October 2011

Oct
31

A pain free evening!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 6:00pm (October 31st, 2011)

After the physical trainer manipulated my rib back into place this morning, I promptly headed over to the weight room for an additional 1 hour weight session.  At some point I popped it out again.  This afternoon I had him do it all over again.  This trainer is amazing, he apparently worked with the USOC during the last olympics. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Olympic_Committee

He started out cracking my entire back; a process that is apparently called "thoracic release".  His first attempt didn't work very well on me, so he said, "lets try a different method, this isn't going to be very comfortable".... and it wasn't.  He basically folded my head and chest forward, put his arm under me and put my spine into an S curve three times.  I've never heard so many cracks in my life!  Next he had me fold my hold my opposite shoulder with my hand and push against his hand with my elbow, he popped the rib right back in without an issue.  Afterward he did some rather painful massaging behind my left shoulder blade to try to prevent it from happening again.  The guy is really helpful and I was overwhelmingly thankful for his assistance.

After he adjusted me, I swam a 5,000 meter practice without issue, I feel great!  I think weights are definitely what cause this.  I did some light research about the condition and it can be a chronic issue.  

I'm really glad it's resolved but chances are I'll just do it to myself all over again tomorrow when we lift again :(

Oct
31

Double slipped rib

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 11:34am (October 31st, 2011)

A quick visit to the athletic trainer was time well spent.  After probably a year of pain in my spine I finally got it looked at.  The athletic trainer asked me a few quick questions and then proceeded to feel up and down my spine.  He immediately identified the area that needed to be adjusted.  The whole process involved the trainer standing behind me and me lifting my arm shoulder level with my arm bent, he pushed on my slipped rib while I pushed my elbow away from my body toward him.  He did it twice and before I knew it, I was pain free and out of there in a total of about 5 minutes.  I'm kicking myself for living with this pain for that long.

The unfortunate part of the story is that afterward, I lifted weights hard and popped the rib right back out again.  As I've been told by another swimmer, this will most likely be a chronic problem.  Awesome.

I feel better knowing exactly what is causing the pain, how to have it fixed and what types of exercises are causing it.  Knowledge gained... check

Oct
30

Mix it up!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 11:34pm (October 30th, 2011)

For over two months I've been matched up with the same weight lifting partner.  Lately we've been focusing on the "strength" phase of our lifting.  On Friday our duo joined two other swimmers for a portion of the lift.  It made me realize the value of switching up lifting partners every so often.  The lesson can be used on swim workouts as well.  Since joining CW, I've accomplished things I didn't know I could do in the pool.  Sometimes because it was simply written on the workout and other times because I was pushed by another athlete who had a greater capacity or speed than me.  These situations make me break outside the boundries I've created in my training.

On Friday I increased my leg press to 400lbs x 4 reps!  That's a massive increase for me!  My other exercises increased as well.  Just gotta mix it up every so often!

Oct
29

Saturday Set

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 6:53pm (October 29th, 2011)

Saturdays are race pace. The 50's were to be swim at 100 pace and short pool races were at 50 pace.

4 x

6 pull ups
50y fast from a push on 1:10
50y fast from a push on 1:10
4 pull ups
37.5y in short pool (12.5y) from a dive on :30
25y in short pool (12.5y) from a dive on :30
600y tween set

It was a bit rough but the rounds went quickly.  There was no rest between each swim or pullups.  You ran to each station.

Oct
27

Body Checkup

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 10:57am (October 27th, 2011)

I'm feeling great!

We'll take it from the top down...

Head/Neck - Nothing to report now.  I strain the muscles in my neck every so often.  I've learned this is because I don't stretch my neck before practice.  A dive or backstroke start will jolt this area and cause about a week of pain.  Everything is good right now

Spine - For almost a year I've been battling a mild shooting pain midway down my spine, I think I did it either shoveling snow or doing pushups.  I've felt it when I breath deep.  It's been annoying but clearly not debilitating.  Over the past few weeks I've REALLY been stretching it.  I've been holding a railing with one hand and pulling my entire body away from it to really stretch my back.  I think it's working!  I feel much less pain.  I hope I'm not speaking too soon but I think I'm cured!

