a great turnout for the meet.  Although a few guys who just finished up at Worlds will bow out of this meet, most of the fastest people in the country will be in attendance.  I leave on Monday for Cali!  Psych Sheet Attached below

Jul
29

On my own for a few days

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 8:37pm (July 29th, 2011)

Due to some volunteering at EMU this weekend, I'm training on my own.  Once again, I wish I was laying low and enjoying my taper but I've committed to a little harder work this weekend than I anticipated with U.S. Long Course Nationals only a few days away.  Today I did some backstroke sprints and worked on my 100 pace.  I'm not feeling sharp and I'm really questioning my taper.

For those who have asked how I'm feeling about Nationals, I've responded that I've set some very realistic goals.  I will be racing backstroke outdoors in the California sun, an experience which is very foreign to me.  I had enough trouble racing indoors with a wacky ceiling in Montreal.  I find myself wishing the meet was indoors with some straight lines I could stare at during my race.  I'm excited for the meet in general, it will be a new experience and my second big meet with Club Wolverine Elite.  Now time for some sleep.

Session Weight Information
Pre-Practice Weight: 172.5 lbs
Jul
25

This is quite a long taper

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 2:45pm (July 25th, 2011)

I should start by saying I've questioned every single taper I've ever done.  The fact that this is the longest taper of my life is probably why I question it even more.  I can see how it can work for others, but this is drastically different than anything I'm used to (which could be a really good, or a bad thing).  The content is good, the length is what scares me.  It just feels like we're doing next to nothing for about 5 weeks.  I'm sort of in a different boat than all of the other guys because I came from much less training only 2.5 months ago.  This means I'm tapering down from less training.  I'm still having a great time with the team but I'm eager to see if this type of taper will work for me.  Only a week left before nationals!

Jul
20

I smell a 24 second SCM Backstroke swim

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 5:18pm (July 20th, 2011)

Today we did a short main set of 3 x 38m on the 10 minute.  The first was no equipment, the second was with fins, the third was fins and paddles.  The "38 meter" part was really just to get a full speed turn, we were being timed for 25 meters.  My first swim, with no equipment was from a dive (backstroke start).  I had a good start, underwater kicking and flipped, my feet touched in 12.0 seconds... pretty darn good for 25 meters, in practice.  My second swim was with fins on.  I flipped in 10.6 seconds.  Not bad but I still have lots to improve upon regarding leg strength.  My third 25 meter swim I decided to turn into a 50 meter swim.  I had fins and paddles on.  I don't get much additional speed out of wearing paddles, but they can't hurt.  I went from a push (due to the paddles), cranked it up a bit and touched in a 21.9.... not too shabby.  Not that it means anything really since no race ever  includes equipment.  I still like hearing those fast times though!

Jul
18

Back to tapering, and new gear!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 9:21pm (July 18th, 2011)

After plenty of rest Sunday, I was back to the taper schedule with the team.  We did a short dryland session combined with a 30 minute pool workout.  We are 19 days away from Nationals in Palo Alto, California.  Club Wolverine is taking almost every swimmer on the team to the meet.  Only a few guys have chosen to swim Sectionals or go to their home states or countries to swim an alternate meet.  I feel the excitement building for the upcoming competitions!

We did just a few 15 meter blasts today, during the brief set, Assistant Coach Josh White, out of nowhere, saw me and blurted out, "Doak, you were SMOKIN' fast on Saturday" as he smiled.  I was about to start so I just returned the smile and got ready to dive in.  The comment meant a lot to me.  It was the first complement I received from Josh since joining the team.  Josh typically trains the distance swimmers so I rarely interact with him.  It was an uplifting comment and it made me feel like the coaching staff took notice of my fast swims on Saturday.  I've talked about my Saturday practice quite a bit since swimming a 50 back LCM in 25.3 seconds, my family and friends might be sick of me talking about it by now.

