September 2011

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Another sub 1:00 for a 100 kick from a push

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 9:33pm (September 30th, 2011)

Lots to report about this week however the most impressive to me was yet another great kick set.  It was comprised of 50's, 75's and one fast 100 at the end.  We were doing all the kick sets from a push:

50y: 26.2
75y: 41.9
100y: 59.9

All respectable times.  I was among the fastest of the post graduate and national ranking swimmers!  Last week was not a fluke, I am the fastest kicker I've EVER been in my life right now!

Tomorrow we have some actual races going on at Canham Natatorium.  The U of M team has an intersquad meet and we get to do some racing after their meet is over.  I have no idea what events will be available but I'm certain I can probably tag a 100 backstroke time at some point.  Not really in the mood to race but we'll see how it goes! 

Training Quote
"Your girlfriends will thank me one day (for the abs)" - Coach Mark Hill

Very busy week... Updates coming soon!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 1:03am (September 29th, 2011)

Lots to write about but short on time!


I'm 1 for 2 against Olympians today

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 11:37am (September 24th, 2011)
I'm 1 for 2 against Olympians today

Today was difficult for me.  It's been a long week.  I didn't have much left to give today.  I had a pathetic practice, I actually got beat by a breaststroker in a 100 yard specialty IM today (Fly, Back, Free, Specialty).  I wasn't proud of my performances today at all.  The coaches gave me zero praise and that's because I didn't deserve any.

Our final set of the morning was a series of relays.  They were all 2 x [200 Medley Relay].  It was a relay were we would all swim 50 yards twice.  The first one I swam buttefly.  The relays were uneven regarding speed so I didn't really race anybody.  The second relay was an entirely backstroke relay.  I was lined up against Wu Peng, the Chinese Olympian who beat Michael Phelps at Michigan and Charlotte Grand Prix.  He is primarily a butterflier but also a fantastic backstroker.  As we started I could see him pull ahead on the underwater kicking.  He is a fantastic kicker.  We flipped at about the same time meaning I momentarily caught up.  However the second underwater he pulled away again and held the lead to touch me out by over half a second.  The second 50 back, about a minute later was ugly, Wu Peng is a 200 meter swimmer and was prepared to swim again.  I'm nowhere near as good at doubling out of a race into another race.  He killed me on the next 50 back, probably by over 1 second.  Olympians 1, Doak 0

The next relay was preceeded by a few minutes of easy swimming.  It was much appreciated.  The relay was a 200 Medley Relay, twice in a row.  Naturally I was chosen to do backstroke.  My relay was yelling before the race to pump me up, I heard a lot of "LETS GO DOAK, BEAT THIS GUY".  It put a smile on my face.  Relays are always a blast.  I was lined up against a 2008 Olympian Freestyler from Norway.  He was the best shot the other team had since they didn't have a backstroker.  I knew I had a pretty good shot at beating him at a stroke he wasn't good at!  We started and he actually had better underwaters than I did, we both surfaced and I was slightly behind but I flipped sooner than he did.  He seemed to catch up a little during the underwaters again but naturally since it wasn't his stroke, I powered home with my #1 stroke to beat him by a second.  Since the other team had Wu Peng and another Olympian, they took the lead at the end of the first 200 Medley.  I started at a slight deficit against my backstroke competition.  We started from the blocks like a relay start and I gave it my all.  We flipped at the same time at the wall and I actually got the lead back for our team with a great 50 back.  However the rest of the other teams relay was stacked with Olympians or almost Olympians.  We lost the lead on the breastroke since we had to make a butterflier swim breast and our other butterflier had to swim against one of the fastest butterfliers on the planet.  Our freestyler ALMOST caught up to theirs but we ended up getting beat by a second in the end.

It was a fun morning even though I sort of swam poorly.  I'm still 1 for 2 against Olympians.  Not bad.


