Deck Pass Blog: Week 2
Kyle Duckitt

Oct. 4, 2012

New to this year is the Deck Pass, your behind-the-scenes look at the University of Michigan men's and women's swimming and diving programs. The Deck Pass consists of two components -- a blog and a podcast -- and will be produced right here on each competition week during the 2012-13 season.

This week's podcast features women's swimmers Courtney Beidler and Angela Chokran (LISTEN), while the blog was written by Kyle Duckitt.

Michigan hosts Minnesota in a co-ed dual meet on Friday (Oct. 5) at 5 p.m., and the first-ever Michigan Water Carnival on Saturday (Oct. 6) at noon inside Canham Natatorium.The Carnival will feature men's and women's teams from Michigan and Minnesota, and the men's swimming team from Oakland.

Hello everyone!

Last weekend provided a look into the speed and power of the Michigan men's swimming and diving team. After an exhaustive last three weeks of swimming and lifting, the team managed to put together a meet that was more like something we would swim later in the season. With strong performances from Connor Jaeger, Richard Funk (who decided to self-taper in order to try to intimidate me for the Carnival), Zachary Turk, and also the freshman class, the team looks ready to have a breakout season.

The extra work put in by Mike Bottom, Josh White and Mark Hill has already started to show. One of the new coaches on staff, Rick Bishop, has worked with me on a daily basis and has really started to transform my breaststroke by helping me focus on the little things that are easy to forget. One would think that with all the extra responsibility, the effort put in by the coaches would have diminished, but I think the opposite. The challenge has actually caused that fire and desire for success to grow.

But now onto serious matters, and we're of course talking about the first-ever Michigan Water Carnival. For most swimming fans, there are only two times a year that they really get excited about swimming -- NCAA's and World Championships (or every four years for the Olympics). Most meets are attended to see one or two races that last about a minute each, but might have a couple hours worth of races worth beforehand that you just have to sit through. The Michigan Water Carnival is aiming to change this. It is a chance for swimming to showcase its value as a spectator sport with events that create a buzz and excitement factor that usually only the Olympics can.

Richard Funk and I have personally tried to build the hype by starting a friendly Twitter battle. After talking some trash in a couple of practices, the rivalry soon spread to Twitter with stakes being raised on both sides as to who would win the breaststroke battles at the Carnival. It has all been done to try create a buzz for the meet and also to put personal pride on the line for the fans. You can follow the tweets by following either me (@KyleDucky) or Richard Funk (@rFunk08).

Other notable rivalries for the Carnival are Sean Fletcher vs. John Wojciechowski in the 50-yard underwater race. These two are constantly put up against each other in practice and it is going to be interesting to see who pulls off the win when a crowd is watching. The 200-yard freestyle with fins is also going to be interesting due to a multitude of people who could pull of the win. The favorite has to be All-Star fins and paddles specialist Ryutaro Kamiya; however, with the absence of paddles, the door is slightly open for the likes of Michael Wynalda, Kyle Whitaker, Roman Willets and Peter Brumm. Whitaker might also be a dark horse in the 50-yard underwater after a good showing in practice today, where he almost out touched Wojo in a 25-yard underwater race.

I can tell the team and the swimming world are excited about the Carnival. It is a chance for us to showcase some of the other things we are good at, and the slightly less serious (but actually really serious) #TeamDuckitt side of swimming. It's also a chance to get the crowd involved in the action and allow them to come and have some fun at a swim meet.

We hope to see you at the Natatorium on Friday and Saturday for our meets. Whatever side you choose -- #TeamDuckitt or #TeamFunk -- we're all on the same team.

Go Blue!