For kicks, I looked up the results for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 100 backstroke.  And just so we're clear, I realize this is a pathetic comment:

Not a single swimmer took out the 100 back in less than a 25.58... including world record holder Aaron Piersol.  I think that's relatively awesome that I can swim as fast as the fastest backstrokers in the world, for half their race.  Now if I could just figure out how to bring it home in a 27.xx we would be cookin' with gasoline!

Overall, I'm impressed that in 2008 with a tech suit, the fastest 50 back time I could swim was a 26.75, after 2 months with CW, I'm a 25.30.  Even with a margin of error on the timers and other variables, it's undeniable that I'm swimming faster than I ever have before.  I'm really optimistic about my future swimming career!

Today I got my warmups and bag for Nationals.  Gearing up!

Training Quote
"Doak, you were SMOKIN' fast on Saturday!" - Coach Josh White
Jul
18

I might have been swimming tired yesterday

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 9:48am (July 18th, 2011)

I slept for a combined 20 hours yesterday.  I think that means I was overtired during the meet.  Sunday was a "lost day", I got nothing accomplished at all.  Since the meet I've viewed the times I achieved a little differently.  Although I was very unimpressed with my times during the meet.  Taking into consideration that they were swum while severely overtired and on the verge of exhaustion, they're actually fairly impressive!  I know I can swim much faster, but I learned some important lessons, broke a state record and still got to see some Masters Swimmer friends while I was there.

Jul
17

Lessons learned

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 3:58pm (July 17th, 2011)

I made some bad choices today.  After feeling incredible in the pool the last few days, I ran myself down with 1/2 my normal sleep along with lots of work and traveling.  Although I have no problem admitting that age has negatively affected an ability of mine, I don't know of an age that I could have accomplished what I did over the last 48 hours and swim well.  In hindsight I should have bowed out of this meet.  I was very committed to swim this meet since it was in my favorite pool and happened to land on a great time in my taper schedule.  I set myself up for failure with no rest and some manual labor the day before.  Since U of M lacks a scale, it was nice to get a weight checkup on EMU's digital scale.  I'm 166.5 lbs.  Among the lightest weights I've been as an adult.  I've gotten some positive comments from some of the CW team that I look more muscular.  I actually haven't noticed a difference in my physique yet, however it's only been 2 months and I missed the majority of the weights session the rest of the team participated in.  If there is anything positive about today, it looks like I tagged the State record in the 50 back.  Back to sleep.

Session Weight Information
Post-Practice Weight: 166.5 lbs
Jul
17

That was a bad choice

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 10:53am (July 17th, 2011)

I chose to try to swim a meet, and aim at some national/world records on 4 hours of sleep after a very long work day and 4 hours of driving.  I was falling asleep on my way to the meet, laid down and passed out twice on deck and had two really bad swims.  I scratched my last two swims and went home.  The whole day was a very bad decision on my part.  I'm beyond tired, my eyes are bloodshot and I'm literally falling asleep while writing this.

50 Free LCM: 24.41
50 Back LCM: 27.23

I will learn from this experience.

Jul
17

Let's see how this goes

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 7:48am (July 17th, 2011)

After driving 2 hours, working 12 hours, another 2 hour drive and then 4 hours of sleep, let's see how I swim. I would have really liked to prepare for this masters meet with at least a full night of sleep, I did my best to manage my time and also compete this morning. I underestimated how tired I would feel this morning... I'm really dragging. Hopefully a dive into a cold pool will help! I'm excited to race in my favorite pool today! Feels like I'm going home :)

Jul
16

A little help from NASA and an unofficial lifetime best

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 11:39am (July 16th, 2011)

I had a great morning.

As usual, Saturdays are "race pace" days. These sets are swum at or near "all out" speed. After some warmup we did a few burst speed drills and prepared for some 50's and 25's long course meters. Todays set had a fun twist in that we could take our pick of any tech suit in the equipment room. Although I loathe the full body tech suit era of swimming since it ruined all records, this was a fun set... why not!

I grabbed a full body Speedo LZR made in 2008 and proceeded to spend 25 minutes putting it on and adjusting it. I don't miss those kinds of distractions at meets. These days I just throw my brief on and don't give it another thought. Anyway, I will say this, never have I seen so many simultaneous smiles on deck! When you suit up in something NASA helped develop, you feel like superman.

We started out with a 50 back at your first 50 pace within a 100m race. I had a good start and cruised to a relaxed 26.2 second 50m time. I heard that time and smiled... it was the fastest of all the backstrokers.  My lifetime best in the 50m Back is a 26.64 shaved and tapered.  It's the time that earned me my first Masters Swimming World Record.  Next we moved onto some 25m swims.  I held 12.0 seconds on all of them.  The set was over after the 25's. I was a bit disappointed I couldn't bust out a fast 50 for fun. Luckily the coach extended the set and had everybody swim a 50 for time! I got pumped up for this one. We were told to race each other.... and win. The coaching staff is great at motivating us to race.  I was up against 4 guys with olympic trials cuts.  As I looked to my left and my right, I realized that there wasn't a shadow of a doubt whose hand would hit the wall first today. It was one of the first times I visualized the win. We had three coaches getting times just in case. We jumped in the pool and got ready to race.  I had a great start and pulled a lead on 3 of the 4 swimmers by the breakout. I knew I could run down anybody at this point. I was catching water like crazy and watched the splashes from the other swimmers fade as we neared the flags. As usual I ran out of steam in the last 15 meters but I still managed to hit the wall first!

The head coach read off the times at the end of the pool from slowest to fastest. It went... 27.5...... 27.3..... 27.1...... 26.2..... and there was a pause as he examined his watch, in a slightly confused and surprised way and read.... Doak.... 25.3. I smiled as he double checked his watch. A moment later he looked at me with an expression I've never seen him make. His eyebrows went up and he widened his eyes in an intentional look of amazement and said (as he smiled)... you're feeling good aren't you? I smiled and said... yes, great actually.

A 25.30 is insane fast for me. That's 1.3 seconds faster than my lifetime best! That's 1.24 seconds under the Masters world record in the 30-34 age group (which was Iset during the tech suit era). And 1.49 seconds faster than i swam the 50 back at the Ohio State Grand Prix in 2008 while wearing a Speedo LZR suit. The same meet I swam a 57.00 in my 100 back.  I've looked at this time and even tried to discount my success today... like, perhaps they were slow starting their watch, or maybe the suits make a 1.0 second difference, etc.  No matter how I slice it.  I'm damn fast (for me) right now.  I feel fantastic and I've even started mentioning that I'm probably in the best shape of my life.  My stroke changes and 2 solid months of training with a great team and coaching staff is paying off.... 25.30... wow.

I had a great morning.

Jul
15

EMU Masters Meet on Sunday!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 9:45pm (July 15th, 2011)

I've decided to swim at least one event at the Masters meet at EMU this weekend.  I'm not sure if I'll swim any more than that.  I really want to get a 50 back time after my sub-par performance at the 2011 Canada Cup.  Looking forward to racing and taking some pictures for other swimmers!  I'll swim the 50 Back and perhaps a few more races.

Jul
15

Taper Time!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 9:57am (July 15th, 2011)
Taper Time!

I'm really enjoying the significantly lower workload lately.  We're doing a maximum of 2,000 meters a day, it's been great!  Coach Mike Bottom took this picture of one of the "social kick" sets, in which the only goal is probably just to get the blood pumping.  It really is just talking and kicking down the pool.  Gotta love taper time.

