March 2012

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Feeling like a quitter - scratched the 100 Back

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 1:18pm (March 31st, 2012)
Feeling like a quitter - scratched the 100 Back

I've never scratched an event at a big meet before.  This weekend I experienced my limit of training.  Thinking back, I've had a heck of a month:

  • I've been swimming every day for about 2 weeks which included a 2 day meet last weekend prior to this 3 day meet.  
  • This meet was my 4th meet in 30 days which covered 2 continents, travel to 4 countries, 2 international flights, two 5 hour drives, and two 1.5 hour drives and staying in multiple hotels, away from my own bed.
  • Between practice and meets, I worked long hours and did my best balancing life, some of those balancing acts failed and I disappointed important people in my life

In retrospect, to successfully finish out this tough month, I should have scratched the 100 Free, 100 Fly and perhaps the 50 free.  I should have taken last Wednesday off and been fresh to drive to Purdue on Friday to tear up the 100m back Saturday (today).  I made the choice to swim all my events with hopes that I'd drop some time in the 100 fly or 50 free.  I will learn from this experience.

I made the judgement call to scratch my 100m back today and drive home early.  I gave it a lot of thought and I felt that it was not benefical to swim a 58high-59low 100m backstroke.  A bad swim would hurt my self esteem and make me further question my training.  I know what I need to do and I valued some additional rest versus a bad swim.  As soon as I scratched, I started to regret it, mostly out of guilt.  I get so few chances to race LCM and here I was throwing away the chance.  The decision made me feel like a quitter, like I was retreating from a battle, yet, even a day later, I think I made the right choice.

I look forward to some continued training changes, I've been heading in the right direction by increasing my training load.  I've been sporadically joining Middle Distance and remaining in Sprint on certain days.  I think the increased workload will eventually pay off and it helps me get through the workouts which before this change I felt were too easy or not relevant for a 100 meter race.  With mixed results at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, I look forward to how the coaches and swimmers will reflect upon the Sprint program as it stands.  In my opinion, they would be crazy to maintain the status quo.  I've been making some recommendations over the months regarding the need for more work, I hope their changes, if any, will at least semi follow that course.  I want the best for my team.

I'm taking Saturday and Sunday off to rest up.  I look forward to getting back to work on Monday after my batteries are recharged!


24.10 in 100 LCM Free Finals

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 9:20pm (March 30th, 2012)

My morning swim of 24.18 was a bit of a disappointment.  I had really hoped to be a 23-anything.  I prepared for my evening finals race exactly as planned.  I slept, ate and arrived at the pool in time to do a full warmup and relaxed until my race.  I was ready to swim.  10 minutes prior to my race I decided to try my Fastskin3 suit again.  The $361.00 investment I made while in London.  As I was putting it on, it ripped.  This was the 2nd of this type of suit I ripped.  I'm very disappointed in the Fastskin3 suits.  During the meet I made it a point to ask swimmers and coaches about their experiences with the suit.  I haven't heard a single positive story.  At this point I'm really wishing I had my $361.00 back.  Comparatively, my $180.00 (or less) LZR Elite Jammer suit is still going strong after 10 meets.  It's certainly lost a bit of it's compression but it hasn't ripped or failed me once.  Speedo certainly took a step backward with this new suit, and I'm not the only person who thinks that.  It will be interesting to see how they handle the public reaction to the suit.

Anyway, back to the race.  I prepared well, ripped a suit, quickly changed into my alternate suit and got ready to swim.  I had committed to change my stroke prior to my race.  After my morning swim I (again) realized how ugly my stroke is.  The buzzer went off and I had a great start.  After a few dolphin kicks I surfaced with a good breakout and immediately started swimming with my improved stroke.  Surprisingly I held it together till the 35 meter mark before I started to revert to my ugly stroke out of sheer exhaustion.  I touched in yet another disappointing 24.10 for a 12th place finish at the meet.  Although I was pleased I swam faster in finals, 0.08 seconds is not exactly a great time drop.  I can be happy that I swam faster with a newly altered stroke.  I have some video of my race I'll watch to study where I can further improve.


Another few pictures from British Nationals in London

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 4:05pm (March 30th, 2012)
Another few pictures from British Nationals in London Another few pictures from British Nationals in London

Thanks Getty!


24.18 in the 50 LCM Free

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 11:12am (March 30th, 2012)

I slept well and arrived at the pool in plenty of time for my event, the 50m Freestyle.  Since this is not an especially competitive meet for me I knew almost any decent performance would earn me an evening swim.  During warmup I really wasn't feeling very good in the water.  I felt sluggish, just run down.  I really haven't taken a break in about 2 weeks so it kind of makes sense.  I was hoping to touch in a 23-anything to put me in striking distance of the ever elusive 23.49 Olympic Trial cut but it just wasn't there this morning.  I had a sloppy race and touched in a 24.18, significantly behind the trial cut.  While reviewing the video, I'm finding my freestyle worse looking than ever.  I truly have bad form, it's a miracle I can hack my way through the water in 24 seconds.  Moving forward I will work on my form, I think a better stroke will yield a time drop.  I don't know if it will earn me a 23.49 but at least I'll be less embarrassed to watch my freestyle videos!

I'm feeling like I'm running on empty at this meet.  My first swim, the 100m Free was good but everything since then has been sub-par.  I will swim the finals this evening in the 50 free as well as the prelims 100 backstroke but I'm considering scratching my finals 100 backstroke and heading home early instead.  I just don't think there's much left to give at this meet.  I need some rest.

