May 2012

May
31

Ready to race in Austin!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 10:28pm (May 31st, 2012)

After a nice flight to Houston, a meal and a drive to Austin.  I arrived at the pool around 4pm local time to loosen up with the team.  We joined everybody on deck for a team stretch and warmup in the pool.  I'm really enjoying the team.  I've made new friends in both the post graduate group as well as the college team.  The comrodery is a great addition to my training.

We swam:

400m swim
200m kick no board
12 x 50m @ :50 D1-4
4 x 100's blast start, rest, then blast turn, rest then blast finish

I opted to finish my warmup with a 50m dive butterfly for time.  I took it out like a 100m race.  I felt good in the water once I settled in after the first few strokes.  The coach had me at 24.80, a very good time for me, even if he was a little fast on the watch.  All I need to do is bring it home in 30 seconds flat.

The pool and facility are amazing.  The depth of the pool is perfect.  The walls are a bit deceiving the same way EMU's walls are a bit tricky.  The pool features run-off gutters so there isn't any structure above the water level to focus on.  You have to time it by the wall you see underwater.  I should be ok but it may prove a bit challenging in butterfly.  Freestyle and backstroke will be unaffected.

I'm 100% focused on my 100m butterfly this weekend.  I haven't thought about my freestyle or backstroke race at all.  As far off of the 55.29 Olympic Trial cut I am, I'm confident I still have a 55 second swim in me somewhere.  To achieve it, I'll need to drop 1.01 seconds off my lifetime best time.  This is a ton of time, nobody rational would argue that point. I think it's possible.  We shall see.

May
30

Final hard practice before Texas

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 11:09am (May 30th, 2012)

Today we had our last difficult practice (green/kick set) before the Longhorn Aquatic Elite Invite this weekend.  Prior to the workout we had a 30 minute stretching session with the entire team.  As much as I enjoyed just training with our small 15 person post grad group, I also value the unified team and practice schedule we gain in the summer when we combine with the college team.  I've gotten to know some of the college team a little better along the way as well.

The kick set today was 5 x 50's with a 200m easy kick between each.  The 50's varied in the distance of fast kicking, 35m, 40m, 45m and then a 50m for time.  I wasn't feeling especially fast today and finished the set with a 32.7, not my best 50m kick, but respectable.

I slightly injured myself lifting something heavy, perhaps a repeat injury from this weekend.  This was the classic "lift with your legs not with your back" mistake.  The right side of my back hurts almost constantly.  I hope it's better for my first race on Friday.

May
28

A great day with the Middle Distance group!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 10:47pm (May 28th, 2012)

Today I chose to swim with the middle distance group.  I just didn't feel challenged enough in the Sprint group.  The sprinters had the morning off, perhaps to start off the taper season.  I did some heavy lifting on Sunday for work and decided to attend the morning practice to loosen up.  I caught the last portion of the MD workout.  The evening workout began with a very difficult 30 minute ab session.  We were moving almost the entire time with a brutal combination of bicycles, leg lifts, scissors, flutter kicking, situps, crunches, suitcases, toe-touches, and reverse situps.  I was beginning to fail at the end of it... the point at which my abs no longer functioned in a useful manner.  I began the evening pool workout with the sprinters, it was the same workout for all groups.  After warmup the sprint group moved over to the diving well to do a light aerobic workout and o-bands.  Neither of which particuarly excited me.  I chose to stay in the main pool and join the MD group for the afternoon.  I find that neither group is ideal for me at my current capacity.  It seems Sprint is too little training and Middle Distance is too much.  Today was just a single round of threshhold training.  A type of training I feel is especially relevant to the last 50m of my 100m race.  The Sprinters do literally no threshold training.  This seems to work great for nearly all sprinters, I just don't always fit in that group.  I'm really glad I chose the MD set today.  It is written below.  I happened to pick a lane who was training at the "C" interval.  This is the slowest of the interval choices and ideal for my current abilities.  When it comes to training over 100m, I would freely classify myself as one of the least capable swimmers in the pool.  I can honestly say I was just about the slowest athletes in practice today.  That in itself is an indication of how sub-par my abilities are in this specific area of training.  I chose to mix up freestyle and backstroke until the last two 50's and the remaining brown set, all of which I swam butterfly.

I held it together for the whole set, just barely.  My shoulders can't handle more than about 200m fast so the 300's were a bit tough.  The set ended with:

4 x 50m @ :50

With the goal being a 200m time.  I knew I was signing up for some serious pain.  I chose to swim butterfly.  Anybody who has seen me struggle through a 100m race can probably guess I'm not much of a 200m long course butterfly swimmer.  In fact this was my first attempt at it.  It started out a little rough and ended very slowly:

27.2
30.0
33.1
34.2

For a grand total of around a 2:04.5.  Certainly not impressive but not entirely embarassing either considering it was my first attempt.

WORKOUT:

1 x 100m @ 1:35 White
2 x 200m @ 2:55 1 White, 1 Pink
3 x 300m @ 4:15 1W, 1P, 1R
:30 HR
4 x 100m @ 1:35 1W, 1P, 2R
:30 HR 
6 x 50m @ :50 1W, 1P, 4R
200m yellow

4 x 50m @ :50 Brown Specialty, add up to faster than Saturday! 