Jul
9

HEALTHY, for the most part

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 12:56pm (July 9th, 2011)

I woke up feeling much improved.  Improved to the point where I was confident I would try some starts.  We were assigned a short Race Pace set today.  It was really just a 50m fast plus 5 x 25m on :30 to :45 seconds.  Due to space issues, I ended up doing the taper group version which was simply 5 x 25's , the first being from a dive.  I did them backstroke and seemed to do pretty well.  I was holding 12.7 to 13.3 seconds on each 25m.  Those times earned me a "good job, you're looking better" from the head coach along with a smile of approval.  Based on the sub par health week I've had, good feedback was appreciated.

Jul
8

No starts for a few more days

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 1:17pm (July 8th, 2011)

I've been largely out of commission since returning from Montreal.  I've been attending practice but haven't been able to put my head underwater more than about a foot before the water pressure becomes unbearable.  Yesterday I was feeling slightly improved and decided to join the team for some race pace work.  I did a total of about 3 dives during the set.  I immediately felt the extreme (6 feet of water) pressure on my sinuses and head but had no idea how much I would pay for it later.  An hour after practice I started feeling my head start to hurt.  It became a migraine in no time.  I tried medicine but nothing could stop it.  It was a tough night of sleep, or lack thereof.  I woke up countless times only to finally sleep a few hours before my alarm rang for morning practice.  I stopped by a drug store before morning practice and got a recommendation from the Pharmasist on what to take.  I showed up late to practice, just in time for the kick set which is a prime time to ridicule anybody who is late with a bit of verbal abuse (all in good fun).

I limped through the morning workout and took it easy for the most part.  Although I wish it were faster, I've been able to hold :34's on the 50's kick LCM without too much effort.  I've come a long way.

Jul
7

Only Train Backstroke?

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:47am (July 7th, 2011)

While planning my trip to Nationals, I read over the entire meet packet.  I seem to remember one of my teammates mentioned that we were able to swim some "bonus events".  Bonus events would be applicable for me since I earned a spot in the 100 back, but it would be nice to swim the 50 free and 100 fly while I was there.  I was happy to hear I wouldn't just be bound to the events I earned a spot in the meet to swim.  Under further review, these bonus events are only available to 18 and under swimmers.  This means I will only be able to swim the 100 Back at nationals.  Obviously I only made one nationals cut so I really only deserve to swim the event I made it in, I was really hoping to get a few more swims in. I'll inquire upon the possibility of time trials while I'm there though.

Since I'll only be swimming backstroke, I asked Coach Mark Hill if I should strictly focus on backstroke leading up until nationals.  He recognized my point of view however mentioned that training variety will serve me well.  In his experience, swimmers who specialize in this way tend to fall behind swimmers who diversify their training.  I admit, everything that CW has taught me thus far has resulted in lifetime best times, I default to their expertise.  I'm going to continue training freestyle, backstroke and everything else leading up until nationals.

Jul
6

100 Back LCM time conversion

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 11:34pm (July 6th, 2011)

Time conversions are always entertaining.  They always spark a good conversation about whether a swimmer is a better long course or short course swimmer.  For fun I ran the conversion on my 100 Backstroke LCM time from this past weekend.  My 57.60 long course seems to convert to a 48.09 short course yards.  A short course time like that would mean I'm currently the fastest short and long course swimmer I've ever been.  Like I said, the conversions don't mean much, but seeing that made me excited to swim some short course meets this fall and see where I stand!  If I'm welcome to stay on the Club Wolverine team past the end of the summer, I'll continue to train with them daily but the meet availability will be far less than it is in the summer since it will be the college season.  To my knowledge only one meet occurs between August and January which is the short course nationals.  This means I'll have an opportunity to drop in some Masters meets and benchmark my progress!