"Short Course Yards" has been given a new meaning

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 7:26am (September 24th, 2011)
"Short Course Yards" has been given a new meaning

On Friday we finished the workout up by moving the bulkhead and turning the lanelines to create a 12.5 yard competition pool.  This setup was complete with racing blocks at both sides, a starter and touchpads connected to the scoreboard.  I've never seen, nor raced in such a short pool.  The whole set was a blast.  We started out doing 4 lengths which totaled 50 yards.  The best time I saw was a 18.95 freestyle, 21.2 butterfly and 22.2 breast.  I was a 22.0 butterfly.  Nobody even tried backstroke due to the lack of flags.  Next we moved onto 2 lengths, a total of 25 yards with one turn.  The times started to get ridiculous with swimmers touching in 8-10 seconds.  My best butterfly was a 10.05, others were faster.  Finally we did one lap, starting from the far end of the mini-pool.  I swam a 4.36 in my 12.5 yard butterfly, a respectable time among the others.  The race at this point really amounted to just diving in and doing butterfly kicks to the other end.  I watched one swimmer do it in 3.92 seconds... very impressive.

At first I thought it was a pretty stupid set since at no point will we ever RACE a 12.5 yard race.  Yet, the coaches explained that it was all about making adjustments.  Since the races were so short, we weren't getting tired from doing plenty of them.  We were told to focus on the small things and perfect our short race.  It started to make sense.  A slight adjustment to my breakout yielded a 0.3 second drop in one of my times.  A better start on the next swim yielded another time drop.  In the end I saw a lot of value in the fun set.  People were having fun and becoming very competitive at the same time.  It was a good set.  Lots of cheering and support from everybody!


CONFIRMED: I'm the fastest kicker I've ever been!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 8:08pm (September 23rd, 2011)

This will be a quick post but here are my stats:

  • College best 100 yard kick: 1:04.2
  • Post College best 100 yard kick: 1:01.4
  • Today's 100 yard kick: 57.5

I typically do an "all out" 100 yard kick with minutes of rest.  Today I was in the middle of a 1600 yard kick set and with only 45 seconds rest I blasted off to my best 100 kick EVER!  I dropped almost 4 seconds off my best! 

Training Quote
"Doak, since you're not using a board, I want you -im-ing those underwaters!" - Coach Mark Hill

An evening off!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 9:53am (September 22nd, 2011)

After a very rough day yesterday, we have only one practice today.  It's a much needed break.  Today we have the option of WHEN to practice and the single practice we have, is a recovery workout.  Typically recovery workouts are aerobic and mostly easy.  Looking forward to an easy day!


That's impressive...

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 8:55pm (September 21st, 2011)

Tonight we swam a 2.5 hour pool workout.  The main set was:

3 x [1x50y@:50 + 2x25y@:35 + 2x25y@:40 + 5x25y@:25 + 1x25 easy]

The "tween" set (as in: inbeTWEEN) was swum between the rounds of swimming, was another 500 yards of moderate 50y swimming on short rest.  All of the main set was to be swum at "100 pace".  This meant it wasn't ALL OUT, but darn close to it.  I was averaging 25 seconds on the 50's and between 12.8-14.0 seconds on the 25's.  It was a rough set, but I've seen worse.

By the time I changed and got home, I received an email notifying us that new videos were posted to the shared network drive on the CW server.  It turns out that the assistant coaches were taking video of the main set.  Once the practice was done, it was transferred from the camera and placed on the server.  I clicked on the link of "Doak Freestyle 9-21-11" and proceeded to watch part of my practice in the comfort of my own home than 30 minutes after I actually swam.  That's impressive.


Hardest dryland practice of my life

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 1:25pm (September 21st, 2011)

I knew today would be tough but this topped all other practices in memory.