May
26

Fastest 50m Butterfly in practice ever!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 12:37pm (May 26th, 2012)

Our race pace set today was not difficult.  I was wishing it was more challenging yet I wasn't up for "broken 200's" that the middle distance group was doing either so I stuck with the sprint workout:

3 x Full Power Rack with :05 seconds rest between + 30m Dive sprint

2 x 75% weight power rack with :05 second rest between + 40m Dive sprint

1 x 50% weight power rack + 50m Dive sprint

50m Dive sprint with fins/paddles

It really wasn't that bad at all, probably because we have started to taper for trials.  I chose to do another round before the last 50 with fins/paddles.  Swimming extra seems to make me feel great, as if I'm overachieving.  It's a good feeling.

The set overall was fine.  I chose to do the entire thing butterfly and give my backstroke a rest.  

Round 1 was the hardest with 3 power racks, you were left with nothing once you got to the blocks.  The 30 meters was a bit tough, I finished in 14.4 seconds.  

Round 2 seemed much easier with only two power racks at lower weight.  The set indicated to only swim 40 meters, but I finished the 50 for a time.  I was 26.5 at the 50, a solid time for me considering the work before the start.

Round 3 was great, I touched in 25.3.  Although it was a hand time, that's around my best time in the event!  I warmed down but really wanted to get a time without a power rack before it.  Since the final round was with fins and paddles, I chose to squeak in an extra round here.

Round 3.5 This was my extra round.  I asked coach Sam to give me an honest flat start time, since sometimes they go off when your feet leave the blocks.  He agreed.  My start and underwater kicking felt amazing yet my breakout could have been better. I was mindful of my hand placement during the 50m.  I tend do enter very narrow, I focused on placing my hands at shoulder width which seemed to speed up my stroke.  I touched and I knew it would be a very good time.  Sam said "24.4", to which I responded "no way".  He nodded his head and gave me some positive feedback on my swim.  He said I was falling into my catch well and pressing with my chest at the right time.  All good things.  Things I could improve on included that I was letting my elbows drop midway through my stroke, something I tend to forget about.  I was very proud of my time, I've never been a 24 anything in butterfly.  I also take this time with a grain of salt since it was a hand time, so I'll add 0.50 seconds to it just to be safe.  I'm still very impressed with a 24.9 though!

May
25

Registered for Longhorn Aquatics Elite Invite!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 12:31am (May 25th, 2012)

I'm registered for my final meet before trials.  I've chosen the 2012 Longhorn Aquatic Elite Invite in Austin, TX.  Based on the psych sheet, this should be a great meet with very reasonable attendance.  Typically a Grand Prix meet will have 100+ people in each event.  This level of attendance makes it pretty tough to earn a 2nd swim in the evening finals along with making the meet take all day.  This meet will feature quite a few talented swimmers (Olympians) with between 20 and 40 swimmers per event.  This low swimmer to event ratio will make for a very brief timeline and a high probability I will make it back for the evening final heats.

This meet is my last chance for a second Olympic Trial cut.  One of my goals the past year was to earn an Olympic Trial cut in the 100 Backstroke.  I accomplished that feat in August 2011, in plenty of time for trials.  Since then I've enjoyed sharing the fact that I am indeed competing in the Olympic Trials when I'm asked about it.  My secondary goal was to achieve an Olympic Trial cut in a second or third event.  As much as this was a goal, I have not made it much of a priority regarding training until recently.  For the most part, I assumed I would drop more time in the 50 free and 100 fly than I have just by doing general training.  I have learned that this simply won't cut it.  I train a lot of backstroke and I dropped time in the backstroke events.  This training didn't especially help my 100 fly and certainly didn't help my 50 free.  I wouldn't have believed it a year ago, but I still think my best shot at a trials cut exists in the 100 Fly.  At one point I thought I had a shot in the 50 free but I still have to drop 0.50 seconds, a feat which will require a taper and shave.  Sadly I don't have time in my training/taper schedule for a taper/shave before the trials.  My last chance for that was the British Nationals meet in London and the best I could do was a 23.78, still about three tenths away from the trials cut.

So next week I travel to Austin Texas for my final meet before the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.  I'm excited to see Austin, a city I've heard great things about!  I will be swimming:

100m Fly
50m Free
100m Back

One event per day, an ideal schedule.  Although it might not be advised, I plan on swimming the 100 fly in the morning and if I'm within striking distance to a trials cut, I'll shave for the evening swim.  It would mean a lot to me to achieve another trials cut.  Others, and perhaps even me, would advise somebody to NOT shave this close to the trials.  I recognize that legitimate advice and understand the tradeoff.  The race pace set this past weekend reinforced my feeling that I have potential in the 100m Fly.  A broken 52.8 is pretty darn good in my eyes.  

If I can take it out in a 25 low and bring it back in a 29 high, I've achieved a 55.29.  As reasonable as that sounds, I've never brought home my butterfly race in less than my London performance of 30.66.  It will require rest, a new suit and probably a shave to achieve it.  I'm going for it.

May
22

Monday and Tuesday = Mixed Results

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 7:35pm (May 22nd, 2012)

It's been a rollercoaster of a two days regarding training.  Monday morning started with weights.  Mostly low reps and 80-90% weight.  We are doing 3 rounds with a plyo related exercise between each round.  Afterward I opted to join to the Middle Distance group rather than doing the "power set" that the sprinters were assigned.  I primarily did so because the Middle Distance was doing a kick set.  I swear, I could never get tired of kick sets.  I don't feel as though ANY swimmer is doing enough kicking unless you are dominating each wall to 14.99 meters and surfacing with speed.  The set was basically a 200m white kick plus 6 x 50's.  This pattern was repeated with the 200m intervals getting slower with lower effort while 50's would decrease in quantity and increase in rest/interval.  The last round being a 200m orange and 1 x 50 green.  Each 50 was followed by a 25m underwater kick (not easy).  Most swimmers did pretty well.  I held with others in the 1st heat in both the 200 and 50's but was definitely sub par on the 25's underwater.  I didn't make a single one, most others did.  I was very impressed with the back to back fast kicking this group is capapble of.  I consider anybody under 32 seconds in a 50 kick to be MOVIN'.  These distance swimmers (including some Olympians) can kick back to back 31 second 50m on :50.  That's just crazy.  I was around :35 on the same set ending with a :32.4 on the last green 50 kick.  The set took a lot out of me.  The evening I was back with the sprinters after a brutal 30 minute ab session.  It might have been the most difficult ab session I've ever done.  I was dripping with sweat and I'm very sore.  The evening swim was only an hour and a half of moderate aerobic. No biggie.

Tuesday morning was crazy with work and I was not able to join the sprinters for the morning of "cleans" lifting and "speed" swimming.  The tragic result of balancing life, work and swimming.  Something my teammates don't have to deal with (which is good for their training/goals). I chose to catch up on work and nap.  The nap was a much needed luxury I don't ever seem to have time for.  I arrived to evening practice ready to train!  We began with a 45 minute stretching session.  Myself and a fellow post grad swimmer chose to soak up some sun and stretch outdoors.  Today was a 100m Race Pace day.  The set was very applicable to a race.  It is listed below.  Since I had the honor of being joined by a talented U of M backstroker for the set, I chose to do the entire set backstroke.  For some reason, nobody ever does the main sets backstroke, this typically leaves me swimming alone or against freestylers.  The situation is never a big deal since it's difficult to ever really see your competitors during a backstroke race.  It just feels a bit better to hear some times which are close to your own.  Otherwise it sounds like "person #1... 24.5, Doak.... 28.4.  Big gaps in times like that are never good for the ego but at the same time understandable when your heat is swimming freestyle off the blocks and you're doing backstroke from a wall start.

The set began ok.  My first 50 was solid at 28.7.  It felt faster than a high 28 unfortunately.  The first 50 was followed by a 25m of easy swimming (orange).  After 15 second break we did a mid pool start and finished the 100m with a 25m green (fast) finish.  The last 25m was not timed due to inconsistent starting times of each swimmer.  With about a 30 second break we got ready to start again, other swimmers got back up on the blocks, I prepared to do another backstroke start.  I gave it a full effort and touched in a 31.2.  I was not impressed.  The point of the set was to add your first and last 50's up to get your ideal 100m time.  In my case the first round added up to a 59.9.  I was very disapointed.  The other backstroker was a 57.3, a respectable time and in line with his best meet performance.  The times were written on a dry erase board to you could see how other swimmers were performing.  Many swimmers had very impressive times, practically everyone... except me. 

Sadly round 2 went about the same.  The second round started with an improved 28.4 but my second 50 was a wash due to a bad start.  I slipped on the pad and did a back smacker with no underwater kicking.  In hindsight, I should have just stopped and restarted for an honest time.  Instead I just finished it in a ridiculous 33.1.  The time meant nothing to me due to the bad start.

Round 3 was bad as well.  A first 50 of 28.4 and a last 50 of a 30.6 for a grand total of 59.0.  Still, nowhere near where I should be.  The other swimmer was a 56.1 on that round, another backstroker that joined was a 55.1.  Both very good times and they had been doing the same training as me lately.  I have no excuse for the bad swims.