Jul
6

Contact Form

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 11:06pm (July 6th, 2011)

As I've mentioned a few times, this site is mostly a hobby.  In that light, I recently realized I knocked out the delivery method of my contact form when I changed servers recently, so if anybody sent a message and didn't get a response, my apologies.  It's back up and running now :)

Jul
5

Back in the States and Sick

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 9:29pm (July 5th, 2011)

As I mentioned on my first day in Montreal, I was feeling a little under the weather.  I felt fairly good during the meet, not 100% good, but strong enough to race.  During my last day in Canada I started feeling pretty lethargic and the sinus and headache hit me pretty hard.  I was able to swim in Ann Arbor today with the team but it was very painful.  I wasn't able to put my head more than about a foot under water without it feeling like my head was being crushed in a vice.  I was unable to do any dives due to the sensitivity to pressure.  I felt like a wimp, but I did every yard the other swimmers did, just did it slower.  I gave the coaches a heads up on my condition and they were understanding and accomodating.  I'm glad it's hitting me now instead of Nationals next month, ideal timing really.

Jul
4

2011 Canada Cup Recap

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 5:33pm (July 4th, 2011)
2011 Canada Cup Recap

My trip to Montreal was filled with smiles, new experiences, family and a few good swims.  I had some high hopes for my abilities after just 7 weeks with Club Wolverine.  I chose to shave and rest a little prior to the meet in hopes I would at worst earn a National cut and at best, an Olympic Trial cut in at least one event.  I knew they were steep expectations with so little training. 

100m Freestyle LCM:
I expected a lifetime best in this event through conditioning alone, I achieved that goal.  I dropped 1 full second in the event from a 54.8x to a 53.8x.  It was a 100% effort but I still have a lot of work to do on my stroke.

100m Backstroke LCM:
My benchmark was a 1:01.40 in the 100 Backstroke LCM exactly 3 months ago.  I would have to drop 3.11 seconds to get a National Cut and 3.81 seconds to achieve an Olympic Trial Cut.  I had a good race dispite some unfortunate pool variables and dropped 3.80 seconds to a 57.60.  I missed the Olympic Trial cut by 0.01 seconds.  I've never missed a goal or a win by so little before.  I feel the defeat and frustration of missing by so little, but also the strength I feel by dropping that much time in only 7 weeks of hard work.  I'm as motivated as ever to achieve my goal of an Olympic Trial cut.

50m Butterfly LCM:
I expected a lifetime best in this event and I did just that.  I dropped 0.36 seconds off my lifetime best of 25.40 swum two years ago to touch the wall in 25.04 in prelims and 25.09 in finals.  Both times were swum less than 15 mintues after my 100 Backstroke.  I really wanted to get a rested 50 Fly time but I will have to try at a masters meet sometime.

50m Freestyle LCM:
I'm still kind of at a loss on what happened to both my prelims and finals of this event.  During my 100 freestyle, I swam the first 50 in a 24.61 at a relatively smooth/easy pace and my split is representative of when my feet hit the wall.  I have to believe a flipturn is worth 0.30 seconds at minimum.  Other poorly executed aspects of the race lead me to believe that a 23 second swim was in the bag.  I'm not sure if the meet just wore me down or what the issue could have been.  I swam a 24.16 and a 24.4x on the last day of the meet, and I was pushing it hard.

50m Backstroke LCM:
Before seeing the pool, I expected a lifetime best in this event which would have been a 26.64 or faster.  After arriving and seeing the ceiling and the 1990 slippery Colorado pads, I lowered my expectations.  I was going to be happy with any 26 second swim.  Prelims was a 26.99 so legally I have to state that I'm happy.  However, I know I could have swum much faster with good pads and some straight lines on the ceiling.  Finals was an embarrassment, I hit the lane line hard and did my best to recover.  I still got 5th place at 27.33 but I could have placed much better with some straight swimming.  I truly believe I could have gone a LOW 26 second 50 back, if not faster.

 

Jul
3

Bad Finish to a Great Meet

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 6:00pm (July 3rd, 2011)
Bad Finish to a Great Meet

I had a horrible 50 Free and touched in a 24.4.  Everything about that race felt weird, I wasn't tired, just confused about the new stroke, didn't trust my freestyle.  I need more practice.  I took 10th place overall.

