Every swimmer experiences the ever-so emotional seasonal highs and lows. One week, you’re on cloud nine, destroying practice and going times that you have never gone before during test sets. You’re feeling great in the water. The swim meet that you were so excited and confident for comes along… and you cannot seem to perform. Your confidence is low, and you struggle to understand what went wrong. You ask yourself how you can excel in practice but not in a meet. You’re defeated and may even think that you will not be able to get over your plateau. Luckily, you’re not alone! Many swimmers have experienced this, including National and World Team member, Tim Phillips. Tim has had his fair share of seasonal highs and lows and offers advice to motivate swimmers after a rough practice or a rough in-season performance.
As swimmers, we always want to know what will make us better or how we can make that next big movement in our swimming career. We hear about the importance of nutrition and how it helps our body recover, but we don’t always implement it in the way that we should. Many swimmer’s start eating really healthy before their big end of the season meet, and then they go crazy on the junk food and sweets during post season. Is that really what we should be doing? Katie Meili, USA Bronze Medalist in the 100 meter breaststroke at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, has some advice for us on how to keep up with nutrition throughout the season!
The coaches were enthusiastic and fun, but most importantly, they wanted to make sure you were loving what you were doing. Because summer league is typically not as competitive as year-round club swimming, the coaching staff has more flexibility with their workouts and fun activities, allowing them to help swimmers develop a love for the sport.
College and club swimming… It’s all the same, right? I mean, you’re still swimming with a team, working hard, and doing fly until your shoulders are dead, what could be so different? A lot, actually, and it all comes to light after a few years into my college career.
Within the hard, strenuous, and rough season of swimming, all swimmers aspire for that one point in time where they can finally rest and recover. That rest and recovery is known as taper. Taper is a huge component for swimmers of every level. On a basic level, taper is a period before a swimmer’s biggest swim meet. But what is taper, and what does it do for the swimmer? Taper is a period of rest, recovery, and sharpening. It mostly occurs one to three and a half weeks before the swimmer’s meet. Within this time period, the swimmer will gradually come down in yardage and begin honing in on their skills. The training period of a season is used to learn and adapt. Coaches use vigorous methods to try and teach the swimmer to utilize certain skills when his or her body is beat up. Thus, when taper comes around, the swimmer will be able to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, performing everything that he has learned to a perfected level. Even though taper has many components that are associated with the water, it also has components outside of the water. From gathering some information, here are some tips to help improve a taper outside of the water:
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One constantly hears “Swim Mom” and “Team Mom” being thrown around to describe the dedicated parent of a swimmer or team. However, “Swim Dad” is often overlooked. For many of the club meets of my youth, it was my dad who would drive me to my swim meets and cheer me on in the hot sun for hours during every single race that I swam. It was my dad who would clear the tears from my face after a bad swim. It was my dad who would buy me ice cream after a long meet. It is still my dad who makes as many of my college dual meets as he can. I asked my dad a few things about being a Swim Dad, and here is what he said: