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Tips for a Great Taper

by ZwemZa on March 16th, 2019

There’s one time of the year that swimmers look forward to above all else – championship season! It’s taper time for swimmers around the country right now, and whether you’re preparing for your high school state meet, age group state, sectionals or NCAAs, the days and weeks leading up to your big meet are a very important time in your training.

Tapering can be an exciting time, but also a nerve-racking time. After all, you’ve put in months of training and hard work, and you want a great outcome. What can you do during your taper to ensure you get the results you’ve been hoping for at your championship meet? Chris Plumb, head coach at Carmel Swim Club and Carmel High School, has a few tips for a great taper this season.

1. Stick with what you’ve been doing.

By the time you get to taper, 90% of the season is behind you. You’ve established a routine with your training habits, your schedule outside of practice, your diet, etc. Now is not the time to experiment with new things or try something way different. “Keep doing what got you there,” said Plumb. “Taper is not the time to try something new, or veer wildly from the path you’ve been on. Taper is a time to do less of what you do but keep it familiar.”

2. Details matter!

During taper, you may have a little bit more rest between sets and your practices may finish earlier – use the extra time to focus on details and perfecting each part of your race. “Focus on the little things – with more time in your practice, you can spend extra time sharpening that turn or breakout, fixing a minor flaw in a stroke, and making sure your strokes are flowing as they should,” said Plumb.

3. Enjoy the ride.

Try to relax and enjoy the process – swimming fast is fun! Taper is a time for focus, but it’s important to have fun and enjoy what you’re doing. It’s a reward for your hard work. And, coaches should be able to have fun too. “As coaches, we like everything to be “perfect,” but there are times when you need to sit back and allow the swimmers some space,” Plumb added. “Enjoy being around young, energetic people who are excited to race and compete.

Emily Sampl | USA Swimming Contributor

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