  • 15 minutes of random stretching
  • 15 minutes of general warmup exercises like jumping jacks, balance postures, lunges, etc 
  • 4 sets of 8 reps Leg Press @ 70% max
  • 4 sets of 4 step ups with weight, I used 10lb weights.  This involved QUICKLY stepping up onto a 2' tall box and driving the opposite knee as high and as fast as possible 
  • 4 sets of 10 switches (jumping and spinning 180 degrees
  • More stretching
  • 5 sets of 4:00 boxing :30 on and :30 off and then a 5 minute weight set, focusing on speed and power
  • 3 rounds of 4 x25y against bands, both positive and negative, meaning half we were pulling against surgical tubing in the pool and half we were being pulled, all max effort swims, total 2,500 yards


The most difficult part was the boxing.  Although 30 seconds on and then 30 seconds off doesn't sound too bad, consider you're "holding" for your boxing partner.  This means you are holding your arms out in a flexed position to allow them to hit your gloves as hard as they can.  Therefore, after boxing with hooks or uppercuts for 30 seconds, you get practically no muscle rest at all since you're flexed the entire 4 minutes.  It was among the only times in my life, my muscles actually began FAILING.  As in, I could no longer hold my arms up.  My strength was literally exhausted.  The worst round was the kicks.  It started with staggered feet.  One out front, the other slightly behind the body.  You would use your back leg and kick the boxing partners glove out front at chest height.  Two kicks with staggered feet, then square up the feet, jump as high as possible and kick the glove in mid air.  Land and begin the 3 kicks again.  The end of the kicks, I could barely lift my legs.  My workout partner yelled at me "FINISH IT UP DOAK"... at that moment I realized, yet again, that there is NO WAY I could train like this without a team.  I dug deep and found the strength to finish up the kicks, and even hit some of my hardest kicks of the set, being the most exhausted.  My heart was beating so hard at the end.  I was dripping with sweat.  I don't think I've ever worked that hard out of the water.  After the workout I mentioned to the coach what a great workout it was.  I hated it but I loved it.

There is something addicting about the kickboxing we're doing.  I hated it at first but it's growing on me and I think that's really odd.  I could still never condone it as a violent sport, but we don't box each other, we just hit each other's gloves.  The power and the sounds it all makes is really fascinating to me.  Our group right now is comprised of 6 guys.  We each pair up and box each other's gloves to develop fast twitch muscle reflexes and also power.  The sound of 3 or 4 guys hitting boxing gloves is quite loud and violent sounding, yet, sort of cool.  When Coach Mark Hill gets out the flat gloves (I don't even know the terminology, nor do I care), the gloves meant for somebody else to hit, the sounds get even better!  Since you have 16oz boxing gloves hitting a flat surface, the slap that is produced is quite loud.  Honestly, it all really just pumps me up, the yelling and the positive reinforcement of the whole situation makes it really fun.  We were doing these combo's today where I would:

  • Block High with Right
  • Block Low with Right
  • Hook with Left
  • Hook with Right

and then switch arms.  The combo's are the most fun.  I really enjoy the simple ones like:

  • Uppercut Right
  • Uppercut Left
  • Hook Right
  • Hook Left

Although the more complicated ones are frustrating when you combine, hooks, uppercuts, kicking and elbow's all in one, then switch it all around to work the opposite arm... my head starts to spin.  This stuff is quite a workout, and a blast!


"Full Body Workout" is a pretty fair description

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 8:44am (September 21st, 2011)

Today, like many days, we'll start off stretching for 15 minutes, doing weights and then boxing each other.  The process will take an hour and a half.  Then we'll hit the pool for some power work against either bands (surgical tubing with a belt) or the buckets (large buckets with a pully system you tow across the pool).  The pool workout will last another 1.5 hours.

This afternoon we will stretch for 45 minutes, then have a two hour pool workout which focuses on speed work.  It will be burst speed with some easy swimming inbetween.  Total workout time today will be 5.75 hours, unless of course they want us to go longer.... I've learned it's never shorter than planned.

I still love it.


