February 2012

Feb
29

New experiences swimming in France!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 9:45pm (February 29th, 2012)
New experiences swimming in France! New experiences swimming in France!

Lots to update!  I had a chance to swim in the French Olympic Trial pool in Dunkirk, France (North France).  It was a great facility!  I swam about 1,000 meters (LCM) before lap swim time ended.  Overall I'm feeling good, no noticeable jetlag that everybody was warning me about.  I quickly made my time change adjustments and I think I'll be in good shape for British Nationals this Sunday when I swim the 100m Backstroke in the 2012 Summer Olympic Pool.  I'm very excited for the meet, I'll get to swim with two of my teammates from CW.  I'm happy to be able to be there to support them both.

After swimming at the location of the French Olympic Trials, it struck me that I'm racking up swimming in some of the greatest facilities on the planet!  This fact clearly isn't a mistake, if I have a chance to swim in a high profile meet in a legendary facility, I do whatever I can to make it happen!  The list is growing:

  • Omaha in 2008 (2008 U.S. Trials)
  • Atlanta in 2012 (site of 1996 Olympics)
  • Montreal in 2011 (site of 1976 Olympics)
  • Dunkirk in 2012 (site of 2008 and 2012 French Trials)
  • **SOON** London in 2012 (site of 2012 Olympics)

I'm proud of that list, it embodies some great swims and great memories.  I'm ever aware of my place in swimming and realize how much of an honor it is to swim in these legendary facilities where the greatest swimmers ever have swam.  I'm humbled and excited each time I earn a place in a meet at one of these facilities.  I love swimming.

I'm going to try to get a picture of the Dunkirk pool but honestly I feel weird taking pictures of a pool with random swimmers in it.  I also don't speak French so that would make a situation where security yelling at me that much more awkward.  I'll try to get a French speaking person to take one while I'm swimming.  Problem solved.

Feb
28

Swimming out a long flight in Amsterdam

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 7:27am (February 28th, 2012)
Swimming out a long flight in Amsterdam

It was a great flight and I found a long course pool to swim in once I arrived in Amsterdam!  I found an "OmniSport" facility listed online. Since I was short on time before a train to Belgium, I got a cab to the pool.  I knew it would be steep but I underestimated how bad it would be for a 13 minute cab ride.  €40 Euros later ($52.80 U.S.Dollars) I arrived at the pool.  Admission was €3.30 which was entirely worth it considering it was a 50 meter long course pool.  Online I had read the following:

The pool is now reopened and has completely renewed. There are more pools available: a 50m pool, an instruction pool, a diving pool, and a recreation pool. It's a very interesting pool to visit! The pool was quite crowded. I swam in the least crowded lane and never had to share with more than one person. Most lanes were occupied by rec. swimmers doing breastroke. Pace clocks were on both sides, digital, and easily visible. The pool is beautiful, and one of the best you will ever see.

 

The review was dead accurate.  There was relatively high security for a pool.  Stainless steel body height turnstyles with RFID bracelets.

Feb
25

Taper Time!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 11:59pm (February 25th, 2012)

Tapering is always an enjoyable experience.  Today I was contemplating why it's always so refreshing to taper.  There are a few rewarding things about it:

  1. Less practices which allow your body to begin to recover from the weeks/months of hard workouts
  2. Practices are shorter, also helping out the recovery process
  3. More focus on details and speed/power

Taper sort of feels like an entirely acceptable series of slacker workouts.  You come in to practice late, flop around in the pool for a bit, coaches expect very little and you get to leave practice early.  All the while you're visualizing your races as the excitement builds for the big meet ahead!

I had my last hard workout today.  I race in the Olympic Pool in 8 days.  I've chosen a 1 to 1.5 week taper, I took it easy on Thursday during our normal recovery workout.  I had planned on not lifting as scheduled but ended up doing a bit of manual labor which I would certainly call a "weight" workout.  Saturday morning was race-pace as usual.  I chose to only swim 2 of the 3 rounds and do 1/2 of each round of swimming.  It gave me a chance to race without really breaking myself down.  I ended up doing two rounds:

2 x

25y Dive on :30
25y Push on :30
50y Dive on 1:00

A simple "broken 100" set.  The other guys did a longer version of that set with bands.  I was very run down after the weights on Friday but ended up with about a 47.5 second 100 backstroke.  Good, but not great.  With the double dives per 100 and the rest, I feel like I should be in the 45's or 46's.  It was an acceptable workout considering how I was feeling.  I may swim on Sunday and will definitely swim Monday before I leave for Europe. 