Chest - Nothing to report, just sore

Abs - I'm a little torn up from Tuesday afternoon's ab workout, especially since I stayed after and did even more abs afterward.  15 mintues of dolphin kicking on Wednesday didn't help the situation but it's just soreness, no pain.

Legs - Nothing to report, just sore

Feet - This swim program is rough on the feet.  Some swimmers have cut their feet on the blocks (they're incredibly rough/sharp), I'm luckly enough to do backstroke starts most of the time.  The fins they recommend we use are called "T2" or "Tech 2" fins.  They allow maximum flex in your ankle.  This also means that they really strain the ankle.  My tops of my ankles and tops of my feet are almost always in pain from the constant use of these fins.  We do a lot of dryland barefoot so my feet are pretty sore most of the time.

Oct
26

Wishing for more backstroke sets

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 10:10am (October 26th, 2011)

Some workouts just won't ever benefit my backstroke.  They are designed for freestyle.  Most other swimmers will at least swim the 50 free and therefore benefit from some freestyle work even if they swim breaststroke.  I have no future in the 50 freestyle, and that's ok.  On Tuesday morning, I found myself being the most (and only) negative person in the pool.  I was annoyed and the reason was that we weren't doing anything that would ever help my backstroke.  Since I'm the only sprint backstroker, I can't expect that all the workouts will include sets meant for me.  Almost all sets can be modified to work for backstroke but this one couldn't.  I got called out by another swimmer for being negative.  His comment was well placed.  I agreed with him and proceeded to shut my mouth.

I'm realizing that there are some glaring holes in these practices for a backstroker.  I do trust my coaches, but I also have a good idea of what I need to improve.  I need more VO2 MAX sets and more kicking.  Therefore I'll add it in myself.  I'll either modify the sets or stay afterward and do an extra set.

Oct
26

50 Kick LCM in 31.1 seconds

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 10:02am (October 26th, 2011)

I'm getting better.

At the end of a main set yesterday I swam a 31.13 for a 50 meter kick from a push.  I swam 15 meters underwater and did it without a kickboard.  Considering that in May 2011 I swam a 31.6 with a board, I don't think that's much of a drop in time.  I'm proud of my swim but it just makes me wish we did more kick sets.  

WORKOUT:

4 x (last round with fins)

  • Dive with no breakout, surface and kick with superman arms to 25m, blast swim to 35m, easy to wall on 1:15
  • Push with 3 cycles breakout, kick with superman arms to 25m, blast swim to 35m, easy to wall on 1:15
  • Easy 50m on 1:15
  • Dive and breakout with 4 cycles, kcik with superman arms to 35m, blast finish to wall

500 easy between rounds

 

After all that, one blast 50m kick for time

Training Quote
"How many people have doubted your abilities in your life?! Show those people!" - Coach Mark Hill
Oct
25

Always someone better than me, and that's good!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 10:01pm (October 25th, 2011)

I find that I excel in some areas, and nearly fail in others.  Each day I learn something new about my abilities in the pool.  There are moments when I feel like "wow, I'm practically the fastest/best in the group at this".  And moments later we switch the activity and I find myself at the back of the pack, embarrassingly bad or slow at whatever we're doing.  I imagine it happens with all of us.  We naturally excel at some things and are downright horrible at others.

I've come to appreciate the fact that no matter what it is, kicking, swimming, backstroke, etc... I'm pushed every moment of practice by somebody faster.  I find myself in a unique situation.  I'm surrounded by athletes who are all likely competing in the 2012 Olympic Games.  Even if I'm one of the fastest in the pool at something, there is always one guy faster than me.  It's GREAT motivation.  I always have to improve.  

This weekend one of the backstrokers on U of M's team went a 48.64 in his 100 Backstroke SCY!  I'm lucky enough to train alongside THAT GUY all season.  He will push me each day.