6 Hours of Exercise Today

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 11:29pm (September 19th, 2011)

If I'm not in the best shape of my life soon, I'm doing something horribly wrong.  This is the most I've worked out in my life.  I'm loving every minute of it but WOW am I tired.  It's tough to get through a full day without a nap.  It's rough on my life and my work.  I'm in survival mode right now.


Gaining Confidence

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 1:20pm (September 19th, 2011)

Club Wolverine is throwing a big meet for post graduate swimmers in November.  I recently learned I would be welcome to compete.  I'll be swimming at least the 100 Back, perhaps the 100 Fly as well but most importantly, they offer the 200 Medley Relay!  I have always loved that event since it gives me a chance to tag an official time for a 50 backstroke.  To those who don't know, since the lead swimmer is doing backstroke, it is a legal in-water start and finish.  The rest of the relay is forced to do a relay exchange which negates their swim from being counted as an individual 50y/50m time.  This has always given me a great chance to achieve many more 50 backstroke times since it's rarely offered as an individual event.  

Anwyay, I'll have the chance to lead off a 200 Medley Relay at this meet!  As me and another team member were talking about it in the locker room, I mentioned that I wanted a shot at that 50 backstroke.  After some joking, he replied "I don't know, (insert name) is pretty fast at the 50 back".  It was an understandable reply to my confidence charged aspiration of wanting the spot on the relay team.  I didn't reply at all, just smiled and thought to myself "I'm faster than that guy".

Understand that it's no disrespect to this other backstroker.  He's significantly faster than me in the 100m and 200m distances.  However, there is only one event I pride myself in, and it's the 50 backstroke.  I would never say I have some sort of superhuman speed by any means, but I don't think many people would disagree I'm moderately quick in the event.  With a summer of training and barely any coaching, I broke the 25-29 USMS World Record with a 26.64 in the event.  I can honestly say that I'm noticeably faster and better trained now.  I don't think a 25 second swim is outside the realm of possibilities.  The exciting part is that I'll have a chance to swim it in a pool I'm comfortable in very soon!

I think I have what it takes to lead off the best 200m Medley Relay Club Wolverine can put together.  I look forward to proving it.


Yards, my old friend!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 1:19pm (September 17th, 2011)

It's been months since we've trained short course yards rather than long course meters.  This week we swam 3 days with the pool swapped over to SCY.  I've enjoyed the change of scenery.  Since the tiles on the bottom of the pool are rectangles, I've gotten to experience an entirely new perspective of them.  No longer are they so tall, but they seem so wide the past few days.  Since there are also 4 walls in the natatorium, while breathing to my left and right, I discovered two walls I had no idea existed until Wednesday.  Really quite exhilarating.

We did a few short kick sets this week.  Most of which I held my own.  They were all on short rest, my best being a 1:04.2 from a push with less than :30 seconds rest. To this day I've never broken 1:00 in a 100 yard kick.  Someday I will.

My moment to shine this week was a great 200 I had against all the sprinters.  The result was not that I won, but how close I was to them all, while swimming backstroke.  We had just finished up a hard set and to finish it off, we put on paddles and fins and were directed to swim a 200y for time.  I was feeling pretty good and I knew I might be able to hold my own for a bit.  I worked the underwaters quite a bit and lead the entire field of 10 sprinters for 125 yards.  I ended up taking 5th out of the group while everybody else was swimming freestyle, I touched in a 1:38 or so (from a push).  I was pretty close to the first place finisher as well.  The fact that I was that close to the leader at the touch put a smile on my face.  Every once and a while I have a good set :)


A single practice today!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:37pm (September 15th, 2011)

After so many "doubles", it was refreshing to be done after the morning workout today.  We had a single 4600 meter workout this morning with some dryland mixed into the workout.  The main set was:

4 x 200m :20 rest pull
4:00 Stretch
6 x 150m :15 rest swim
4:00 Hip flexer stretch in the hot tub
8 x 100m :10 rest swim
10 x 50 @ :40 swim 
4 x [2:00 step ups and :30 rest]

Those step ups at the end was pretty tough, it involved simply stepping up on a single beacher for 2:00 straight.  The fact that we were barefoot made it tougher.  We were on concrete and after 3 sets of fast stepping up and down, your feet really start to hurt.  The last set we basically were jumping up and down off the bleacher.  The bottoms of my feet were burning with pain.  My pain had nothing to do with the workout itself, the fact that I was straining the structure of my foot was the issue.  I felt like the set had good intentions but it would have benefitted everybody much more to have proper footware.