On the brighter side of things, I've really enjoyed West Lafayette, Indiana!  This is a great college town.  I chose to stay close to campus and was pleased to learn that there is a free Trolly which picks me up right in front of my hotel and drops me off at the pool.  It couldn't have worked out better!  The campus is really nice and the area is easy to navigate.  There is a great selection of restaurants and shops around where I'm staying.  The pool is great and the meet has been running very smoothly.  The weather has been ideal, just a little brisk in the mornings and not too hot during the day.  I went out to dinner with a few CW teammates last night so it's been nice knowing a few people at the meet and having a few people to cheer for.  I've met a few coaches while on deck including Akron, Toledo and Purdue's head coach.  Everybody has been really nice.  I sincerely hope I get to swim another meet at this facility, it would be great to visit this city again!


53.64 in the 100 LCM Free Finals

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 7:41pm (March 29th, 2012)
53.64 in the 100 LCM Free Finals

After some food and a 2 hour nap, I thought I would be ready to swim finals. Looks like I was wrong. I took out my 100 free in a 25.20, slightly slower than the morning but not a dealbreaker regarding a good time. I fell apart on the way home, worse than usual. I touched in a 53.64 which was four tenths slower than my morning swim. I took last place in my heat. I went from 21st to 24th place, sort of disappointing. I chose to scratch the 100 fly this evening. I'm just not feeling it.


Back for finals in the 100 free and 100 fly

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 5:31pm (March 29th, 2012)
Back for finals in the 100 free and 100 fly

Back for finals, hoping to drop some additional time!


SLOW 100 LCM Fly

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:09am (March 29th, 2012)

1 hour after a lifetime best in my 100m Free, I was ready to swim the 100m Fly.  I thought that with a nice time drop in my 100 Free, I would have a good chance at a solid 100m Fly.  My first 50 meters felt pretty good, I was out in a 25.90 and had my typical slow turn.  My underwater kicking was ok, I could feel my legs falling apart already.  I had a good breakout but the last 35 meters was ugly, I just felt like I was sucking water the entire time.  I know I was catching a wake from the 55.xx swimmer in lane 5 but I must not have been lifting my head far enough out of the water to actually breathe.  I touched in a disapointing 57.44, a full 1.14 seconds slower than London or Minnesota.  I'm nowhere near a trials cut in the event.  At 55.29, I would have to drop a second off my lifetime best and 2 seconds off my time today.  Not looking good.

I'm back in the top 16 this evening so I have one more shot.


Lifetime best in the 100 LCM Free!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:03am (March 29th, 2012)

After a long drive and a hectic morning getting to the pool, I arrived with 20 minutes before my 100m Free.  The competition pool closed just as I was walking on deck.  I met up with two other teammates and did about a 250y warmup.  I knew that wasn't enough warmup but I didn't have much of a choice, I didn't plan well enough to get here on time.  I dried off and sat down for 15 mins prior to my race.  Surprisingly I was ready to race when heat 4 was called up.  I had my lifetime best of 53.65 in my sights today.  I was out in a 25.18 and touched in a lifetime best of 53.23!  I dropped .43 seconds off of my Minnesota time!  I know I have more time to drop in the event, and I'm still unshaved and untapered.  The tough kick sets really took a toll on me, my legs really fell apart at the end of my race.  This is not a very fast meet, I made it back in the consolation finals in 21st place.  I swim it again tonight!


2012 USMS State Meet Day 2 - A great finish!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 11:18pm (March 25th, 2012)

After a very long yet positive and successful weekend, I'm very glad to be home!  The second day of the 2012 State meet went very well.  I earned 2 more lifetime best times in addition to a pool record! I came very close to my goals I set yesterday.  A recap on my goals:

100 Fly SCY: 50.5 (A 49 second swim is a bit aggressive, I'll be happy with a 50.x)
50 Back SCY: 22.5 (I want an even better swim!)
100 Back SCY: 49.5 (I want to break my own pool record!)
100 IM SCY: 51.x (I think with some improved fly and back combined with a new breaststroke and solid free, I can drop a second off my 52.64)
50 Free SCY: whatever (If I have a chance to lead off again, another 20.x would be great but I'll be pretty run down)

I knew my goals were aggressive but in hindsight, I'm very pleased with my performances:

100 Fly SCY: 49.65 (Lifetime best!)
50 Back SCY: 22.75 (a great swim)
100 Back SCY: 49.55 (a new pool record, breaking my own 2009 record of 49.84)
100 IM SCY: 52.27 (Lifetime best! DEFINITELY a 51 second swim if I made less errors, I got sloppy)
50 Free SCY: 21.15 (tired, satisfied with a low 21 swim)

I'm very pleased. Thank you to Lake Orion who always runs a great meet!


2012 USMS State Meet - Day 1 expectations met!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 1:59am (March 25th, 2012)

I'm proud to say that I only had 1/2 a day of rest for this meet and definitely met my goals for day 1!  Since a Long Course Meters meet at Purdue is next weekend, I didn't want to put too much effort/rest into this meet.  My focus remains U.S. Olympic Trials and therefore long course meets.  I skipped Saturday training to swim at the 2012 USMS Michigan State Meet.  I just love masters meets.  The people are really friendly and it's just a really warm environment where everybody is supported.  I make new friends each time I swim a meet!