Oct
23

Nearly Lifetime Bests on a few hours of sleep

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 2:51pm (October 23rd, 2011)

It has been a whilwind 24 hours.  Since yesterday at 10am, I have driven 6 hours into Chicago, attended a 6 hour wedding/reception, slept for 4 hours and drove another 4 hours to Mason, MI to compete in 4 events.  Considering that in total I drove 10 hours, danced and stood or walked around for another 6 hours, I'd say my meet results are as good as to be expected:

50 Fly SCM: 25.19 (+0.15 seconds of lifetime best)
50 Free SCM: 23.55 (+0.24 seconds off lifetime best)
100 Back SCM: 56.06 (+0.80 seconds off lifetime best) 
50 Back SCM: 25.80 (+0.65 seconds off lifetime best)

I'm actually pretty proud of my results.  I was dead tired falling asleep on the deck and was within +0.10 to +0.80 seconds off my lifetime bests in each event.  I'd say that's pretty darn good.  Time for some sleep! 

Oct
23

Mason Masters SCM Meet this morning!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 7:07am (October 23rd, 2011)

Let's try this again

I tried the "attend a wedding till midnight and try to swim at 9am" once before. It didn't go well. I just drove 4 hours back from Chicago. Wish me luck!

Oct
21

Dryland/Weight Room Progress

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 6:34pm (October 21st, 2011)

I'm starting to see my weight room and dryland progress recently.  Today I achieved my best performances in nearly everything we measure (on this day of weights):

Lat Pull Down: 190lbs (3 reps)
Incline Bench: 180lbs (4 reps)
Leg Press: 350lbs (4 reps) 
Dumbell Curls: 50lbs per arm (4 reps)
Tricept Extension: 165lbs (4 reps) 

And to top it all off, when I started this program I could barely do a single jump pushup (normal pushup and both hands and feet leave the ground at the top).  Now I do multiple sets of 10 jump pushups in a row, however, these jump pushups, my hands and feet leave the ground and I go into a full streamline position.  Other variations are when I touch my knee with a single hand or both hands to both knees.  The version I haven't mastered yet is the 180 degree spin pushup jump.  It's basically a pushup where you go airborne, you spin in mid air and your feet land where your hands started.  I can only get about 150 degrees so far.  Check out the video of a teammate doing one.

See video
Oct
20

ALWAYS positive reinforcement on deck

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 2:07pm (October 20th, 2011)

One thing I really enjoy about Club Wolverine is that there is nothing but positive reinforcement on deck.  Nobody speaks negatively.  Even during a main set, coaches are SCREAMING at the swimmers, it's ALL positive.  Keep in mind it's a group of adult men we're dealing with, so a certain degree of vulgarity is to be expected but it's always shouted in a motivating way, and frankly... it pumps me up.

I always enjoyed when Big Joe Tristan, the graduate assistant at EMU my Freshman year, used to tell me mid-set that he knew I could go faster.  He would read my 100 back time, and say, cmon Doak, I know you can do better than that.  It was positive support, it was belief in my abilities and it enabled me to achieve times I didn't think were possible in the pool.

Fast forward 11 years and I find myself surrounded by the same motivational coaching I liked so much about Joe Tristan.  On Wednesday we had 5 coaches timing 6 lanes, all of them running back and forth taking times and stroke rates.  The coaches were smiling watching the amazing times roll in.  There was yelling, screaming and whistling galore.  To me, it's an amazing feeling to be part of this.  I found myself screaming and yelling at a fellow sprinter I train with, Beng Foo.  He was racing every single swim and I was yelling my head off to try to keep him motivated.  He did great during the set and I know it was partly because he (like me) knows that people were watching and cared how fast he was swimming.  That's how it should be.  I find my current experience a sharp contrast to swimming alone in a community pool, alone and bored.  During that time in my career, nobody cared if I did 100 yards or 10,000 yards.  I could get out at any time and go home.  Although I've always been good at motivating myself, it seems undeniable now that I'm gaining strength from the support I feel as part of this program.  It feels good.

Training Quote
"This is your moment, this is the last wall of your 100 back, work your underwaters" - Coach Mike Bottom
Oct
20

Heading to British Nationals in the 2012 Olympic Pool!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:06am (October 20th, 2011)
Heading to British Nationals in the 2012 Olympic Pool!

The details need to be worked out, but I've decided to swim at the 2012 British National Championships in March 2012!  The meet is basically the British Olympic Time Trials but unlike the U.S. Trials, international swimmers are welcome to compete if they make the cut.  I have the time cut in the 100 Backstroke so as long as the registration process, flight and hotel situation works out, I will compete in the 2012 Olympic Pool in London!  It will be a very expensive trip to only swim one event but as some friends and relatives have said... this is a once in a lifetime chance.

Looking forward to it!  I'm really racking up the meets!

Oct
20

Mirrors are out to hurt swimmers

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:01am (October 20th, 2011)

And as if I was some sort of oracle, a U of M swimmer cut their finger while fighting over an underwater mirror.  He needed 6 stitches and is out of the water for a bit.  I hate to say I told ya so, but... I definitely told ya so.  Leave those mirrors alone while they are in their natural habitat.  They will attack if they feel threatened.

Oct
20

Keep those rates up!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 10:53am (October 20th, 2011)

We've been focusing a lot on stroke rates in practice.  The coaches have recommended that I keep my stroke rates around 1.15 seconds per full stroke cycle (two strokes).  Today's set was short but brutal:

2 x everything below

6 x 25y on :30 at 100 pace 
6 x 50y on :45 easy 

75y on :45 All out 100 pace
25y on :45 easy
50y on :45 All out 100 pace 
4 x 25y on :30 all out 100 pace 

then
300 easy
 

I was a :38 on the 75y and a :26 on the 50y with some 12's and 13's for the 25y part.  My only real success was that I held decent stroke rates.  I was swimming head to head with the best 100 backstroker on U of M's team.  For the most part I held my own but honestly, I was getting KILLED on the underwaters.  I still have a long way to go till I would consider myself good at underwater kicking.

WORKOUT:

400 Swim
300 Kick

12 x 50y Dive starts with race finishes

8 x 25y mid pool turns 

2 x everything below

6 x 25y on :30 at 100 pace 
6 x 50y on :45 easy 

75y on :45 All out 100 pace
25y on :45 easy
50y on :45 All out 100 pace 
4 x 25y on :30 all out 100 pace 

then
300 easy

Training Quote
"It''s not gonna tickle (shouted during the hardest part of the main set)" - Coach Mark Hill
Oct
18

Hold your breath!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 1:16pm (October 18th, 2011)

Today we had a set which went something like this:

3 x

1:00 slow kick body position over mirror on bottom of pool
1:00 hold your breath underwater the entire time (with bands attached to the wall)

1:00 slow swim work on body position over mirror on bottom of pool
1:00 hold your breath underwater the entire time (with bands attached to the wall)

1:00 normal swim work on body position over mirror on bottom of pool
1:00 hold your breath underwater the entire time (with bands attached to the wall)

300 kick/swim 50's

I'm embarrased to say I didn't make a single of the 1:00 breath holding.  Some struggled, others did it no problem.  I could barely make it :30 seconds before I needed more air.  I've never been good at "no breath" swimming but I'm significantly worse than other swimmers.

The set was even more unbearable due to the fact that the natatorium apparently hasn't turned on the heat yet.  This typically isn't an issue because we are working so hard that our high body temperatures compensate for the cold temps.  Today was entirely different.  We were barely moving.  Just sitting underwater holding our breath and kicking slowly connected to a band.  I was freezing after an hour of doing practically nothing in the water.

Oct
17

MirrorWarz 2011

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 10:52pm (October 17th, 2011)

U of M has large 8' mirrors which are probably made of reflective backed plexiglass.  Each day, the college guys fight over which lane they are positioned under.  They sort of beat the crap out of each other underwater.  Sometimes it gets pretty brutal.  I swear somebody is going to cut themselves on these things.

Oct
17

I shouldn't compare but...