I got some good feedback from the coaches today regarding my backstroke form.  It's been improving consistently and I seem to be catching the water better and better in practice.  Their complement was followed with yet another reminder that for me to improve, I need to become stronger.  It seems as though their thinking is that I am near my potential from a technique standpoint, now I need to gain muscle to further improve my times.  I would have to agree.

One thing I find interesting is that I've been training with CW for 4 months and unfortunately, I don't look any different physically. I'm feeling my progress in the water and on the clock but I don't look like I've been working out 5-7 hours a day for 3-4 months.  I look forward to some visible results. 

Training Quote
"Plastic bleachers... wet feet... what could go wrong?!" - Kevin Doak

That practice was harder than expected

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 10:13pm (September 14th, 2011)

Today was did 30 minutes of dryland followed by a 15 minute boxing session.  The pool workout looked pretty easy:

4 x [25y bucket with :10 rest + 50 All Out (Purple)]

Each round followed by 400 relatively easy swim/kick stuff.

The rounds were:

2 rounds with fins/paddles
1 round with fins
1 round with no equipment 

I underestimated how exhausted I would be by pulling a water filled 20 gallon bucket 25 yards, which took 15-20 seconds each time.  I eventually realized that if you add a race start, you're really only swimming about 15 seconds in the first 50 yards of a race.  This means that the 50 all out was pretty much a second 50 of a 100 yard race.  It was a rough set.  My 50 yard times in all four rounds were:


I'm glad it was only four rounds.  That was rough. 


Brace for impact!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 7:30pm (September 12th, 2011)
Power Tower

Today was challenging.  The morning workout was 2.5 hours of aerobic swimming and sprint kicking.  This afternoon was a 1 hour lifting session, followed by a burst speed set of only 1800 yards.  It was mostly bucket work.  "Buckets" refer to a large aluminum structure which has an intricate pully system and a 20 gallon drums filled up with water.  You strap a belt on your waist and because of the pully system, you are able to pull the cord a full 25 yards/meters with significant resistance.  It was a tough practice, but at the same time, not really that difficult.  This can mean only one of two things:

  1. The Coaching staff just feels like: Hey, lets lay off these guys for ONCE in their lives, no need for EVERY day to be difficult.
  2. The Coaching staff is giving us one moderately easy day, and they will DEMOLISH us tomorrow.

I'm going with the FAR more probable scenario, which is option #2.  Team: Brace for impact.


Saturday Speed

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 2:15pm (September 10th, 2011)

Saturdays are typically race pace.  Today was no different.  We had a few crazy sets which included this runon sentence:

Swimming as fast as we could for 40 meters. getting out, putting on boxing gloves, boxing against another swimmer who was holding their boxing gloves out for 30 seconds, tossing off the gloves, diving in, swimming all out for 25 meters, getting out, boxing your partner again, diving in for a 50 all out for time.

We did that a few times, talk about a workout!


Get that Joe out of my Lane!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 11:05pm (September 9th, 2011)

There are two groups in the pool when I'm with the team.  The Joe's, and the Pro's

Understand that it's almost entirely joking when it's even mentioned.  The Post Grads at some point determined that due to the fact that we have a handful of Olympians in the group, we can consider the group "Pro's".  Everybody else in the pool, specifically the college guys are "Joe's" as in "Regular Joe's".  Anytime it's mentioned, it's guaranteed to squeak a smile from either group since we all know it's said in a joking manner.