As soon as I finished the set I decided to do another round.  Other swimmers were swimming down and leaving the pool.  I decided to change to Butterfly.  I needed to know if I was slow across the board in every stroke, or if it was just backstroke.  I'm really glad I made this choice.  I did a quick "tween" set of about 6 x 50m which was about the same as every other round and asked a coach to time me for an additional round.  I heard a swimmer yell "Doak, going overtime!" along with "Doak, gunning for that bonus check!".  The comments put a smile on my face :)

I got up on the blocks a bit tired from 3 rounds of hard swimming.  I started and felt great in the water.  I was pulling water and breathing every other stroke.  I let up at the end a little just so I didn't overdo it.  I heard "that was a 25.5".  I smiled, because that's a fantastic time considering my fastest 50m butterfly is a 25.09.  I was right on track for a great swim!  My fast 25m finish felt good too (no time given).  I got back up on the blocks and prepared for my last 50m.  The second 50m went a lot like the first.  I was catching water and breathing perfectly to the 25 meter mark, after that I started breathing every stroke, not ideal but I was still moving well.  The last 5 meters was ugly but touched in a 27.3 for a grand total of 52.8!  It was a blazing fast time for me!  It was everything I needed to keep my confidence high.  Comparing to other swimmers, it was among the fastest butterfly times of the day.  The perforamance raised a few questions.  Namely, why is there such a massive gap between butterfly and backstroke?  We're talking about 6.2 seconds!  That's way beyond a margin of error even considering the block vs wall start.  My coach suggested I switch up my stroke for the next week to give my backstroke a rest.  Neurologically it may help to alternate my training a bit and use my muscles differently for a bit.  It also made me wonder once again if I'm actually a better butterflier than backstroker.  If we take these times seriously, a 52.8 in a 100m butterfly is a very respectable time!  It also doesn't quite add up when considering my best 100m fly to date is a 56.30.  Once again it makes me believe that I am capable of an Olympic Trial cut of 55.29 in the butterfly.  I know I can do it, I really just have one more chance in Austin before Trials.  If I don't get it, it's not the end of the world but it would definitely be icing on my 2012 Olympic Trials Cake!

WORKOUT:

Main Set

3 x

50m from a dive at 100m pace + 25m orange @ 1:15
25m Green with a race finish @ :45
50m from a dive at last 50m of 100 pace 

Training Quote
"Doak, gunning for that bonus check!" - Bobby
May
20

Nice article in the Detroit Free Press yesterday

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 8:39am (May 20th, 2012)
Nice article in the Detroit Free Press yesterday

A reporter and photographer were in attendance on Friday interviewing swimmers.  A nice article followed:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012205200550

We celebrated Wu Peng's bday the other day as well.  Happy Bday Wu Peng!

May
19

Race Pace Saturday ended in a 1:00.00 in the 100 Fly

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 4:37pm (May 19th, 2012)

Saturdays are "race pace" a term indicating we will be swimming at the same speed as I would in a meet.  Over the past few days I've realized that warmup at CWelite is the most comprehensive I've ever seen.  The only thing I would change is a bit more kicking.  Frequently this is our warmup (with notes):

400m Swim (take it slow if you want)
300m Social (this is kick, talking to other swimmers is promoted.  Most people kick very slow)
300m IM Kick-Drill-Swim (a 75m of each stroke, great way to mix up muscle warmup)
4 x 100m Free @ 1:30 Orange to Pink (a great set to warm up your stroke and descend your times)
100m Orange (easy swimming)
6 x 50m Dive with 1/2/3 cycles Platinum @ :55 (Warms up your dive and sprint speed, the Platinum is meant to be full race speed)
100m Orange (easy swimming)

Our main set is below.  Initially it looked overly complicated like many of our workouts.  I'm torn on the issue really.  Sometimes I enjoy mixing it up during a workout, other times I would really prefer some structure to a written workout like I had at EMU.

My set ended with a 90m swim from a dive.  About half the swimmers simply finished the 100 meters for a time.  I chose to do the same.  I had done enough backstroke, I flipped over and swam butterfly.  I lead my heat of butterfliers which included 2 NCAA swimmers, one of them being the BIG10 champion in the event.  I touched first in a 1:00.00.  A lifetime best in practice.  I'm often amazed how amazing SCY swimmers really aren't LCM swimmers.  The summer season lets me make that comparison.  I can beat a 44 second butterflier and a 46 second backstroker in LCM swimming.  That just makes no sense to me.  These guys should be trampling me.  Am I really a Long Course Meters swimmer?  Based on my slow flipturns and solid speed through the water, something tells me... yes.

To put things in perspective, Wu Peng, our resident Olympian in the 100m fly, took out his 200m Fly in a 56.8 and touched in a 1:59.  Reminder: This is practice.

WORKOUT:

1 x double band from a dive with 3 cycles
1 x 50m Orange
1 x 15m Dive Race

Tween ( 8 x 50's some swim some kick with varying rates)

1 x Full Power rack fast and heavy
1 x 50m Orange
1 x 30m Dive Race

Tween

1 x Power Rack light and slow perfect stroke
1 x 50m Orange
1 x 45m Dive Race

Tween

1 x Run and dive from pool deck to 20m underwater
1 x 50m Orange
1 x 60m Dive Race

Tween

1 x Run and dive from 1m platform to 20m underwater
1 x 50m Orange
1 x 75m Dive Race

Tween

1 x 90m Dive Race

 

May
13

Charlotte Grand Prix Conclusions

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 10:20pm (May 13th, 2012)

I took a day to reflect on my performances at the 2012 Charlotte Grand Prix.  I have mixed feelings about my swims.  I'll start with my successes.  My shaved and tapered times of 2009 in the 50m and 100m courses are now my unshaved/untapered times.  This is a great accomplishment and about where I would like to be considering I was a little run down at the beginning of this meet.  Some comparisions:

2009 Shaved/Tapered: 50m Back LCM - 26.64
2012 Unshaved/Untapered: 50m Back LCM - 26.73 (as low as 26.64)

2009 Shaved/Tapered: 100m Back LCM - 59.05
2012 Unshaved/Untapered: 100m Back LCM - 59.21 (as low as 58.02)

2009 Shaved/Tapered: 50m Fly LCM - 25.40
2012 Unshaved/Untapered: 50m Fly LCM - 25.24 (as low as 25.04)

2010 Shaved/Tapered: 100m Fly LCM - 59.87
2012 Unshaved/Untapered: 100m Fly LCM - 57.17 (as low as 56.31)

2009 Shaved/Tapered: 50m Free LCM - 23.97
2012 Unshaved/Untapered: 50m Back LCM - 24.15 (as low as 24.10)

I'm very proud of my time drops.  They clearly indicate improvements in my training.  With a taper, I'm confident I can lower all my lifetime bests in the 50/100 backstroke, 50/100 butterfly and 50/100 freestyle.  

These fantastic results still have me yearning for more performance.  This was my overall feeling from my swims this weekend:

I reached top 24 ranking twice during the meet.  This earned me second swims (in finals) which was a great honor.  The two events I placed well in was the 50m backstroke 26.73 and the 50m butterfly 25.24.  This meet taught me that I have respectable SPEED.  My speed is not off the start at all.  In fact looking at the videos, I get smoked off the blocks whether it's backstroke or butterfly.  I can't really say my speed is underwater either.  I surface behind other swimmers of equal rankings.  My speed is through the water.  This actually makes me quite proud.  Other swimmers can beat me off the blocks and underwater but in a few cases, I end up touching the wall at the same time as those same swimmers.  The whole game changes in my 100 meter races.  It's beyond frustrating how I can rank 10th place in the 50m backstroke in a high profile Grand Prix meet and then finish a very disapointing 35th place in the 100m race.  The same goes for my 50m Fly.  I finished 19th in a 50 meter race and 45th in the 100m Fly.

These facts bring me to the conclusion that just like every other time in my life, I have decent SPEED and pathetic endurance.  As much as I would love to be a 25 second 50m backstroker, I want to earn a second swim at a Grand Prix infinitely more.  On that same topic, I found myself pacing my 50 meter races.  Forgive me for this bold statement, but I feel as though I have the speed to be a 25.0 second backstroker.  That's a huge stretch considering that in the real world I am a 26.64 second backstroker.  Yet I fall apart at the 35 meter mark.  I can't maintain my speed for even a 50 meter race.  There is something drastically wrong with that situation.

May
12

19th place in 50m Fly in Finals

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 10:06pm (May 12th, 2012)

Tonight I had a little better time than the morning, dropping 0.20 seconds from a 25.44 to a 25.24.  If I had to do it over again, I would have a better breakout and only take one breath.  My sub-par breakout, combined with 2 breaths almost certainly cost me time.  I was proud to earn a second swim this evening and also drop time.  I was seeded 18th, dropped two tenths and finished 19th... I'll take it.

I'm finished with the meet!  Thanks Charlotte, I had a great time!

May
12

Decent 50 Free, Bad 100 Back, Good 50 Fly

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 2:59pm (May 12th, 2012)

This morning was a mixed bag of swimming performances.  I lead off with a 24.15 in the 50m Free.  This seems to be my "non-tapered" average time.  I've had this exact time on a few occasions in the past 12 months.  Shaved and tapered is typically my only chance for a 23 second swim. The time did not earn me a 2nd swim in the evening, I took 47th place overall.  Next up was my 100m backstroke.  My hopes were high for a high 57 or low 58 second swim.  The race actually felt pretty good but later I would learn that I took out the race in a 28.49.  My first 50 was significantly slower than I need to take it out.  I should be a low 27 if I have any chance of a 57 second race.  I brought it home in a typical 30.72.  I was disapointed to see 59.21 on the scoreboard when I finished.  That time was not only quite a bit off my goal for the weekend, it was downright embarassing.  With a 35th place, I was nowhere near the 24th place it would have taken to make the bonus final.  I didn't expect a lifetime best time this weekend or really even a second swim but I did expect a non-embarassing time.  I disapointed myself.  After a 2.5 hour wait (due to many long events), it was time for the 50m Fly.  I was certainly ready to swim after so much rest.  Really the only thing I did wrong was take too many breaths, perhaps a total of 4 breaths.  I touched in a 25.44, a respectable time.  It was good enough for 18th place in prelims and earned me an evening swim.