My 50 Back was even worse.  I had a bad start, decent underwaters but NAILED the lane line at the 25 meter mark, enough to put a big scrape down my back and arm as well as slice my finger open.  I tried to recover and churn it over to finish the race, from the video footage, I actually gained on the leader and touched in a 27.33.  It was actually a good time considering I basically came to a dead stop at one point in the race.  I took 5th place overall.

Otherwise it was a great meet, 4 Finals swims and a National cut.  I am 0.01 seconds away from my 100 Back Olympic Trial cut!

Training Quote
"Well, you can either blame your luck and your situation or accept it, learn from it and do better next time" - Coach Mike Bottom
Jul
3

26.99 in the 50 Back

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 11:55am (July 3rd, 2011)

As I've mentioned a few times, the pads on the far end of the pool are very slippery. This is the end we start on during the 50 meter events.  The pads are a nightmare for backstrokers.  Lots of swimmers slipped, I did a very conservative start and kicked out to 15 meters fairly fast.  I surfaced and had a great 25 meters till I hit the lane line and hugged it till the end of the race.  I died like usual in the last 10 meters and touched in a 26.99. I wanted to be faster but considering the start, that is actually a decent time.

I'm ranked 2nd going into the finals!  One other swimmer is a 26.78 so that is within striking distance for me.  If I have a good race and stay away from the lane line, I think I can finish well in this event.

The time still doesn't come near my lifetime best time of 26.64 but ranks 4th in my life which is pretty good considering the start, or lack thereof

Training Quote
"Wow..." - Backup Timer Lady
Jul
3

24.16 in the 50 Free

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 11:52am (July 3rd, 2011)

Although I felt fine before the race, I had a very disappointing 50 Freestyle time of 24.16.  I was nowhere near the Olympic Trial cut of 23.49.  I attempted to use a new shoulder driven freestyle and failed miserably.  It turned out to be some weird hybrid of straight arm, semi disconnected left side and old stroke all mixed together.  It was ugly.  It was good enough to get 12th overall meaning I can swim in the consolation heat of the 50 tonight.  Minutes later, two swimmers in the final heat scratched, assumingly because they were afraid to swim in the same pool as me.  That means I got bumped into 10th place which means I'll be in the big heat tonight!  I will most likely abandon my new shoulder driven stroke this evening and just swim it like I always do.  I think I need more practice and more muscle to swim shoulder driven and actually have it pay off.

Training Quote
"Your stroke sucked" - Coach Mike Bottom
Jul
2

Good... but not great

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 7:22pm (July 2nd, 2011)

Tonight I swam in the Finals heat of the 100m Backstroke at my first International meet.  I was in the fastest heat of the evening seeded 5th out of 20 who made it back and only 10 who achieved the fastest heat.  I did everything correct to prepare for the race, I even borrowed a "dome" cap from a friend/teammate because I left mine at home.  I tend to psych myself out in high profile races like these.  Tonight was no exception.  I had a good start, surfaced at 15 meters at or ahead of everybody else.  I took out the first 35 meters at a pace I knew was solid.  At that point I looked over and noticed I was ahead of everybody.... I admit I freaked out.  I thought  "oh no, I'm taking it out too fast" and I slowed down.  Not a good idea.  I split a 27.38, two tenths slower than the morning swim.  I flipped at the wall and brought it home at a solid pace.  I felt like there was something missing during my entire race.  I admit I was freaked out, I was obsessing on the lane lines and my lane position due to the difficult ceiling.  I was maintaining a good pace till I let my competitors into my head.  I need to trust my abilities and race myself.  I touched the wall in a 58.01 which was 0.41 seconds slower than my morning swim.  It was good enough for 9th place out of 100+ swimmers.  I will do better next time.