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 12:06pm (October 17th, 2011)

I heard about some 100 back swims at EMU's intersquad meet two weeks ago.  Everybody was 51.xx+.  A fellow Alumni told me that my 100 Backstroke at Milan would have been the fastest of the meet.  It's silly to compare but it still makes me smile to hang with the whippersnappers.

This past weekend U of M swam Notre Dame and Oakland.  The fastest time from U of M was a 50.39.  I was a 50.53 a week prior.  I've often said that comparing to other swimmers is pointless since everybody is physically different but I can admit I still compare.  I'm proud to be the same speed as Division 1 NCAA athletes... 10 years later :)

Oct
16

An enjoyable week

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 9:09am (October 16th, 2011)

I had a great week training.  I had some solid practices, some nice comradery with the team and a few nice conversations with coaches.  We had some very challenging sets this week, unfortunately none of which I excelled in.  We were warned at the beginning of the week that during this "Strength Phase" of weight lifting we would slow down in the pool.  That would explain why my times weren't as fast as usual however, it seemed like I was among the only swimmers that it really affected, others swam just as fast or faster than other weeks.  In the weight room we shifted from longer sets of 8 reps/6 reps/4 reps to three sets of 3 reps.  The last rep being a "Negative Rep".  This is a rep which you pull the weight down (imagine a lat pull down) and you hold it there for a few seconds.  Next you will try to hold it as long as you can while your lifting partner pushes up on the bar, making it harder to hold down.  The whole process on just one rep could take 20+ seconds as you fight your partner to keep the bar where it is.  It's an interesting lifting theory I had never seen before training at CW.  I can't track it's effectiveness but I certainly feel like it multiplies the workload in the weightroom!

This week I had my first kick set where I really didn't excel at all.  It was a set of 100's followed by 50's followed by 25's fast with about :30 rest inbetween along with easy swimming between rounds.  I was among the slowest kickers of the day.  I just felt worn out by Friday, without much left to give.  I kicked a 100y with a board first in a 1:07 and then in a 1:04, neither time was impressive.

On Thursday I had perhaps one of the most meaningful swimming conversations of my career with Womens head coach Jim Richardson.  I'm going to make a new post about that one.

On Saturday we had a race day.  We did a 2,000 yard warmup and a 1,000 yard pre set to move on to two 100y races.  We were directed to treat it exactly like a race, hold nothing back, as much rest and cool down as we needed.  After I watched a sprinter swim a 45.6 with a drag suit on, and another swimmer touch the wall in 50.3 seconds in a 100 fly, I jumped in the water to see what I could do in a 100 Backstroke SCY.  I admit I was trying to pace it, not the best approach to a 100 yard race.  I finished with energy left (felt a lot like my 100 back last weekend at Milan).  I touched in a pathetic 51.80.  The coach told me my stroke rates were 1.3+ which is slow.  My swim wasn't impressive at all and not on the level others were swimming at.  I was a little embarrassed.  To put it in perspective, a swimmer who had JUST gotten blood drawn for drug testing hopped in and swam a 50 breast in 24.4.  That's impressive.  I swam it down, stretched for a few minutes, dried off and got ready to swim another 100 back.  I was tired from the week of training but felt like I could swim faster this time.  My coach approached me and said "I'm just taking a guess here but it looked like you were trying to pace it.  You can't do that in a 100, go for it and hold on".  I agree, my best races were ones where I basically went 95% on that first 50 and just held on and powered through the second 50.  I hopped in and tried to do just that.  I attacked that first 50 with what felt like high stroke rates.  At the 75 I was dead tired but gave it all I had to bring it home.  I died as usual in the last 15 yards but I certainly went for it.  I touched in a 51.00, an improvement but still not where I wanted to be.  The coach was proud of how I swam it.  He mentioned my rates were 1.07 on the first 50 (too fast) and 1.17 on the way home (where I want to be).  Our stroke rates are caclulated based on how long it takes to swim a full arm cycle.  For a 100 back I need to be 1.15 seconds per cycle.  It was a good set and a learning experience.  Although I expected more, I suppose now I'm proud to say I can swim a 51.00 in a 100 back in practice.  Four months ago I shaved and tapered to swim a 51.94 at Masters Nationals in Mesa, AZ.  That's an improvement!