Day 1 went really well.  I purposefully didn't prepare much for this meet.  I lifted on Friday morning (not very hard) along with some purple swimming.  Thursday was no walk in the park either with two back to back kick sets.  I arrived at the meet Saturday morning a little sore from training and tired from a 1.5 hour drive.  My relatively ambitious meet outlook held strong though.  I wanted a 45 second 100y freestyle, a lifetime best in the 50y Fly and a 22 second 50y back.  I had a chance to swim the 50 free in a relay which is a good thing since I skipped the individual event.  I wanted to be a 20.x in that event.  EVERYTHING went to plan.  I met all of my goals for the day:

100 Free SCY - 45.79
50 Fly SCY - 22.25 (Lifetime best!)
50 Free SCY - 20.92
50 Back SCY - 22.64
50 Fly SCY (Relay) - Not sure, probably a 22.x 

I could definitely feel how tired I was in even the short races.  I just wasn't as sharp as I could have been if I wasn't worn out.  I fell apart a little in my last 25 yards of my 100 free, I was breathing way too much.  I actually had quite a sub par 50 Fly.  My underwaters weren't great and my turn was very slow.  Yet with those errors I was still the fastest I've ever been in my life at a 22.25!  I find the key is not breathing at all.  If I can pull that off, it's a great 50 fly.  My 50 free was pretty good, definitely the fastest I've ever been without some rest or a taper.  My time of 20.6x a few months ago at EMU is still my fastest but my time of 20.92 today is the second fastest time of my life!  I really think it's just kicking.  My legs have improved a little lately and I think that makes all the difference.  I used to be a consistent 21.5 or 21.low at these types of meets and now I'm a consistent 20.x or at worst a 21.flat.  For some reason I find a 20.x in the 50 free to be very satisfying.  The "splash and dash" has been the event I've done at almost every meet of my life, even moreso than backstroke.  I was always mediocre in it through high school and college but I'm definitely improving.  As a consistent 20.x I'm definitely the fastest freestyler I've ever been.  The 50 back went pretty well.  I finished the race and saw a "22.90" which would have been respectable in itself, among the fastest of my life.  Yet when I checked the results later I saw a "22.64", a time significantly faster than the time on the board.  I respectfully inquired upon the timing staff to look into the issue.  My concern being that I didn't want a time faster than (or different at all) than I earned.  The staff was very helpful.  I got a quick tutorial on how the system might have averaged a "plunger (hand) time" with the touchpad in a situation of significant discrepency.  They also showed me the hand times of "22.54 and 22.89".  Honestly I'm not sure which time I deserve.  In the end it doesn't matter much, neither the board time or the official time is a record.  Although the official time of 22.64 ties my EMU masters meet time from a few months ago, a very good sign!  The fact that I can swim the same time with less rest is a positive indicator of progress. At the end of the day I was put into a relay swimming butterfly.  I knew some of the people on the STRAY team but wasn't sure who was in my relay. I showed up to the correct heat but the wrong lane.  As the race was beginning I definitely looked like an idiot.  I shuffled over one lane and met the correct relay team, just in time to get up on the blocks.  I didn't get to see the split but with a relay start and some good underwaters I'm confident it was a 22 second swim.  Relays are always a blast.  Your individual performance all of a sudden legitimately earns support and cheering right behind your lane.  I'll always sign up for any relay, they're far more exciting than an individual race!

Day 2 will be a little tougher than this morning with the 100 Fly, 50 Back (as part of a relay), 100 Back and 100 IM.  I might get put in another 200 Free relay as well.  I should mention that I really appreciated my free relay today letting me swim first to get a flat start time, that was very nice!  Some goals for tomorrow:

100 Fly SCY: 50.5 (A 49 second swim is a bit aggressive, I'll be happy with a 50.x)
50 Back SCY: 22.5 (I want an even better swim!)
100 Back SCY: 49.5 (I want to break my own pool record!) 
100 IM SCY: 51.x (I think with some improved fly and back combined with a new breaststroke and solid free, I can drop a second off my 52.64)
50 Free SCY: whatever (If I have a chance to lead off again, another 20.x would be great but I'll be pretty run down)

Looking forward to another great day! 


Registered for the 2012 Michigan Masters State Meet!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 10:46pm (March 18th, 2012)

Here we go again! I'm on track to swim more meets this year than any other year of my life.  2008 was another big year for me regarding meets.  2012 will demolish my 2008 meet count record.  I signed up for:

100 SCY Free 0:48.07 03/24/2012
50 SCY Fly 0:23.15 03/24/2012
50 SCY Back 0:23.45 03/24/2012
100 SCY Fly 0:51.08 03/25/2012
100 SCY Back 1:51.14 03/25/2012
100 SCY IM 0:52.64 03/25/2012

Most of my times in the USMS database were very outdated, no biggie though.  I chose to skip the 50 free since it was directly after the 100 backstroke and opt for the 100 IM.  I have a good feeling I might break my lifetime best of 52.64 in the event!  I imagine it will be another tough week in practice so the Michigan Masters State Meet probably won't be an epic performance on my part but I do enjoy the meets and seeing my friends.


Thank you Saline High School!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 10:18pm (March 17th, 2012)
Thank you Saline High School!

Due to a Water Polo Tournament, our post grad group was unable to train at U of M today.  Todd Brunty (Legendary EMU swimmer and Saline Head Coach) was nice enough to loan his pool to us for a few hours!  I was impressed how thankful our group was to Todd.  It made me proud to be part of a gracious and humble team.  Coach Brunty seemed to enjoy having a group of talented coaches and athletes in his pool as much as we appreciated the chance to practice there.

I arrived late to the pool due to an GPS error.  It seems that since the middle school took over the location of the old high school, at least half our team showed up in the wrong place.  I find it odd that the new Saline high school is about 8 years old and somehow this is still an issue.  Fun fact: while I looked for the build date of the school, I found out Saline High School is the largest high school in Michigan.  Once I got some phone directions from Todd, I eventually showed up at the right place and got changed for the workout.  I greeted Coach Brunty and stretched with the team for a few minutes.  During warmup the coaches flip flopped on what workout I should swim.  I had glanced at the workout and it seemed as though either would be good for me.  The sprint workout was definitely easier, and my "I can do anything" attitude steered me toward the MD workout.  When the coaches asked me my preference, I responded that I'd prefer the MD workout.  They supported my decision, perhaps reluctantly.