Feb
24

Keep those kick sets coming!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 9:03pm (February 24th, 2012)

Fridays are kick sets, something I wish we did more of.  Directly after warmup, we did:

10 x 25y Dive Underwater @ :30

I did very well, I lead the set and actually felt pretty good, my kicking is slowly improving.

Later we had a kick set which had moments where I really excelled, ending with a 50y kick of 26.2, one of my fastest 50 yard kicks from a push in my life.  I still have so much improving to do, but I'm proud of a 26.2 from a push at the end of a hard workout!

Training Quote
"You're underwater kicking is great, I was having a hard time keeping up!" - Bovell
Feb
23

Excitement is building...

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:09pm (February 23rd, 2012)
Excitement is building...

My trip to London for the 2012 British Nationals is all coming together.  It's a very exciting time for so many reasons.

I've always been very realistic about my swimming abilities.  I pride myself for knowing exactly how good I am, and how good I could be.  For many of my teammates on Club Wolverine, the next few months bring hugely important meets.  Meets which will take them from being great swimmers, to Olympians.  I will attend the exact same meets, I will compete just as hard as my teammates but with my own goals.  I'm excited and proud to say that the next few months of my life are already a dream come true.  I will race the fastest swimmers on the planet and I will swim faster than I've ever swum before.

Thanks to a friend Kish and his contacts, I will fly first class to Amsterdam for $160.  I'm still amazed that's even possible.  After flying into Amsterdam I will train in France for 5 days before traveling to London.  Once I'm in London, I will meet up with my CW teammates and prepare for the 2012 British Nationals.  The meet is hosted in the London Aquatic Center, the site of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.  I will get to compete in the 100 Backstroke, 50 Freesytle and the 100 Butterfly.  I will taper for one week and shave for the competition.  This will be my best shot for earning an Olympic Trial cut in the 100 Fly and 50 Free.  Admitedly my chances are not good, I need to drop almost a second in the 100 Fly and half a second in the 50 Free.  I think I have a decent shot but that's still a lot of time to drop.  I'll do my best, as always.  After I compete I'll return to America and continue to train for the next 3 months for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

During the next few months I'll get to swim Long Course meets at Purdue and Charlotte before Olympic Trials and the U.S. Open.  It's a very exciting summer!

Special thanks to Kish, Hulmey and Wu Peng for their help in making my London trip a reality on a budget.

Training Quote
"See you in London" - Hulmey
Feb
19

Another try at the 50m Backstroke world record

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 11:17pm (February 19th, 2012)
Another try at the 50m Backstroke world record Another try at the 50m Backstroke world record

I chose to stay in Geneva, Ohio for the evening and attend day 2 of the "SPIRE Masters Winter Classic Swim Meet" and attempt another 50m backstroke.  After a relatively successful Day 1 even after a long drive, I was hopeful that a good nights rest and a few meals would give me the ammunition to drop the 0.11 seconds needed to break the 30-34 USMS world record of 24.81 seconds in the 50 meter short course backstroke.  Planning wise, everything went well.  A few meals, a local hotel and a solid 8 hours of rest and I was ready to swim again Sunday morning.  I mentioned a few times during the evening and the morning that followed that I was confident that if I performed my 50 back without flaws, I would achieve a world record.  I still believe that.

I prepared for the race well considering I had 1 day of rest and no shave/taper.  I knew I would need a flawless race to swim under the 24.81 world record time.  As I prepared for the offical to hit the buzzer, I ensured I recited some important points I would need to remember during my race.  When the buzzer went off, I had a near perfect start and underwater kicks, nearly nothing could be improved upon.  Unfortunately I didn't have a good transition to my breakout which is especially disapointing since it was something I had been working on lately.  I kicked a bit too far and had to surface quickly to avoid exceeding the 15m marker.  My stroke rates on the first 25 were ideal, under or near 1.00.  My turn was above average but still not as fast as I would have liked.  My underwater kicking on the second 25 were solid but I could tell they would be better with rest.  As I was doing my second breakout, my hands got a bit caught together, I can't really remember how it happened but it's an embarassing error considering my race experience, it caused another mediocre breakout.  My last 10 meters was around 1.10 rates, a bit slower than ideal.  I thought it was a good race overall.  I looked up to see a "24.97" on the board.  I missed the world record of 24.81 again. 