May
11

Tied for 10th place in the 50m Back!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 10:44pm (May 11th, 2012)

I'm proud to say I finished well in the 50m back tonight!  Historically I have a dificult time repeating and especially improving upon my morning swim.  Today was different.  I held back a bit on my effort during my race during finals since I fell apart so bad in the morning.  The strategy worked well and I dropped a tenth off my morning swim time of 26.83 to an improved 26.73.  Still a bit off my lifetime best of 26.64.  I'm happy with my time today but wishing it had yielded a best time.  My event was especially exciting because so many talented swimmers were in my heat.  With a 10th place prelims finish, I nearly earned a spot in the Final heat!  I was only about a tenth of a second off the top 8 heat.  50 Free, 100 Back and 50 Fly tomorrow!

May
11

45th in the 100 Fly Prelims

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 10:26pm (May 11th, 2012)

This morning I had to double out of the 50m back into the 100m fly.  I was initially concerned about the amount of time I would have between my races.  If the timeline went to plan, it would have been quite a rush.  Instead there was a meet delay which gave me an additional 10 minutes before my race.  It turned out to be an ideal amount of rest before my race.  My 100 Fly could have gone a bit better.  I had a good dive, underwaters and breakout but I was a bit sloppy all the way to the wall in 25.62.  I had a satisfactory turn but weak underwaters and a slow 2nd 50m of 31.55.  I finished in a 57.17, certainly slower than I wanted to swim but understandable due to the 50 back minutes before it.

May
11

10th in 50m Back Prelims!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 12:49pm (May 11th, 2012)
10th in 50m Back Prelims!

It was a solid morning. After a VERY busy warmup pool situation I was barely ready to swim. My first event was the 50m backstroke, an event I consider one of my most competitive. Since this is a very fast meet, I know that I will have a difficult time making it back to a finals session. That being said, I figured the 50 back would probably be my best chance. Although there was a 2 hour break between my warmup and my race, everything went fairly well. I had a strong start and breakout. My stroke felt good but I fell apart at 40 meters just like always. I clipped the laneline once again but touched in a near lifetime best time of 26.83! I'm ranked 10th going into finals behind and ahead of some very talented swimmers!

May
10

Practically had the pool to myself tonight

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 9:12pm (May 10th, 2012)

After a long trip to Charlotte, I headed over to the pool for a loosen up swim.  My first impression was that there are a TON of vendors and sponsors here, perhaps more than I've ever seen before at a meet.  The parking lot was partially taken over by vendor tents from pool manufacturers and merchandise booths.  Since I was at the pool so late, most of them had shut down for the evening already but tomorrow they are sure to be going strong.  Once I entered the pool I was amazed at all the sponsor signage, there are advertising banners on nearly every square inch of open wall space.  There was barely anybody in the pool area when I arrived.  I entirely missed the rush.  I practically had the entire place to myself!  The pool itself looks satisfactory.  I will leave it at that.  From the looks of it, this used to be an outdoor facility which was enclosed at one point.  Lucky for me the ceiling is very low, a great thing for my backstroke lane position issues since I have a tendency to bounce off the lanelines during long course races.  I swam a 1,600 meter warmup and did 4 good starts.  I don't feel great in the water, I'd like to blame it on the trip but I didn't feel all that good before I left on my trip either.  My right shoulder and right knee are both still hurting from a few weeks ago.  I may take a few days off after the meet to let them heal.  They are annoying little injuries, nothing that will affect a race.  I just don't feel very sharp in the water, probably just the result of the additional training we've been doing the last month or so.  On the brighter side of things, the blocks and pads are ideal!  They are both really good which was a pleasant surprise.  Tomorrow I have the 50m back and 100m fly!

May
10

Safely in Charlotte

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 6:37pm (May 10th, 2012)

I arrived this afternoon in Charlotte, NC.  I will go for a loosen up type swim before my competition starts tomorrow.  Although I wouldn't change anything, I signed up for the events without seeing the order of events.  I'm doubling out of both my 50m events into 100m events:

Friday
50m Back
100m Fly

Saturday
50m Free
100m Back
50m Fly

I actually think the 50m races will be a great warmup for my 100m races.  I look forward to a great meet this weekend! 

May
9

Headed to the Charlotte Grand Prix!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 7:26pm (May 9th, 2012)

Due to scheduling issues of my own, I missed out on a Tuesday evening practice.  It wasn't an entirely bad thing, I've been run down physically for a few weeks now.  A night off of physical activity was acceptable.  I made up a majority of the workout on Wednesday morning before leaving for Charlotte.  I did a few 55 meter sprints to focus on my back-half of my race.  This weekend I'm swimming:

50 Back LCM
100 Back LCM
50 Fly LCM
100 Fly LCM
50 Free LCM

I'm thrilled to be able to swim the 50m backstroke against some of the best swimmers in the country!  The psych sheet only shows the 100 meter times within the 50m races, probably due to the fact most swimmers won't have official times in those events.   Although I'm a little worn down after weeks of tough training, I'm optimistic about the meet!  I think by taking it easy today and tomorrow, the short rest will allow me to perform well.

Looking forward to my first meet in Charlotte!

May
7

A welcomed recovery workout

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 1:58pm (May 7th, 2012)
A welcomed recovery workout

I was relieved to see "Recovery" listed under today's heading on the schedule this morning.  I indeed took it easy today.  It was about a 4,200 meter workout... nice and slow.  Nothing too strenuous.  Both my right shoulder and right knee have been bothering me.  Both injuries happend two weeks ago and just haven't had an opportunity to heal.  It was nice to have a workout where I wasn't expected to push myself.