After a 25 minute warmup, we were ready to start the main set.  As a spoiler, I entirely underestimated the "300y white" portion of the workout.  This just ruined my set.  I chose the wrong workout.

The rounds went something like this:

300y white @ 3:30 + 6 x 50y @ :45

each round added more distance to the first portion and subtracted the number of 50's while adding to it's interval.  It looked manageable at first.  I was wrong.  I never swim "300y white" on a 1:10 pace backstroke.  That's not an easy interval for me.  Shortly after I started I switched to freestyle which wasn't much of an improvement.

I was last finishing the 300's each time and last on every single 50.  Neither was a surprise, especially since I was the only person swimming backstroke while others swam freestyle.  Still, my times were horrendous.  I never kept track of the 300's but the 50's were ugly.  I was pushing 28's to 30's on each one.  Very slow for me, bordering on embarassing.

As the set went on, I got slightly faster, dipping into the low 28's on the 4 x 50's on :50 seconds.  After some yellow pace swimming and a 300y white we had just 3 x 50's left.  I was finally ready to swim.  The coaches recommended "dive" on these which would have meant a backstroke start for me.  I declined because I wanted a consistent time compared to the rest of the "push" set.  The freesytlers were going :22's and finished with a :21, not too shabby for MD.  I actually finished the set quite well since it was a 1:05 interval.  Amazing what a little rest can do.  I went from :28 mid to:

#1 :25.2
#2 :26.1
#3 :24.4

I was proud of my last 3 swims considering what I had just been through.  It was a rough week for me.  I broke out of my mini taper from London, recovered from a wacked out sleep schedule, lifted hard twice and had some difficult ab workouts to swim a 24.4 from a push.  I'm so glad to have that week behind me and relax a bit this weekend! 


400y swim
3 x 100 IM with backwards freestyle
300 kick

6 x 100y dive 12.5y blast + 37.5y cruise, fast turns and finish

4 x 200 kick with 12.5y underwater off each wall

300y white @ 3:30 + 6 x 50y brown @ :45
50 orange + 300y white @ 4:15 + 5 x 50y blue @ :50
100 orange + 300y white @ x:15 + 4 x 50y green @ :55
150 orange + 300y white @ x:15 + 3 x 50y purple @ 1:05  


I got what I asked for

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 8:33pm (March 15th, 2012)
I got what I asked for

Today I was prepared for a "Recovery" workout as the weekly schedule indicated.  After a 15 minute stretching session and a 15 minute ab session we all came down to the pool deck to get ready to swim.  I headed over to the sprint workout as usual when I was headed off by head coach Mike Bottom.  He directed me to the Middle Distance group!  I was both excited and a bit frightened.  The change represented a workload increase but it's exactly what I've been hoping for.  As the sprinters flopped around in the diving well for 1.5 hours, the MD group got beat up for 2 hours, and I loved every second of it.  I was pushed to my limit, over and over.  A feeling I haven't had in a while.  It was great.  I didn't excel in the group and I'm entirely ok with that.  The challenge was great.


400 Swim
300 Kick
4 x 200y FRIM (Free IM) @ 2:30 (2 orange, 1 white, 1 pink)

15 mins of Boxing upstairs

10 x 50y @ :50 with paddles and ankle bands (3 Fly, 3 Back, 3 Free)
3 x [50 Fast + 50 Easy] (1 fly, 1 back, 1 free) with paddles and ankle bands 

15 mins of Boxing upstairs

3 x [100 swim with bands + 50 fast with bands + 200 easy]
this set included waist mounted bands and attached to the wall which was 6' away from the side of the pool, very difficult to swim against a band 6' shorter than usual.  1 x with small paddles/fins, 1 with fins, 1 with no equipment 


Not achieving goals, adding more workouts

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 9:54pm (March 14th, 2012)

After almost a year with Club Wolverine, I don't feel like I've achieved any significant time drops.  That's not to say I haven't accomplished anything, I've learned a lot and achieved an Olympic Trial cut in the 100 Backstroke.  I went from a 1:01.40 to a 57.44 in a few short months.  I had a number of meets where I swam 58 second backstroke races, the best being a 58.0x at the Pro Dual 1 meet in Ann Arbor.  My performance in London of a 57.73 was not impressive to me.  It reinforced some concerning facts I've mostly kept to myself.  I don't feel as though I'm working out enough and the workouts we do swim aren't as intense as I'd like.  I feel I need to either add some workouts or sets myself or join the Middle Distance group.  Admittedly, the Middle Distance (MD) group is beyond my current abilities for a few reasons:

  1. They're staggeringly fast, not only at short distances but 200+ meters, they just never slow down.
  2. They all swim freestyle, I would choose to do Backstroke and therefore not be able to keep up
  3. The coaches don't think I can handle the workouts, they're partially correct.

I'm running out of time to make a big change like this before Trials.  Today I did some additional dryland and a P90X ab workout.  Just slightly increasing my workload for now while I consider my options.


Race pace, but nothing too hard

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 7:30pm (March 14th, 2012)

Middle Distance got demolished like usual today.  Sprint got a pretty easy set.  This generally seems to be the trend.  I long for a workout that splits the difference.  I really don't want to do 300's backstroke.  But we did a 37.5y Dive swim + 50y kick + 12.5y swim.  We did that 3 times.  Sure, it was "all-out" but still...  Not especially hard.  It was challenging, but only for about 2 minutes a piece.  I can't really say I'm that tired afterward.  I need to be challenged more.  I'm sure this training works for somebody, but I need additional training.  Although the Olympics aren't my goal, I want to be trained like an Olympian.  We can do more than this.

I was:

Round 1 (Backstroke)
11.9 swim (at the 25y flip time)
26.6 kick
11.9 swim

Round 2 (Backstroke)

Round 3 (Butterfly)


Something Relevant?!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 7:24pm (March 13th, 2012)

This morning was the first time I hit the weights in about 2.5 weeks.  I've felt a bit run down since I returned from Europe.  I took it easy with the weights today, nothing too heavy.  I find it's best to ease into it after a break.

The pool workout was surprisingly relevant.  Maybe I just crave some special attention or something self-centered like that.  I was singled out and told to put on 3lb ankle weights with fins.  I did 10x25y @ :30 seconds followed by 1:00 off and then 10x25y @ :25 seconds.  It was a great set for my underwater kicking!  I felt like it was especially relevant for my 100 Backstroke since my 2nd wall is especially sub-par.


Back in the pool at Canham

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 7:20pm (March 12th, 2012)

Monday was a frustrating day for me.  It was good to be back on the pool deck but I butted heads with a few of the coaches regarding the last month of my training.  A majority of the coaches were tied up with the college team while they were competing at BIGTENS, we were mostly on our own with the exception of a volunteer coach.  When I arrived on deck today one of my coaches discussed my London races with me and my training leading up to those swims.  There wasn't much positive about the conversation in my opinion.  He voiced some opinions, I voiced some opinions but we really didn't get anywhere.  He felt out of the loop with my training and yet he was the one who left Ann Arbor.  Apparently it was my responsiblity to update him daily on what I was doing... an entirely unspoken agreement.  It was frustrating.  In short I don't feel like the training I'm doing is especially relevant for a 100m long course backstroke race.  It's very much a 50m Free type training.  In no way do I want to change the program, it may work for other guys but I've been begging the coaches to allow me to kick more or join the MD group.  The conversation left me thinking I will have to take matters into my own hands without their support.

Although I may not write it here often, I've said it a million times.  I'm not doing nearly enough kicking or nearly enough VO2max or Aerobic training.


3 Lifetime Bests SCM!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 7:39pm (March 11th, 2012)

The Milford meet went great!  I'm still a little run down from the trip and the flight back but I wanted to see what I could swim Short Course Meters.

100 Back SCM: 55.17 (Lifetime Best!)
50 Back SCM: 25.64
100 Free SCM: 51.48 (Lifetime Best)
50 Free SCM: 23.30 (Lifetime Best)
50 Fly SCM: 25.37

I had 3 lifetime best times!  The other two races were a bit under par.  I was going for the 50 Back SCM world record of 24.81 but I didn't even come close at 25.64.  Somehow my time from a month ago of 24.92 was miles away from my performance today.  I just couldn't seem to rev it up.  The 50 Fly was just sloppy.  I breathed a few times and had a short turn, much behind my best in 2007 of 25.05.

It was a great meet.  Milford always does a great job!


Milford in the morning!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 10:59pm (March 10th, 2012)

While I still have a bit of a taper, I decided to swim the milford masters meet.  It's a Short Course Meters meet I've done the past few years.  It's always well organized and run.  Looking forward to it!

Session Weight Information
Pre-Practice Weight: 171.2 lbs


Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 4:57pm (March 9th, 2012)

I'm back home after a long flight.  After returning some calls, I headed straight to the pool to swim out my travels.  When I arrived on the pool deck the post grads were all in the water.  I talked to the coaches and swimmers one-by-one.  It felt good to be back.  There were lots of smiles and hand shaking.  Everybody had questions about the pool and the meet.  Being one of the people on deck with the least number of international meets under my belt, it was refreshing being the person telling others about an amazing pool in a foreign country.  I swam about 2000 yards, mostly easy swimming, a few burst sprints.


Good swims, but not good enough

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 9:58am (March 8th, 2012)
Good swims, but not good enough Good swims, but not good enough Good swims, but not good enough

I'm disappointed.  I knew an Olympic Trial cut in either the 50 Free or 100 Fly was a bit of a longshot but considering I was about 0.50 seconds off my 50 free and 1.0 second off my 100 Fly, I thought a shave and taper would yield some good results.  I was wrong.  With preparation, a new suit, a shave and the majority of a full taper, I came up significantly short of my goals.  Today was a failure for me. I don't usually say stuff like that, but I feel pretty bad about my performances.

50m Free LCM: 23.78
I bought a new speedo suit yesterday.  I've heard mixed reviews on this suit, regardless of what stats speedo throws around.  In a few words: I'm not impressed.  It is by far the most painful suit I've ever worn with little or no performance benefit.  In fact, I may even argue it slowed me down but proving that would be impossible.  I'm unsure if I'll ever wear it again.  I was sized for the suit and tried it on once successfully.  This morning when there was 15 minutes till the start of my race, I began putting the suit on.  It's the most difficult suit to put on that I've tried, this is counting the full body tech suits.  Midway through the put-on process, my $361.00 suit riped wide open up the right side.  I might have let out some choice words in the locker room at that point.  I shook my head, quickly changed into my old speedo suit and immediately headed to the speedo booth.  They weren't busy luckily.  I said "My brand new suit ripped and I swim in 13 minutes.  They were very helpful, quickly got a new suit for me and assisted me in putting it on.  It was a stressful few minutes.  I arrived to the "ready room" late, the organizers were visibly upset and I apologized.  After a few minutes of waiting, we were called to the door to parade out on the deck.  Once we got behind the blocks they blew the wistle and then told us to stand down.  A laneline had broken.  This is the 2nd big race 50 free where a long delay has occured on my heat.  It's very distracting. As they fixed the lane marker, we sat in the seats they had provided to each lane.  It felt like forever, in reality, it was probably 6 minutes.  We were called up again and I had a near flawless race.  I took one breath, just as planned.  I really ran out of steam at 40 meters, an increasingly concerning endurance issue I've delt with my entire life.  I finished and looked up to see a disappointing "23.78".  It was the best time of my life without a tech suit... by far.  Yet, it was nowhere near the 23.49 Olympic Trial cut.  I had failed to achieve this goal for the meet.  I shook my head and got out to cool down and prepare for my 100 fly in 35 mins.