Training Quote
"Beng, I would marry that 2nd 50 of your race if I could, that thing was amazing" - Coach Mark Hill
Oct
11

The Personal Attention, The Focus, The Resources

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 8:22pm (October 11th, 2011)
The Personal Attention, The Focus, The Resources

The things I keep noticing about this program are the following:

The Personal Attention
It's extensive.  At any given time, there are multiple coaches, not only on-deck, but actively involved in practice.  They can be seeing running up and down the deck, following swimmers along the pool, providing encouragement or motivation in the form of cheering or yelling.  Picture this:  we did a kick set today, I was kicking 50 meters all out, part of this 50 meters was underwater.  Right before I started my swim, coach Mark Hill singled me out and said, "Doak, I want you to go as far underwater as you can, push it."  That attention in itself was motivating, I pushed off underwater with a charge of motivation I've never felt.  Around 20 meters later, I see Mark following me down the pool (I was in the outside lane) smiling, yelling and pumping his fist as I charged ahead of the other swimmers.  It was an amazing feeling to have that level of support.  Nobody has ever FOLLOWED ME DOWN THE POOL.  It's insane the level of attention we all get.

The Focus
This team is focused.  We all have different goals but are unified in the sense that we all want to excel above all other swimmers.  We are reminded of the excellence the team and coaches expect every single day.  The coaches name drop all the time.  It's done in the best way, targeting former or current swimmers on the team who have achieved amazing things.  We are focused on bettering ourselves. 

The Resources
If walking into Canham Natatorium isn't obvious enough that U of M allocates resources to the swim team, I don't know what else to tell you.  Not only do they have a great pool, they have extensive dryland exercise resources, their own weight room facility and new toys are always showing up.  It really hit me when I overheard Coach Mike Bottom talking to somebody about air purification.  It went something like this:  
Mike: "We should talk to **company** about those large air purification machines for the pool"  
Other Guy: "But the air is already pretty good"  
Mike: "Yea, but it could always be better"
The conversation just made me chuckle, because they could actually make it happen.  Another example, we've been using "Kaiser Machines" to measure how fast and how much we can lift (in abstract swimming arm directions).  We used to have to go downstairs to use them.  Weeks later, we got our own machines upstairs.  The resources are extensive.

After swimming on my own with nearly none of these, it's really refreshing to be part of a team where I get attention, focus and resources.

Oct
11

Heck of a kick set

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 5:04pm (October 11th, 2011)

We lost 3 of our sprint group while they compete in the PanPac international meet in Mexico.  In their absence we are down to 4 sprinters.  We had a heck of a kick set today.  I'm used to very aerobic kick sets.  This one was rough:

4 x
:20 seconds aqua jog
35m blast kick with chute then easy backstroke to wall, :20 seconds rest
25m blast kick with chute then easy backstroke to wall, :20 seconds rest
50m kick all out for time @ 1:15
35m Dive swim all out for time @ 1:30 
Then some easy swimming:
200 swim
100 kick
200 swim

We did the first two rounds with no equipment and the second two rounds with fins.  It definitely pushed me.  It seemed like we all traded places for who was winning the swim/kicks, I won some, I lost some.  On the 50's kick with a board I was a 33.2 and a 33.4, with fins on and no board, I kicked 35 of the 50 meters underwater and touched in a 23.3 and a 23.4.  On the last round we did a 50 swim instead of a 35 swim.  I touched in a 24.4 but I only did a 15 meter underwater kick.  I certainly held my own today and I know I can improve with more training.

Practice Information
Dist: 5,000 LCM - (Long Course 50 Meters)
Oct
9

100 Back SCY Lifetime Best on the way

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 6:10pm (October 9th, 2011)

Today showed me I have speed even when I'm broken down.  I swam a 50.53 in the 100 back and had energy left over at the end of my race.  It was the first time in my life I had anything left at the end of a 100 yard race.  I did a few things wrong which were a result of me being broken down after a hard workout week.