On Friday afternoon, the college team had cleared a lane for the Post Grads to use, yet one person remained.  All I saw was that he had a white CW cap.  I turn to the coach and a few guys and with a smile on my face blurted out "Can we get this Joe out of of my lane or what?".  The guys laughed as usual and the coach snickered, only to follow up with, "Sure, let me get Peter Vanderkay, Olympic Gold Medalist out of your lane Doak".  It was among the most epic "open mouth, insert foot" moment of my life, good thing I was joking. 

It was worth a laugh from the group and yes, he got out of my lane.


Team, you have just experienced Doak's Day

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 9:53pm (September 9th, 2011)

Friday was MY DAY to shine.  I don't get many, in fact, this might be my first one.  Nearly every set we did was a set I naturally excelled in.  Our dryland included a 30 minute yoga session, the first the team has done.  Now, I'm ok bragging that I excelled in this, especially because I typically get trampled in other sets.  I really do like yoga, and while others were tumbling and falling, I was steady and focused.  It was like I never lost what I gained in all my yoga.  The balance postures felt natural and easy.  It felt so good to get back to all those poses which I haven't done in months.  I still got fairly deep into the stretches.  Although I wasn't singled out by any coaches, I think it was clear I was one of the only people to have done yoga in the past.  Everybody was dripping with sweat at the end, including myself.  It was a good workout.

The pool workout not only included kicking, but it was 10x100m on the 1:40... I saw that set and smiled.  It was an "Animal Kick" :)

I allowed one other swimmer to go ahead of me out of respect, though after the first one I had nearly covered the 10 second difference in start times and was on his feet by 90 meters.  Through the set I got a thumbs up from one of the coaches.  I had to let out a "I love this set!" to the coach.  I had a smile on my face through most of the workout.  Everything we did was right up my alley including the 20x25y underwater on the :30.  I hope that once I build some more muscle I can look at more sets and workout days like this.  It felt good to do well after SO many days of being in the middle or back of the pack.


Not my best day

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 10:23pm (September 8th, 2011)

I'm run down.  It's been yet another long week.  I didn't do anything today I would consider impressive in the pool.  This morning we ended our workout with another 50m all out swim with full equipment (fins/paddles).  In the last few days I swam a 23.7 and a 23.0, both great times.  Today I had on smaller paddles, and admittedly, my effort level was lower, I just wasn't motivated to go fast.  I touched in a 23.9 but I promise you that was a generous split.  I can't imagine it was a 23 second swim.

This morning was an IN/OUT workout.  Meaning we swam for 30 minutes, then went upstairs to do dryland for 30 minutes and repeated that process twice.  We boxed and did an ab workout while we weren't swimming.  It was a challenging morning.

This evening wasn't much different.  I was just in slow motion.  Luckly Coach Mark Hill worked with me on my backstroke body position for a while and I actually got something out of an otherwise difficult/boring workout.  Tonight we tried the "AvidaSport" performance monitoring system again.  It consists of 5 modules you strap to your body, one on each wrist, one on each ankle and one on the top of your head (under a cap).  The head mounted one has an earpiece to give you feedback on your rates.  It will tell you verbally how fast you are moving your arms and legs.  The information is relayed wirelessly to a tablet PC the coach is holding which tells him how everybody is swimming.  The MD group uses them much more than sprinters do.  We've tried these 3 times now. Last two times around I couldn't get mine to work correctly.  The system as a whole has been an annoying part of practice.  It takes 20 minutes to get it all strapped together, only for there to be a technical problem which reduces the experience to us simply wearing a bunch of stuff on our bodies with no benefit.  Today was no different at all.  50 guys all put them on and not a single one got any feedback from the system.  I'm not sure I'll ever try the system out again, it just seems like wasted time.  The swimmers agree, it's a FANTASTIC system in theory but we cannot get the darn thing to work, even with two AvidaSport employees on site.  AvidaSport, PLEASE fix this, it's a truly revolutionary concept!