100m Fly LCM: 56.30
I had enough warmdown time between my 50 free and the start of my 100 fly, initially I was concerned whether that would be an issue.  I made the right choice to swim both events.   I was ready to race when our heat got called up.  I knew I had to have a great race to have a chance at the 55.2 cut.  My former best time was unshaved and untapered at 56.31 in Minnesota.  Since live results died at some point today, I'm not sure how fast I took out my first 50, it felt good but I hit the wall a little short which made my slow turn even slower.  I had good underwaters and surfaced past 10 meters.  I finished it the best I could to look up and see a "56.30".  I fully shaved and tapered to drop 0.01 seconds.  That's really disappointing.  I remember when I could taper in college and drop a SECOND or more in a 100.  I was not happy about that time.  I exited the pool but stayed on deck to see one teammate swim a 54.30 and another swim a 53.06, both very good swims which made finals.

Overall, I'm disappointed.  I came to London for a few reasons, most importantly to see and race in the facility. I did that and I'm proud that I had the honor to compete.  Past that, I really wanted another Olympic Trial cut.  Not only did I not earn another cut, but I was nowhere near either cut.  0.3 seconds in the 50 free and over 1.0 second in the 100 Fly.  Really quite sad.  Perhaps the worst part about today's performances is that I don't have a single tangeable thing to blame it on.  I would almost feel better if I could say: "I slipped on the block" which caused a horrible entry into the water, therefore, that might be worth 1.0 second.  There is no story like that today.  I felt rested and prepared to race, and it didn't amount to anything I thought it would.  I gave it my all, and it wasn't enough.

As nice as London is, I'm eager to get home and get back to training.  I need to make some changes or I'm going to swim another 57 second 100 back again at trials.  I want to believe I'm faster than that.  In my mind, I think a 55 is possible but something drastic has to change.  What I'm doing isn't working.  57.73 is a long way from 55 and I know that.  I'm a realist and I have a lot of work to do to achieve my goals.  Time for a change.

London: Thank you for a great experience.


Yea, just put that picture next to the Olympians

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 3:21pm (March 7th, 2012)
Yea, just put that picture next to the Olympians Yea, just put that picture next to the Olympians

I was leaving the pool, looked to my left and saw a familiar photo on the wall.  The wall has a bunch of British Olympians, and some guy with a yellow cap.  It stopped me dead in my tracks when I saw it!


First one in the water

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 2:28pm (March 7th, 2012)
First one in the water

This afternoon I showed up at the pool at 12:45pm local time to swim.  I stretched for a few minutes and as I was walking to the side of the pool, a lifeguard reminded me that the pool was closing at 1:00pm.  Disapointed, I squeezed in 10 minutes of swimming followed by two great starts.  I got dressed and left the pool to kill some time at the Westfield Mall, just steps outside the London Aquatic Centre. There I got some good Thai food from my buddy at the restaurant.  I've seen this guy almost every day since I've arrived, he seems to be making friends with all the swimmers.  I relaxed for an hour and headed back to the Natatorium around 3:30pm.  I stopped off at the Speedo building to check out the new Fastskin3 Super Elite suits.  I've heard both good and bad things about them.  Prior to my backstroke, I had every intention of buying a new LZR Elite suit like the one I had.  Mine is worn out a bit so a new one was a good idea.  Speedo naturally was only selling their new expensive suit, not last year's suit which I had.  I chose not to buy one then and raced my 100 Backstroke in an old jammer.

I chose to get body scanned by speedo today.  It was an interesting experience.  Overall it was a bit unsettling.  First off, you're basically in a store with people shopping around for goggles, everybody is fully clothed.  You are asked to remove your clothes behind a curtain, put on a speedo brief suit and step into what looks like a large photo booth.  You stand on two feet marks on the floor and hold onto handles on each side.  Music plays and a voice tells you what's going on, step by step.  9 lights on both the front and back flash as 36 cameras photograph your body.  A program takes measurements after a 3D scan of your body is complete.  Afterward, they can recommend which suit you need.  In my case, the machine was broken.  They scanned my body 4 times while I heard the error message "ding" come across the speakers each time.  The speedo staff finally gave up and just measured my body.  The whole process sort of seemed like a gimmick when they could have easily measured my body by hand.  After the measuring, they recommended I try on a SR10 size suit.  For some crazy reason they decided to change all the sizes from normal waist sizes to some arbitrary numbering system, I've yet to make sense of it.  After talking to a teammate with an SR6 suit (smaller), it seems as though mine might be too large.  I feel like it's pretty darn tight as it is though.  The suit itself doesn't feel slick, it's actually very heavy fabric.  Downright thick.  It also doesn't have any drawstring at all.  Since it extends above your hips, you just have to hope the speedo engineers got all the math right to keep that thing on!

I decided to try it out in the competition pool as soon as it opened at 4:30pm.  I was the first one in the water.  It was neat to dive into the calm water of the newest, fastest pool on the planet.  I warmed up for 15 mins and got out.  I'm relaxing for the night before my two big races tomorrow.  I'm a little concerned with the time between events.  The only race between the 50 Free and 100 Fly is the Womens 800 Free.  There will probably be 4 heats at 9 minutes per heat.  I SHOULD have about 40 minutes to cool down from my 50 free to prepare for my 100 Fly. Historically I don't do well with short rest between events but 40 minutes should be enough, even for me.