I'm really looking forward to the Charlotte Grand Prix this weekend.  I feel that our high workload Long Course Meters combined with an improved diet, sleep and a little rest may yeild some solid times!

I took this picture as I was walking out of the pool.  It sounds odd, but there's just something interesting about a calm natatorium.  It's a place where some of the fastest swimmers on the planet splash water all over the place while fans scream themselves hoarse... yet, it's just so serene right now.  With the pool area clean and the lights off with the sunshine spilling through the windows I saw a form of industrial beauty as I left the pool today.  Enough so that I snapped a picture.

May
7

Thank you Caroline!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 1:42pm (May 7th, 2012)
Thank you Caroline!

I was lucky enough to have a chance to meet with a Registered Dietitian today!  I've been wondering about my nutrition ever since college but especially since I chose to start eating vegetarian.  Caroline was very generous with her time both assessing my current diet, making recommendations and taking questions.  I'm very thankful for her assistance.  And now for the good stuff:

During a quick meet and greet last week, Caroline provided me a sheet to record what I ate and drank over the next few days.  I was conscious to not change my diet just for this experiment, therefore my food and drink intake was typical and recorded honestly.  When I arrived today I provided Caroline my daily diet for the past 3 days.  My own personal assessment was that I did a decent job of recording portions and times.  I'll do much better next time being more specific and thorough.  Once she started recording the calories, fat, carbs, protien and fluid the learning process began!  The whole experience brought me back to my gradeschool days.  I had a knowledgeable teacher in front of me working through equations while I took mental notes as she tossed out occasional affirmations and critiques along the way.  I found myself smiling quite a bit as she simply looked at my food intake and made predictions and judgements (nice ones) about my lifestyle, cooking freqency and food preferences.  It struck me a bit like a counseling meeting, which is sort of was.  It seems as though you can learn quite a bit about somebody from how and what they eat!  Caroline was incredibly thorough in her analysis of my diet.  I feel like nothing was missed, it was really refreshing to work with a professional on this topic.  Her conclusions were mixed, which I expected.  In hindsight I wish I had made some predictions about her conclusions.  A few of them I would have been right about, others, I was waaay off base.  Here was what I took away from the meeting:

  • I'm getting enough protein, actually a bit too much, apparently a typical effect of a vegetarian overcompensating for lack of meat in the diet.  I learned today that the average American gets about twice as much protein as they need... fun fact.
  • I'm not getting nearly enough fruits.  This is one that I expected, something to work on.
  • I'm not getting nearly enough vegetables.  This is one I didn't expect
  • My total calorie intake is 5,429 for the day, not too shabby.  Those "daily averages" for most people is 2,000
  • I'm getting enough carbohydrates.  I would have guessed this to be correct.
  • I'm nowhere near my ideal fluid intake.  I never saw this coming.  I might have guessed I'm a little low but I'm one of those people who carries a water bottle everywhere I go.  I need to step up my game bigtime.
  • I'm getting enough fat in my foods.  I never really thought this would be an issue.
  • Like many Americans, I need more whole grains and less white flour.  Another one I might have guessed.
  • I really need to  eat a meal before morning practice.  I'm pretty bad about this one and it will be a tough transition to plan and make time for a meal before an early workout.  I never really thought this would be much of an issue, I always assumed my dinner would carry me though a morning practice... this is incorrect for my needs.
  • My meal timing is not too bad.  I nearly split my caloric intake 50/50 through the day.  Apparently most other swimmers weight it towards the end of the day due to scheduling and practice schedules.
  • I need to always keep food in my car or locker to refuel after a workout.  I always knew this was a good idea but I've never made it a reality other than the last few weeks.

I really appreciate Caroline's time and expertise.  It was an honor to work with her.  I hope I have a chance to follow up with her and do another assessment of my diet after I make some changes (and eat some baked potato's).  Thanks Caroline!

May
6

A rough Saturday practice

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 12:54am (May 6th, 2012)

It's been a rough few weeks.  A month ago I was feeling amazing in the water.  My practice times were impressive and my confidence was high.  In the weeks that followed we did exactly what I've been waiting for, we got WORKED!  The last two weeks haven't been incredibly hard, in fact last week was a recovery week.  This week was back to normal but honestly I never really recovered from the 3 hard weeks in a row.  I really need a few days for my body to rebuild.  This feeling comes at a perfect time.  Next week I head to Charlotte for the first time to compete in the Charlotte Ultraswim Grand Prix, a legendary (in a sense) meet.  We will hold off the weights in the coming days and I will plan on resting a day or so before the meet to get ready to race.  Especially exciting is the fact that this meet will offer the 50's in each stroke!  I've been dying to get a time in a 50 fly and 50 back!