I warmed down 200 meters and headed for the "ready room" to be paraded out for the 50 fly.  I was still out of breath when they announced my name.  I would have really liked to get a rested time in the 50 Fly.  I was a little slow off the blocks and touched in a 25.09 which was 0.05 seconds slower than this morning.  I placed 9th in this race as well.  At that point I was just happy to be done with my races, that 100 back really takes it out of me.  I stayed to cheer on some of my teammates and headed out to get some food.

The meet has been a blast thus far.  Great swims, supportive coaches and teammates as well as a fun new experience.  Tomorrow morning I have the 50 Free and 50 Backstroke.  I'm really hoping to tag an Olympic Trial cut of 23.49 in the 50 Free.  I think I can do it.

Jul
2

Proud of that 100 Backstroke

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 12:29pm (July 2nd, 2011)

Looking back, I have swum a 57.xx twice in my life, both times were with a full body tech suit.  My fastest non-tech suit swim was a 58.40 at Indy in March 2008.  If I take tech suits out of the equation, I swam the fastest 100 backstroke of my life this morning.  Even with the tech suits, I swam my second fastest time ever.  Even faster than my swim AT olympic trials in 2008. This morning the pad in lane 6 was malfunctioning on the far end so my 50 split was not recorded but I hand timed it on the video and got a 27.19, the fastest split going out of my life.   I'm back, in a big way.

I don't think I'll swim faster tonight but I'll give it my all.  Historically I don't perform well in the evening session.  This morning was EVERYTHING I had to give and I just missed the cut.  I'll give it all again and we'll see what it yields.  At this point, I'm on track to swim every single race this weekend faster than I ever have before.  THAT is an amazing feeling.

Thank you to my family and friends who have supported me thus far.  I love you all.

Training Quote
"Remind me on Tuesday, we need to get you some Club Wolverine gear. We need to get you GEARED UP!" - Coach Josh White
Jul
2

FANTASTIC Morning!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 10:49am (July 2nd, 2011)

I'll post more later, time to eat  and sleep now.

I had an amazing morning, nearly flawless.  I swam a 57.60 in my 100 back, the 2nd fastest time of my life, dropping nearly 4 seconds in 7 weeks.  I got my Nationals cut of 58.29 but missed my Olympic Trials cut by 0.01 seconds.  It was a heartbreaker to miss by that little but I'm seeded 5th tonight in the BIG heat out of 84 swimmers.  My 50 Fly was a lifetime best time of 25.04 and I'm seeded in the BIG heat and ranked 7th going into finals!  The team has been supportive and I'm having a blast.  I love swimming.

Two finals swims in my first International meet of my life.  Yea, I'm happy.

Jul
1

Preparing for the 100 Backstroke in the morning

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 7:55pm (July 1st, 2011)

After a brief conversation with Coach Mike Bottom, I've decided to shave for the 100 Backstroke prelims.  This is among my only remaining chances to make an Olympic Trials or National cut before the long course season is over for the year.  I really want to get a cut and stop worrrying about it and focus on training.  My other motivation is to achieve a time which I can both be proud of and will earn me a spot to remain on Club Wolverine leading up to the 2012 Olympic Trials.  Up until now I have been generally unproven as a swimmer on the team.  I find myself referencing the fact that I WAS a 57.00 backstroker a few years ago and that I haven't gone that time since 2008.  It's an unfortunate reality I hope to change.  Achieving a trials cut would make me feel worthy of being on this team.  My goal tomorrow is a 57.xx, I would be happy with a 57 anything at this point.  The national cut is a 58.29 so any 57 would get me another chance to swim the 100 back.  This pool in Montreal is a real challenge for backstrokers.  A significant portion of my effort tomorrow will be to not bounce off the lane lines every other stroke.