Looking forward to racing again!


I met Liam Tancock on accident

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 9:08pm (March 6th, 2012)

I don't typically throw names around, but this was yet another example of me putting my foot in my mouth.  I was talking to my teammate Hulmey and some guy walks by and begins talking to him.  Hulmey, being the classy guy he is introduces me expecting me to know who the heck it is.  I tell the new guy my name and ask for his, to which he responds "Liam Tancock".  Now, I've seen enough backstroke race results to recognize the name, I smiled foolishly and apologized.  They spoke for a moment and Hulmey reminded me that Liam is a former Olympian and the world record holder in the 50m Backstroke.  Oops.

Liam was a nice guy, it was an honor to meet the fastest backstroker on the planet... on accident.


That's just weird

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 9:03pm (March 6th, 2012)

I looked up my results from 2008 Olympic Trials and I literally swam the EXACT SAME RACE in London as I did in Omaha.  It's spooky:

OMAHA 2008
Reaction Time: 0.68
50m split: 27.28
100m split: 30.45
Time: 57.73 

Reaction Time: 0.57
50m split: 27.28
100m split: 30.45
Time: 57.73 

That's just really odd.  Although I don't feel this way... nothing says "plateaued" like an identical race 4 years apart.  Wow.

EDIT: it should be noted that I achieved the same time in 2012 in an old jammer suit as I did with a new full body LZR in 2008. That part makes me feel better.


My backstroke start is improved!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 8:59pm (March 6th, 2012)

We do a lot of starts in practice.  I take pride in the fact that I have an above average backstroke start.  Since changing my start last year, my focus has been getting off the pad faster.  For example, my start from the 2008 Olympc Trials was a 0.68, my start Sunday was among the fastest of the meet at 0.57.  A tenth of a second off the pad is a great improvement!

I ran a few stats, I compared my start time against the field of 66 swimmers.  5 swimmers started faster than me, the fastest being Joseph Canlan-Shaw at 0.54 seconds.  Arguably, not a huge difference between my 0.57 and his 0.54.  I'm tied with the 6th through 11th fastest backstroke start at the meet.  This is not to say I'm better than the other 55 swimmers, clearly because a huge chunk of them beat me in the race, they still have an edge.  I just throught it was interesting to note that if I had been equal to my 2008 self, then I would have been 62nd in the meet off the pad, rather than 6th-11th.  I'm improving!


Practicing in the London Aquatic Centre

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 6:45pm (March 6th, 2012)
Practicing in the London Aquatic Centre Practicing in the London Aquatic Centre Practicing in the London Aquatic Centre Practicing in the London Aquatic Centre

I was back in the pool today after an afternoon off.  I chose to swim about 1500 meters in the competition pool.  I barely did any backstroke and focused on shoulder driven freestyle and butterfly.  I stopped a few times to soak in the experience of being where I was, those were good moments.  I'm loving every second of this experience.  I did two starts and a few short burst sprints.  I can't say I feel great in the water, but I think I'll do well in my events with a little rest.  I've focused so much on backstroke that butterfly and freestyle just feels a bit awkward.  I ripped two great starts off the blocks so I'm happy to report that at least that much is under control.  My body feels pretty good overall but my shoulders are sore, it seems odd that I would have overdone it the last few days.  My legs feel tired from all the walking I've been doing.  I'm planning on taking a taxi tomorrow rather than walking to the train, then walking to the pool.  I've found it's about 20 minutes of walking each way, it's time to take it easy.

After my workout I sat on the deck of the competition pool, stretched and looked around.  It's an amazing facility in many ways.  The architecture, the technology, everything.  The event has brought so many interesting additions to an already impressive building.

After I got dressed, I headed over to get a previously booked massage.  The health resources at this meet are extensive.  Since the Athletic Trainer the other day mentioned I had some knots in my back, I wanted to get checked out again to ensure I was in good shape prior to my big races Thursday.  I had some tightness in my muscles but no knots, a good thing.  She gave me a massage on the front of my shoulders and my entire back.  At times it was painful, but I knew it would benefit me at the same time.  She dug deep on a few areas behind my shoulder blades, I felt better afterward.  I had a great conversation with her about Athletic Training in general and her private Massage Therapy business she owned.  It turns out the Athletic Trainers are all volunteering for all of the Olympic Events.  It was a wonderful conversation and I thanked her over and over for her donation of time and expertise.


Relaxing for a day

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 12:00pm (March 5th, 2012)

I swim again on Thursday.  I've chosen to relax for a day.  My life has been a whirlwind lately so a slow day feels good.  I won't go to the pool today but I'll stretch and do some very light dryland.  I'll be back at the Olympic Pool preparing tomorrow.


The American

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 5:22pm (March 4th, 2012)
The American

While reviewing the race video of my 100m Backstroke, the announcer said "The American in Lane 1" when I hit the 50m wall first in my heat.  It put a smile on my face as I watched the video.

Getty Images posted this picture of my race.  FANTASTIC shot!


I Swam in the 2012 Olympic Pool!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 10:51am (March 4th, 2012)

I'm trying to stay positive. I swam my 100m backstroke in 57.73, I took it out in a 27.28 and brought it home in a 30.45. It was the third fastest time I've swim the event without a tech suit. As much as I told myself not to read to much into my performance today, I'm disappointed. The fact that my swim at the pro meet a few months ago was a 58.0 unshaved and untapered, a 0.30 second drop with rest and a shave is not impressive at all. Regardless, I accomplished what I wanted to and my swimming performance was in no way embarrassing. I moved up in the rankings and took 39th overall. It was a solid swim and I learned from it.