I feel a bit defeated but in the same breath, hopeful that eventually a week of rest, a shave and taper will yield the tenth or two I need to break the record.  My prediction still rings true in my mind: I needed to do everything right to have a chance at the record, I didn't do everything right.  I made a few small errors which could have easily added up to the 0.11 - 0.16 seconds I needed to secure a world record.  Add on top of that the fact that I'm sore and run down from a week of training and I know I could have raced much better than I did today.

The rest of my races were not fantastic.  I tried to swim a 100m Fly less than 5 minutes after my 50 back and it didn't go well.  I can honestly say I was a bit embarassed.  I just fell apart after the 50m mark.  Very slow turnover and poor underwaters, I was just exhausted.  I finished in a very slow 1:01.86, probably my slowest time of my life in the event.  It was one of the first races I didn't even look at the scoreboard, I knew it was ugly.  I shook it off and prepared for my 50m free.

I had a bit of rest before my 50 free.  I had time to warm down and sit for a few minutes and prepare.  I won't do the play-by-play but it was a sloppy race.  I botched both breakouts and should have taken another stroke on the finish.  I touched in a 23.51, one of the fastest times of my life.  If I had done a few more things right, that would have been a lifetime best.

In the end, I'm very happy with my meet.  I tagged two more lifetime best times, got to meet a lot of nice people and see an amazing swimming facility.  I sincerely hope I get to race at the Spire Institute again soon!

Training Quote
"It was great to see you swim and swim really fast. I think was was more fun was watching how much fun you had. So many times people get upset when they do not achieve their goals but you continued with a smile on your face. This lesson could go a long way in the high school environment." - Kelley
Feb
18

Two More Lifetime Best Times!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 9:53pm (February 18th, 2012)
Two More Lifetime Best Times! Two More Lifetime Best Times!

On very short notice, I decided to drive to east Ohio to compete in a Short Course Meters meet in the new "Spire Institute" aquatics facility.  In short, this is probably the nicest pool I've ever competed in.  More on that topic later.

This is a two day meet with similar events on both days.  Today I had two great swims, and two mediocre swims, entirely due to lack of rest between event.  The meet just moved along quickly.

50 Back SCM - 24.92 (Lifetime best by 0.23 and first time under 25 seconds!)
50 Fly SCM - 25.67 (Tired and sloppy, breathed 3 times, not good)
100 Back SCM - 55.90 (not bad, just tired)
100 Free SCM - 51.61 (Lifetime best by 0.02 seconds.  Actually not a great race, I have more time to drop in this event)

It was a great first day after 3.5 hours driving to the meet.  I was short on sleep and tired from the week of training.  The only preparation I took was to NOT lift on friday afternoon.  We had a difficult kick set Friday morning and the rest of the past week was challenging as well.

Tomorrow I will swim the 50 back again, I am now within striking distance of the World Record of 24.81 with only 0.11 seconds to drop.  I'm darn close and I'm not even rested/tapered/shaved yet!  Feeling great about my training!

Training Quote
"I just started swimming in November and I saw you swim today and I said... so that's how you do it." - Rob
Feb
12

100 Race Pace Today

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 1:45pm (February 12th, 2012)
100 Race Pace Today

All the post grads wish we could swim more LCM but yet again, the college team was the priority, and understandably so.  We wouldn't even have a pool to swim in if it wasn't for the University of Michigan.  Therefore our set today was SCY.

3 x

50y Dive @ 1:00
2 x 25y push @ :30
25y easy @ :45
25y Dive

500y easy

A growing concern of mine is that it takes me at least 1 round to warm up.  My first round of every race pace set is really poorly excecuted and slow.  I honestly can't remember if I was always like that.  I know in college I got faster as the set went on but I can't remember if my first round or first few swims were slow. I find the same issue applies to my meets.  It always seems like I need one swim to warm me up for subsequent swims.  This is especially concerning since I need to be 100% at the U.S. Olympic Trials Prelims to even have a chance at a semi-finals swim.

My first round was:

25.44
12.8
13.6
12.6 

My last round was:

24.56
11.5
12.3
11.9

The middle round split the difference on all the times.  I could have done another round after, it was a short set and we were out of the pool in less than 2 hours. 