  1. I had a poor start.  The pool had Omega pads, very "start" unfriendly because of the low grip
  2. I had two bad walls (as usual), I need to flip faster which can only occur with more training or more rest
  3. My last wall at the 75 yard mark was almost as pathetic as ever, I barely got to 10 yards underwater
  4. My new finish, which is on my side, was sub par

The good part of the race was that I brought it home in 25.87!  Not too shabby!  My lifetime best remains my senior year in college when I swam a 48.51 and earned a MAC meet record and EMU Varsity Record.  I feel that at the rate I'm training, I will beat that time within 6 months.  I feel that if I shaved and tapered right now, I could hit a low 48 no problem.  This feels great, I love racing the clock and bettering myself.  I'm on the verge of being the best swimmer I've ever been... and I'm 30!

Training Quote
"It looked like you kept your rates up, just like we've been working on" - Ian Hulme
Oct
9

2011 Milan Masters Meet Results

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 12:54pm (October 9th, 2011)

I was pretty run down during this meet.  We had a very hard workout on Saturday and I worked outside most of the rest of the day.  Therefore I was ill prepared to swim fast at Milan this morning.  My coach Mark Hill recommended that I should not rest up for a meet like this. He recommended that I use it to build experience racing but not to get emotionally attached to my swims or the resulting times.  I value his expertise and it worked out great.  If I had rested for the meet and swum the times I did, I would be slightly disapointed.  However, since I'm run down, I'm actually impressed with my times for being so exhausted!

50 Fly SCY: 22.49 (tied my lifetime best)
50 Free SCY: 21.40 (0.04 seconds off my Mesa, AZ time from nationals)
50 Back SCY: 23.31 (2 tenths faster than Mesa, AZ time)
100 Back SCY: 50.53 (1.4 seconds faster than Mesa, AZ time)

Since I ONLY train backstroke, I'm most impressed with my 100 back time!  After swimming 3 other events, I managed to swim one of the fastest times in my life while unshaved, untapered and tired as heck.  Even more startling was that I had energy left at the end of that race!!!!  That has NEVER happened to me before!  I'm always DEAD on the last 25 yards and just barely touch the wall at the end.  This time I had too much energy at the end!  This is a very good sign for my training.  We have been working on keeping consistent rates while swimming our races and I did just that.

I can be taught!

Overall, my times were as good, or better than Mesa Nationals, but without being shaved and tapered!  I'm run down now and I'm faster than I was shaved, tapered and fully prepared to race.  That's awesome!

Special thanks to Milan High School, they once again did a great job running the meet and the fantastic food at the end! 

Oct
8

Milan in the morning!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 10:02pm (October 8th, 2011)

I will stick to my registered events for Milan.  A few days ago I was thinking I should swim the 100 Fly to qualify for an additional Minnesota Grand Prix event.  As it turns out I have the 50 Free, 100 Free, 100 Fly and 100 Back cut for Minnesota!  Therefore I will swim one event each day in MN.  I won't swim the 50 free since it is right before the 100 Back.

Anyway, excited to see what I can do in a yards pool tomorrow!  I ate a ton of food tonight, to the point I'm not feeling too great.  I hope I feel better in the morning.

Today at practice we did:

3 x
75y @ 1:15
50y @ 1:00
3 x 25 @ :30

With a 400 yard set inbetween each round.  I'm happy to report I started fast and got faster with each round.  I got my times down to a 40.2, 27.5, and 13.4.  I was slower than the other backstrokers, simply because they RUIN me on the underwater kicking.  I have a long way to go regarding underwater kicking power and endurance.