One topic I can be proud of is my race execution. I did a TON of things right. My start was great, breakouts were good and I had a faster turn. I only brushed a laneline once with my hand, for somebody who has generally poor lane position awareness, that was a great improvement! The experience was everything I hoped and expected it to be. 50 free and 100 fly on Thursday


Ready for London

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 10:47pm (March 3rd, 2012)

I'm shaved and semi-tapered.  Ready for the 100 Back in the morning.  


I must be an "American Pizza" guy

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 6:46pm (March 3rd, 2012)
I must be an "American Pizza" guy

I hope I'm not hurting any feelings here, but wow... it really feels like I've had some bad pizza since I've been outside the U.S.  I had the chance to go out on the town tonight and see London and I turned it down.  I chose to stay in and rest up for my big race in the morning.  Instead I ordered a pizza from a local place near my hotel.  My thoughts are: "it's technically food".  Which I'm still thankful for considering there are starving people in the world.  It made me realize I'm quite a snob when it comes to pizza.  I'm so used to how the U.S. does it, speaking of most of the chains as well as independents.  The pizza I had in France as well as the pizza tonight was drastically under par.  For some reason, they choose to cut the toppings in MASSIVE chunks and just pile them all in the middle of the pizza.  I got a veggie pizza but others were like this as well.  Although I might have guessed this, I don't like eating a huge chunk of onion.  I find that pizza with toppings placed like this provides you with any one piece with a large topping of one kind, and none of the other kinds.  It leaves me wondering if the kitchen staff is just lazy or if this is normal around Europe.  Is it too much to ask to chop up the toppings a bit more so it covers the whole pizza?  Again, hope I'm not hurting any "traditional Italian" feelings here, I just doesn't seem to make any sense to me.  Regardless, I had some decent dinner and ready to wind down for the night.  I swim the 100 Backstroke around 9:00am Local Time, 4:00am EST.


Watching Day 1 of the meet!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 4:47pm (March 3rd, 2012)
Watching Day 1 of the meet! Watching Day 1 of the meet!

The pool looks amazing, it's a great atmosphere!  I swim the 100 Backstroke in the morning!  There is a lot of excitement in the air, a few Brits have made the Olympic Team already.  I watched the 400 Free and 100 Breast before heading out.

Before I left I asked if there were any Athletic Trainers available.  Since leaving the U.S. I've missed the fantastic trainers I regularly work with.  Luckily the swimmers here either don't know about the trainers or they brought their own.  I worked with "David" who really impressed me.  He had a great knowledge of swimming related injuries and adjusted my back and massaged out some knots as well.  I had a chance to talk to him about the meet and athletic training while he worked on my back for about 15 mins.  The services British Swimming provided for this meet are fantastic because of people like David.  THANK YOU!


In London after a long travel day!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 10:13pm (March 2nd, 2012)
In London after a long travel day! In London after a long travel day! In London after a long travel day! In London after a long travel day!

After two buses to a boat, to a bus, to a high speed train, I arrived at Stratford International train terminal and met up with two teammates, Hulmey and Wu Peng.  They had just come from swimming at the London Aquatic Centre.  It was nice to see some familiar faces after so many new people over the past few days.  More on the swimming in a second, now about the trip:

I'm impressed with the public transit system everywhere in Europe, the buses are clean and timely.

This ship was a borderline cruise ship, it had shops, restaurants, extensive luxury seating... the works

High Speed Rail:
I had a clear option to take either the normal train, or high speed rail.... cmon, any guy wants to go 100+ mph legally.  It was worth every penny of the extra £16 pounds it cost above the normal train price.  I had the GPS tracking the train speed, we hit 142.3 mph and an average speed of over 120mph, very impressive.  It was so smooth and quiet.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Once I got to Stratford, had a quick conversation with my teammates, I headed to the pool for a quick dip.  The competition pool was closed so I hopped in the warmup pool, a 50 meter facility adjacent to the main pool.   I chose to swim about 1,000 meters.  Just enough to loosen up but not enough to wear me out.  Afterward I took the subway to my hotel for some much needed rest.  I really overdid it the last few days sightseeing in Europe.  Ideally I should have been laying low and practicing.  I made the conscious choice to see the Netherlands, Belgium and France.  I knew I was sort of risking my taper.  I hope it doesn't affect me too much but I knew I was taking the risk and I chose to do so.

While swimming this evening, my focus was on backstroke only.  Since my first race is the 100 Back, I'm not even thinking about my 50 free or 100 fly at this point.  My 100 Back will be a great chance to warm me up for my other races.  If I haven't mentioned it yet, my primary reasons for attending this meet are, in this order:

  1. See and compete in the 2012 Summer Olympic Pool
  2. Qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50m Free and/or 100m Fly
  3. Get a good shaved/tapered time in the 100m Backstroke
  4. Take a trip

Although I'd love a good time in the 100m Back, my meet focus remains on my 50 Free and 100 Fly since I already have an Olympic Trial cut in the backstroke.  Therefore, I will race my best in the 100 Back on Sunday but if I don't swim well, I'll try not to let it affect me too much.  I need to put 100% into my other races.

I'm in LONDON!



Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 10:27am (March 2nd, 2012)

Against all recommendations, I took the "ferry" from Calais, France to Dover, England.  I'm amazed how nice it is!  This is like a mini cruise ship!  I'm relaxing on the 1.5 hour trip after a few bus rides this morning.  I'm looking forward to carrying around my bags less, I haven't exactly been taking it easy regarding walking around and focusing on my taper.  Almost to England!  London Aquatic Centre here I come!