To Taper or Not to Taper for States?

As many year-round swimmers know, high school swimming can add a lot of complications and annoyances with year-round. And as States approaches you begin to question how to approach your practices. On one hand, States is a great opportunity to swim at a fast pool. But on the other hand, you don’t want to screw up your championship meets at the end of this season.

As my coach has repeated to my group throughout the entire high school season, the more you lay off now, the less prepared and ready you will be for your championship meet.

This doesn’t mean let’s do 30x100s on 1:00 the day of Regionals because you have practice that morning. You can still go best times in high school post-season and not be tapered. You don’t want to hinder that by killing yourself that morning. But don’t totally lay off your training because then you’re not going to have any base to taper off of when your coach actually tries to taper you.

It’s hard to make a judgment on what to do. It depends on your coach, what they plan to do, how you are feeling, and your expectations for post-season. I decided to attend my normal practices and not hold back in practice because I am more concerned with my championship season times and my coach gives us a different set if you have a meet the day of. You may be trying to use one of the post-season meets as a last chance to qualify for a meet in championship season. In which case, you may want to lay off a little more. If your coach is like my old coach, he will still try to kill you the day of the meet, you may not want to go to practice on that day.

Be that as it may, you can do well without being tapered. I dropped time in both of my events at Districts/Conference without any sort of taper. If anything my coach had been tougher on us the week leading up. But I still dropped time and happened to make Sectionals in the 200 free. It all depends on how you’re feeling. If I had tapered, I might have gone faster, but self-tapering won’t ever be as good as having your coach actually tapering you. This just means I have even more room for improvement when I actually go to Sectionals in the 200 free (which I will be doing cause I’ve actually started to like the 200 free). But it’s ultimately up to you what you decide to do. I suggest talking with your coach about your plan and getting their advice. They will have an opinion and they want the best for you.

Since I just swam states I decided to update you guys on that as well. I dropped time in both the 200 and 100 free again. We laid off of training a little but not too much so this time drop was surprising since I dropped 1.75 seconds off of the time I had just dropped 1.6 seconds for three weeks ago. Below is a picture of my 200 medley relay that we took after States was over.

My 200 Medley Relay at States. From left to right: Natalie Schlemmer (breaststroke), Kelli McMillan (me, freestyle), Rachel Schlemmer (butterfly), and Ashley Bogushefsky (backstroke).

Happy Swimming!

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