And of course I had to make a crack at the end of practice which raised the concern that perhaps the system wasn't waterproof :)


The new guy chose a bad morning to start!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 3:11pm (September 8th, 2011)

We've picked up 5 other post grad swimmers since I joined only a few months ago.  It's exciting to see new faces and watch the program grow.  Today a new backstroker joined us.  After meeting him and learning of his stroke specialty I couldn't be more happy to have another backstroker on the team!  The last few weeks has been a little challenging swimming alone while others swim freestyle.  Welcome Adrian!

The new guy chose a rough morning to begin.  One of our warmup sets were:

4 x [10 pushouts + 50 Fly + 10 dips + 50 Back + 10 pushups + 50 Breast + 5 wide grip pullups + 50 Free]

We did it at an aggressive pace as well.  No rest at all.  10 Dips doesn't sound bad until you realize we had to do it after a fast 50 meter butterfly.  It was a difficult, but short set.


Floating Bodies

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 3:01am (September 8th, 2011)

Yea, a disturbing image huh...

At one point during our dryland workout, I happend to look down in the competition pool to see a bunch of floating, motionless bodies.  The womens team was learning how to float :)  They had snorkles on so they didn't even need to pick up their head to breathe.  It was sort of an unsettling image to anybody who's seen a scary-ish movie.  About 40 motionless bodies face down in a pool.  Quite the sight!


Make that 23.00 with Fins/Paddles from a push

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 8:57pm (September 7th, 2011)

Just a few days ago I went a 23.7 from a push with fins and paddles and felt darn good about it.  Today we finished a 5500 meter practice with a fast 50 with full equipment.  I used slightly larger paddles today and just ripped it up.  I almost went as fast as some of the freestyle sprinters on the team.  One guy went 21.2, a very respectable time.  I was sure to keep my underwater distance to 15 meters only.  It's easy to blast past at least 25 meters when you've got some fins on.  I wanted a consistent benchmark to aim at for the future.  I felt so fast, I knew it would be a best time.  That "Doak, twenty three oh" felt so good to hear.  That's darn fast.  That was the second time I swam faster than the 50 back world record of 24.04 by Liam Tancock of Great Britain.  How that guy went a 24.0x without a set of fins will always impress me.  There was a time when I would put on equipment and not be able to break a world record.  As pathetic as that sounds, the fact that I can (with the help of equipment) swim faster than the fastest person the planet seems to put a smile on my face.  Sad, I know.

I'm still enjoying being a part of the team.  I appreciate what I learn from these guys every day.

Training Quote
"I don't care about rest, I care about speed" - Coach Mark Hill

It continues

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 11:28pm (September 6th, 2011)

Today was our longest practice day since starting back up 3 weeks ago.  A 2.5 Hour Morning Session and a 3.0 Hour evening session must equal somewhere around 13 hours.  That's how it feels anyway.  It's tough to lift my arms and my lower abs are pretty much useless, still torn up from last week.  The workload in only two days has been very strenuous.  We get Wednesday morning off, not that I'll sleep in, but at least I can rebuild a bit of what has been destroyed this week alone.  We had another ab session today.  I considered sitting out of it entirely since I'm already pretty torn up.  I decided to give it a try and it wasn't too bad except for the leg lifts.  The work in the pool has been mainly annoying me, lots of long swimming, which I wouldn't mind if there were more backstrokers.  Since everybody else does freestyle, it just feels like I'm getting run over after beginning last in my lane (40 seconds after the first guy goes) and then getting passed 200 meters later by the first guy burning up the lane doing freestyle.  I actually look forward to the few sprint sets we've done.  I'm still excelling a little at the kick sets.  I'm 2nd or 3rd out of all the sprinters (10+).  I seem to have good speed but can't hold it for more than about 40 meters STILL.  I've swam a few :32 second 50 meter timed kicks lately.  That's a good place to start.  There is one guy on the team who can kick with a board in :28 seconds. I attempt to race him each time we kick, I'm zero for plenty-of-tries so far.  My backstroke feels great.  One thing I can credit Club Wolverine and Coach Mark Hill is an understanding of how my backstroke works.  I comprehend the timing, placement of my hands in the water and how to pull.  It's amazing what I've learned from him thus far.  Each day I'm in the pool I think about when I'll be able to try it all out in a meet.  I'm looking forward to some masters meets and Nationals in December.