Oct
7

I'm a good kicker, but not a great kicker

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 6:11pm (October 7th, 2011)

Fridays are kick sets.  It went something like this:

2 x 50y @ 1:00 [1 easy, 1 fast]
200 swim 12.5y underwater off each wall
3 x 50y @ 1:00 [Descend 1-3]
3 x 150 swim 12.5y underwater off each wall
4 x 50y @ 1:00 [Odd easy, Even fast]
4 x 100 swim 12.5y underwater off each wall
5 x 50y @ 1:00 [Descend 1-3 then 1 easy, then 1 fast]
50 easy

I started off at 26 second 50y kicks from a push which was among the fastest in the pool of 50 guys.  Due to the separation between college guys and the post grad's, I couldn't see the college guys or how fast they were swimming but I was getting the reports from the coaches.  By the second set of 50's I sped up to a personal best of a 25.3 and later a 25.4.  My times were darn good for me, definitely the fastest of my life.  Compared to the college guys I was 4th out of the group and 1st out of the post grads which includes 4 olympians.  The fastest college guys were kicking 22.8's by swimming the entire thing underwater and pulling on the lane lines into the wall.  I have to give those guys a lot of credit for going that fast and holding their breath for 23 seconds while swimming all out!

I'm very proud of my times from today.  I'm the best kicker I've ever been! 

Training Quote
"Don't be afraid of going fast" - Coach Mark Hill
Oct
7

Milan Masters Meet this weekend!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 1:33pm (October 7th, 2011)

My first Masters meet in a while!  Although I signed up for just the:

50 Free
50 Fly
50 Back
100 Back

I might try to squeeze in a 100 Fly instead of the 50 Back.  Reason being, I signed up for the Minnesota Grand Prix in November so I would like to get a cut in the 100 Fly so I can swim more than the 100 Back LCM at that meet.  We shall see.  I'm looking forward to it and I'm bringing a fellow CW Elite swimmer to experience his first Masters meet! 

Oct
6

HUGE Time Drop! Best Animal Kick Ever!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:34am (October 6th, 2011)

We had some free time this morning as part of our "recovery" workout therefore I decided to try an animal kick for the first time in 7 months.  I began with the mindset of "I'll see how the first one goes and decide if I'll finish it"... it was a silly thought pattern since I always feel great on the first one but it made me stick with the set after I began with an EASY 1:10 kick.

To bring the beginners up to speed, an "Animal Kick" is a set from my EMU days where we kicked 10 x 100's yards on the 1:30 best average.

Today the breakdown was:

1:10
1:08
1:07
1:07
1:07
1:08
1:09
1:09
1:10
1:08

With an overall average of 1:08.3!  That represents a 3.5 second drop from February when I kicked 1:11.8!  I've NEVER been this fast in my entire life.  I've also never broken a 1:10 average!  This benchmark means a lot to me since I'm a backstroker who needs improved underwater kicking.  I'm really looking forward to the Milan meet this weekend even though I'm quite run down.

Health wise, I got over being sick in 2 days flat... sort of crazy.  It felt like a cold but it ran it's course VERY quickly.  Either my body took that virus down like a champ in 2 days or it wasn't actually a cold.  Either way, I'm feeling much improved.  My neck is still very sore but I'm stretching it multiple times a day to work it out.  Otherwise feeling great!

Oct
5

Another rough week

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 7:46am (October 5th, 2011)

Over the past week I've enjoyed some very good coaching as well as two of the hardest practices of my life.  Monday I got sick, most likely from pushing myself too hard with work and swim.  Then yesterday I injured my neck yet again.  I've been doing this thing to my neck since my freshman year in high school.  I'll do a dive or breathe quickly swimming freestyle and it will tweak some muscles in the bottom of my neck which takes about 2 weeks to heal.  In the mean time it's difficult to turn my head and makes sleeping nearly impossible due to the pain.

Yesterday I asked Coach Mark Hill if I should rest a day before my Milan Masters Meet.  He had an interesting point of view.  His opinion was to not let up at all regarding training.  If I were to rest and swim poorly, I would be emotionally affected.  His recommendation is to still swim a hard practice on Saturday, stay emotionally unattached to any swims on Sunday.  Therefore, if I swim well, I can say "great, I swam awesome".  If I don't swim very well, my reaction will be "oh well, I'm broken down so it makes sense".  It was an interesting point of view which I agree with.  It will give me additional race experience and I won't care if I swim poorly.  

Training Quote
"Your frustration is derived from the fact that you understand the flaw in your stroke, I'm ok with that. It's far better than being upset because you don't understand the issue." - Coach Mark Hill