Back to my Saturday practice.  It started bad and didn't get much better.  Borderline embarassing.  It was a set with 3 rounds, each different:

Round 1
65m Dive 100 pace @ 1:15
50m Push last 50 pace @ 1:00
25m Dive all out

Round 2
35m Dive 100 Pace @ 1:00
35m Dive 100 Pace @ 1:00
50m Dive 100 Pace

Round 3
35m Dive 100 Pace @ 1:00
1 x Power Rack with full weight
25m Dive at 50 Pace

Most swimmers did pretty well on this set.  I should have taken the day off.  I knew I was broken down but I was optimistic going into the set.  I pushed myself as much as I could but there wasn't much left in the tank today.  My first 65m felt like I was working way too hard.  My feet flipped at a 28.8.  not an entirely horrible split but it took a lot out of me.  After a 15m kick out, we cruised back to the wall for our 50m "bring it home" swim.  This last 50 meters is meant to test how you will bring your 100 meter race home.  I've never been good at finishing 100 meter races and today it showed.  I had almost nothing left when I STARTED the 50 meters.  I touched in a very sad 32.5.  I knew it was going to be slow, but I'm pretty sure some of the breastrokers beat me on that one.

After that sad start to the set, I decided to switch it up to butterfly.  Last weekend that theory worked great for me.  My backstroke was feeling bad, I changed it up and swam very well.  It didn't work as well this time around.  My butterfly felt pretty good the first 35m but was a real struggle on the second 35m.  By the time we got up on the blocks for the timed 50m I knew I might be doomed.  Other swimmers were :27's, my teammate next to me was a 29.5 and I touched in a 30.0, probably the slowest fly (dive) split of the day.

The third round was just as messy.  I stuck with butterfly on this round.  Lucky for me the 35 dive was not timed but I felt as though I held it together for the most part.  I quickly strapped into the power rack and pushed off.  I was pulling the entire rack, somewhere around 100lbs.  It felt like it took forever, probably only about 10 seconds, but they were loooong seconds.  As soon as I finished the rack I hopped up on the blocks to swim my last 25m of the day.  I finished in a 11.9 against my teammates 11.5. 

At the end of the day, I'm not sure I beat anybody in any stroke.  I have good days in the pool and bad days.  I finished with a smile on my face and enjoyed practice but it was a bad day for my times.  I need some rest, some food and a few days off.  I look forward to the meet next weekend and resting a tiny bit.

May
6

Seeing a Registered Dietitian on Monday!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 12:17am (May 6th, 2012)

For years I've wanted to speak with a Dietitian about my general food intake and nutrition.  Until this past week I wasn't aware of any resources on CW that would fulfil that need.  It turns out there is a Registered Dietitan that works with our team already!  I briefly met with her on Thursday to discuss my diet.  I assumed I might be a tough case for her due to my vegetarian diet.  I was prepared for her to say "there is no way you can get what you need without meat".  I was nearly floored when she shook her head and replied "that doesn't matter at all, in fact there are some noticable benefits over a meat diet".  I couldn't hold back my smile.  I was relieved to hear she wouldn't be recommending anything outside my current diet.  She was both helpful and knowledgeable with a lengthly background in a cardiac area, I'll get more details but I was impressed.  She also (gently) schooled me on the difference between a "nutritionist" and a "registered dietitian".  She is the latter, which is apparently much better thing.

As the meeting came to a close, she provided me with a sheet of paper to record my food and drink intake over the following days.  When we meet she will review my food and do some smart person calculations on my caloric intake to determine if any changes need to be made.  Although the meeting will probably be her correcting poor food choices, I look forward to hearing feedback from a true expert!

May
3

My Team

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 6:08am (May 3rd, 2012)
My Team

I recently passed the 1 year mark with Club Wolverine Elite.  It's tough to put into words how grateful I am to be part of this group.  I enjoy every single day with this team.  I find myself laughing and smiling more than I ever have with any other team.  We work incredibly hard and have fun training.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that it's a great honor to swim with these guys.  In the past year I've learned a lot about my training.  My time here has changed how I swim, lift and prepare for races.  In many ways it has revolutionalized my swimming.  It really has been a great year. 

THANK YOU CLUB WOLVERINE!

May
2

Primary Stroke Change?!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 1:05pm (May 2nd, 2012)

I grew up fearing Butterfly like so many other kids.  Lately, I'm more confident in my butterfly than any other stroke including backstroke.  I've learned it's good to switch up your training every so often.  It seems like every set lately has been a struggle to swim backstroke.  I'll usually start the set backstroke since it's still my primary focus, race hard, only to get mediocre times from the coaches.  I get a bit discouraged, and switch to butterfly for the heck of it.  The set immediately gets better!  I feel strong through the whole race!  My times are proportionally better across the board.  Somehow I'm becoming a butterfly swimmer, something I never really wanted to be.  Today we ended our race pace set with a 50m off the blocks for time.  This was at the end of 3 other 50's and I had about 30 seconds rest before the gun went off.  I touched in a 25.5, a very respectable time for practice!  Comparatively my 50 backstroke with the same rest earlier in the set was a 28.8.  That's a significant difference even taking into consideration the start difference which I've learned is about 0.60 seconds.

I'm making progress, just in different areas than I expected lately.