Today the coaching staff asked for my college transcripts.  It's the first step in gaining an excemption to a NCAA rule preventing post-graduate swimmers from training with current NCAA swimmers.  I will provide my transcripts, then a letter will be requested from USA Swimming.  For now, we have to swim a separate workout from the college team, not an entirely bad thing (at times).

I'm feeling run down but very healthy.  I'm eating so much food it's ridiculous.  Somebody today dared to ask me... "why are you so hungry?"... to which I responded, "I just worked out for five and a half hours".  

Training Quote
"We're gonna do abs... till you have some" - Coach Mark Hill

23.7 Fins/Paddles Backstroke from a Push

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 5:00pm (September 5th, 2011)

Although I didn't know it before practice started, I was in for a 3.5 Hour practice.  We ran, we boxed, we did a 36 station dryland/weight circuit, we ran some more, then we swam for 1.5 hours including a 1600 meter IM set.  We finished up with a 50 stroke with Fins and Paddles for time.  I was the only sprinter swimming backstroke so I was all alone.  Since it's dangerous to dive in with paddles, we always do push starts.  I was one of the last heats to start.  I watched some very fast swimming and prepared for my 50 back.  I blasted off to a good 15 meters underwater and cranked my arms to the other side in a blistering 23.7 seconds.  It was the fastest I've ever moved through the water swimming backstroke.  I was proud of my time.  I was relieved to hear we were only practicing once today.  Time to recover


Fall Masters Meets!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 10:10pm (September 4th, 2011)

The coaches have been asking for a list of meets we want to attend before Olympic Trials so they can optimize the training around these events.  Most guys are going to Pan-Ams, Nationals or World Cup meets.  I've qualified for Nationals in Atlanta this December, but prior to that, I don't have anything on my schedule.  I'm hoping to tag at least a few Masters meets before December.  This will be a little tricky since the meets are on Sundays.  Since we typically do "Race Pace" on Saturdays, I'll most likely ask the coaching staff if I can either go easy on Saturday and then swim the meet on Sunday, or train normally on Saturday, race a meet on Sunday and request Monday off to recover.  I'm confident they will accomodate at least a few of those requests.  I'm excited to swim some masters meets again and catch up with some friends!


Banks are closed, but we still swim.

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 10:02pm (September 4th, 2011)

You should have seen their faces.

I asked "Do we have Monday off like the college guys for labor day?".  The look of "you're kidding right?" began washing over their faces as soon as I finished the sentence.  I was half tempted to follow up with a little chuckle to make them think I was joking with them even though it was a serious question.  The barometer of whether or not we should train is closely tied to both of the following statements: "Is it physically possible to enter this building?" and "Did we already train for 6 days in a row?".

If we can get in the building, and we have not already trained 6 days in a row, then yes, we have practice.

I still feel like I could use another day off.  All the dryland, weights, running and swimming have left me feeling run down.  I spent the weekend letting my body rebuild itself.  I cranked up my water intake to ridiculous levels this weekend.  I didn't do anything physical that I didn't HAVE to and I still feel worn out.


Hardest Week of My Life

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 11:27pm (September 2nd, 2011)

It's been a rough one.  Between running, lifting, dryland and swimming, I had no idea what was in store for me.  Five days this week have been:

30 Mintues Abs
30 Minutes Running/Boxing
30 Minutes Full Body Lifting Circuit
60 Minutes Swimming

2 Hours Swimming

I need a day off. I'm too tired to even write.