Jul
1

Downright "JACKED" for my 50 Free on Sunday

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 11:26am (July 1st, 2011)
Downright "JACKED" for my 50 Free on Sunday

I had to make an entirely new post to drive the point home as to how excited I am for the 50 Free.  I had such a horrible first 50 of my 100 free today and I still went a 24.61.  I had a poor entry into the water, stayed under too long, mediocre breakout and a hip driven stroke with some confusion as to whether I should breathe again and/or take another stroke before flipping.  If I can just plain reduce my errors I'm very confident I can swim a 23 second 50 Freestyle!

Jul
1

Lifetime Best 100m Free!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 11:05am (July 1st, 2011)
Lifetime Best 100m Free!

I just achieved a lifetime best time in the 100m Free LCM!  My time of 53.87 was even faster than my tapered and shaved time of 54.13 two years ago at Indy!  My time today was nearly a full second faster than the Eric Namesnik Grand Prix time of 54.81.  I was even more excited to see that I took it out (reached the first 50m) in a 24.61!  Obviously at the 50 I did a flipturn which means I touched the wall with my feet in the same time I SWAM the 50 Free two months ago at the Grand Prix in Ann Arbor.  That part impressed me the most.  My time in relation to the other swimmers at the meet was not great but respectable.  I took 37th out of 134 swimmers.  The top 20 make it back for finals in the evening.  It was a very fast few heats at the end, a few 50.xx and many 51.xx including a few from Club Wolverine.  I was very impressed with how my teammates swam, especially considering it was only prelims!

The downsides of my race were extensive.  All the revolutionary stroke changes I've worked so hard on during the last 7 weeks were ENTIRELY forgotten during my race.  The only part I remembered was my start.  I had a decent start but my hands broke away from each other once I hit the water which slowed me down.  I knew I would probably abandon my new stroke during the race but I was disapointed that I didnt even try some shoulder or body driven stroke at all.  My teammates and coaches all took notice and brought it to my attention after my race.  It was slightly embarrassing but I feel it's a known fact that I'm still learning the new strokes.  Overall, I feel like I sort of paniced once I started racing.  I just defaulted to what I knew best, my stroke that I've used my entire life.  It's understandable but unfortunate.

Based on my first 50 of my 100 meter race, I'm REALLY looking forward to the 50 Freestyle on Sunday!  I feel a 23.xx for sure.  The Olympic Trial cut is a 23.59 and based on my performance today, I feel it is within reach!

Training Quote
"You looked good out there but you've got to use the strokes you learned, you should be swimming tonight but you're not. You swim with a 200 pace stroke in a 100 meter race" - Coach Mike Bottom
Jul
1

100m Libre Today!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 8:12am (July 1st, 2011)

I'm happy to report I have the 100m Libre (100m Free) today!  After a good warmup yesterday, I have my first swim this morning.  I'm using this swim as my warmup event to prepare me for the events I'm focusing on.  I don't expect to make it back for finals this evening but I do anticipate either a lifetime best or close to it.  My best thus far was at the 2009 USMS Nationals in Indianapolis where I swam a 54.13. 

I woke up this morning with a sore throat but I'm hoping I can get through the weekend without it really affecting my swims.  I got nearly 9 hours of sleep but I'm still tired from the traveling and walking we did yesterday.

The pool and natatorium are great overall but there are two primary downsides regarding backstroke, the first, and most complained about (I've heard) is the ceiling  It has NO straight lines of any type.  Literally nothing to get your bearings on at all.  There are curved lines everywhere, everything is at some odd angle which creates the most abstract and interesting natatorium in the world.  All of this means that I'm going to have a very hard time swimming backstroke in a straight line.  The second issue is that the far end of the pool has very slippery colorado pads.  This is the side I will start my 50 Back from since we always finish on the typical starting side.  This issue does not affect my 100 backstroke, which is the race I truly care about but It's still a disapointment since I was hoping to get a great 50 time.  I'll try my best but I'm predicting a mediocre start in my 50 backstroke and therefore not as fast as I could achieve.  My focus remains on my 100 Backstroke though.

About to swim the 100 Freestyle!