WORKOUT:

3 x

50y Dive @ 1:00
2 x 25y push @ :30
25y easy @ :45
25y Dive

Tween
500y easy

Feb
7

Ten point three

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 1:05am (February 7th, 2012)

I made the judgement call to skip the morning practice after a long day at the Brighton meet on Sunday.  Evening practice included a 1.5 hour dryland and weight session.  Our power session in the pool was comprised of 9 power rack pulls total with full equipment (fins and paddles).  I'll post the story later but through the practice our group broke all three power racks and almost pulled one in the water entirely... these things are probably 300 lb steel structures.  Pretty impressive power these guys are putting down!

Each round of the set ended with an all-out 25yard swim from a start.  Mine were:

10.9
10.5
10.3

I need to be tagging some 9 second swims if I'm ever going to be a 21 second 50 yard backstroker. 

Feb
5

1 Lifetime best SCM today

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 7:38pm (February 5th, 2012)
1 Lifetime best SCM today

In short, it was a rough meet.  I'm more worn down than I expected I would be.  I had my eye on a World Record in the 50m Back of 24.81 and didn't even get close.  My time of 25.67 shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence.  I had some solid times today but even after converted to yards, they're not very impressive.

100 Back SCM - 56.64 (50.75 yards)
50 Free SCM - 23.53 (21.08 yards)
100 Free SCM - 51.63 LIFETIME BEST (46.26 yards)
50 Back SCM - 25.67 (23.00 yards)

Not the meet I was expecting but these times are among the fastest I've ever swum, and definitely the fastest unshaved, untapered times I've swum in my life.  I don't think there is anything wrong with my training, I just know I'm tired and sore from a week of training, with rest I know I could be much faster.  It was great catching up with other Masters swimmers, it's a great group!

Training Quote
"You know you're supposed to be getting slower with age, right?" - Alex
Feb
4

Brighton Short Course Meters (SCM) meet in the morning

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 11:37pm (February 4th, 2012)

This might be my only chance to swim a SCM meet this year.  I wish I could have rested a little before this meet but I had a difficult training week and chose to lift pretty hard on Friday afternoon.  I opted to take it easy on Saturday morning rather than joining the team in a "race pace" set.  Tomorrow I hope to swim:

100m Back
50m Free
100m Free
50 Back
(Maybe more)

I would love to swim some butterfly but I may not get a chance.  My aim is to take a shot at the 30-34 USMS World Record in the 50m Backstroke.  The record is held by Derya Buyukuncu with a 24.81. Derya is a five-time olympic backstroke and butterfly swimmer from Turkey.  My best time thus far was in 2007 with a 25.15.  I think a high 24 second swim is a bit of a long shot considering how run down I am and the fact that I will not rest, taper or shave for this meet but we'll see!

Looking forward to swimming at good 'ol BHS!

Feb
1

Second fastest 50 meter backstroke in practice

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 1:29pm (February 1st, 2012)

The post grads took the time to switch the pool to Long Course Meters after our warm up.  Next up was a race pace set, commonly called "purple" pace.  My first round was a bit ugly with a 50 meter dive backstroke swim of 28.9.  I knew I could crank it up a bit more.  Coach Sam got right in my face afterward and told me, I had a 27 second swim in me today.  He was right because I believed it too.

My second round was much better with a relatively (for me) blazing time of 27.8 and it was darn smooth.  I was connected with a great stroke.  My rates were 1.15 to 1.20, it was ideal.

My third round was even better than the second.  We were supposed to put on fins and paddles.  I chose to swim without both, I had more to give before resorting to power adders.  I had a nearly perfect swim of 27.4 seconds.  I pushed it hard and it paid off.  Considering that after the first portion of each of the rounds (a 35m swim and another 35m swim) I think a mid 27 second swim in practice was a best case scenario.  Even with rest, I've never swum a 27.4 in practice.

To put it in perspective, my fastest first 50m of a 100 meter race was a 27.1.  I'm making progress.  The only faster swim in practice was on June 18th, 2011 when I swam a 27.0 but that was without a swim before it, meaning it was like a race, unlike today which was after 75 meters of hard swimming before it.

WORKOUT:

3 x

35m Dive Purple @ :40
40m Purple + 25m cruise @ 1:30
50m Dive Purple