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christineL
November 2nd, 2007, 10:28 AM
I am at a loss on what to say about this tapering off before a big meet. I need your personal experiences to say whether or not it is a good thing for a swimmer.

My daughter is currently on a swimming team in high school and did well with different coach. She shaved 30 seconds from the beginning to her last meet within one month and a half period. She excelled at each meet after she attended regular sessions of : 3X morning workouts in pool/dryland exericise (one hour and 15 minutes) and 4X afternoon workouts depending on how many meets she goes to (if there is a meet then there is a 3X afternoon workouts and a meet). Finally, her coaches told her that there is a tapering off which is no more morning workouts and fewer afternoon workouts for about 2 weeks. My daughter was not too happy about this but she followed through. Finally, she did not swim at all as per her coaches' orders for four days.

When she went to her Big Meet, she did not even meet or exceed her previous personal bests. My daughter was devastated by this that she did not want to be consoled by us. My husband and I really wonder if she did not need tapering off but a simple two days off. My husband and I notice for ourselves that we'd be at least a few seconds faster than the week before after two days off of rowing. We'd be full of energy and roaring to go - we do not need tapering off to help us achieve our best. Our daughter did meet her best or exceed after regular workouts but not tapering off. The coaches might know something that we don't know. I want to have documents in front of me (BTW, one of the swimmer's mother threw a fit after her daughter gained 8 seconds in her 500 and gave the coach a hard time - our team has always been the joke around here - hopefully, our youth team will help make a difference with new and better coach). Does tapering off help or hurt your performance?

matysekj
November 2nd, 2007, 12:02 PM
Christine,

Sorry to hear about your daughter's taper and her disappointment with it. Try to get her to remember it as a learning experience and move on from there. My experience has shown that for me at least, tapers are GREAT, but bad tapers aren't so good. Tapering is an art form, and there are so many things that can throw it off - getting sick, not getting enough sleep, bad nutrition, and not having the right mental approach. You have to BELIEVE in your taper to have it work it's magic, and your daughter will have a tough time overcoming this bad experience.

It sounds like she got involved in a bad taper plan. I have never heard of a swimming taper that involved staying out of the pool for 4 full days before competition. That's a very bad idea in my opinion. During a taper, I've found it best to swim at the same frequency as you always have, because that's the routine that your body is used to. If you swim 6 times a week in season, keep swimming 6 times a week during the taper. If you swim twice a day, keep it up (although some people will not do doubles at least a few days per week towards the end). The key is that while keeping your workout frequency the same, you need to gradually reduce the intensity and length of the workouts until you are at the point of just warming up and maybe doing a few short 80-90% sprints or some short pace work the day before the meet, depending on your events.

Like you described for rowing, you want to come into your big meet really antsy and jumping out of your skin to get into that pool and swim your absolute best. I've found that swimming is different than most other sports in that it requires a much longer taper. It's very rare for a 2 day taper to be anywhere near adequate for a swimmer. People tend to need anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks of gradual reduction in yardage and intensity to perform well in swimming, with a very few swimmers needing just one week or so.

Your mileage may vary, of course. However, it sure sounds like the biggest problem was taking 4 full days off just before the meet. I rarely feel like swimming well after 4 days off.

born2fly
November 2nd, 2007, 01:47 PM
Sorry about the bad taper experience. That to me seems a little extreme to stay out of the water 4 days leading up to to the meet. Your suppose to decrease your yardage slowly over the 2 week taper or how many days you taper for. Decrease yardage, increase speed and rest. Most of my taper workouts are at almost full speed to get heart rate up but then have plenty of rest in between sets and intervals to get heart rate back down.

Going 4 days without swimming is insane in my book. How are you supposed to keep the feel of the water, from the shower? There are lots of peeks and valleys during a taper and the trick at the end is to hit it on the peek, which can always be a challenge to do. Everyone tapers different and the swimmers need to do what works best for them.

I would ask coach what his reasoning is on being out of water for 4 days before the big meet. Me personally, the last two days before big meet we just always do a meet warmup then we crank out some 25's on 2minutes and 50's sprinting the flag to wall part.

Don't let one bad taper bring you down. I think everyone has had at least one bad taper where times went up or stayed the same.

Best of luck :-)
Greg

Allen Stark
November 3rd, 2007, 02:14 PM
I agree,4 days out of the water is a mistake. How much to taper is individual,but as a rule sprinters and breaststrokers need more,distance swimmers need less,males need more,females need less taper.During the taper there should be some race pace stuff and lots of recovery stuff.

christineL
November 3rd, 2007, 03:55 PM
My daughter tried not to go crazy during the four days off from swimming. She admitted that it was really hard to get in the pool house - like fish to water. Her worse performance was at 100 breaststroke. :(

We will need to discuss this with our current high school coaches for next year plan. Hopefully, our competitive US swimming coach will be more educated than the high school coaches. My daughter will resume swimming in two weeks which is something she is really looking forward to!

Thank you!

ande
November 3rd, 2007, 05:03 PM
tapering helps if done right
her coach is experimenting
if her best event is 500, I don't agree with taking 4 days off
Tapers should
decrease yardage but increase speed
she needs to do some race pace work
different people respond in different ways to tapering
some drop alot
some don't

the paradox of training is this
the best way to get fast long term is to train consistently hard
the best way to get fast short term is to rest

read swim faster faster




I am at a loss on what to say about this tapering off before a big meet. I need your personal experiences to say whether or not it is a good thing for a swimmer.

My daughter is currently on a swimming team in high school and did well with different coach. She shaved 30 seconds from the beginning to her last meet within one month and a half period. She excelled at each meet after she attended regular sessions of : 3X morning workouts in pool/dryland exericise (one hour and 15 minutes) and 4X afternoon workouts depending on how many meets she goes to (if there is a meet then there is a 3X afternoon workouts and a meet). Finally, her coaches told her that there is a tapering off which is no more morning workouts and fewer afternoon workouts for about 2 weeks. My daughter was not too happy about this but she followed through. Finally, she did not swim at all as per her coaches' orders for four days.

When she went to her Big Meet, she did not even meet or exceed her previous personal bests. My daughter was devastated by this that she did not want to be consoled by us. My husband and I really wonder if she did not need tapering off but a simple two days off. My husband and I notice for ourselves that we'd be at least a few seconds faster than the week before after two days off of rowing. We'd be full of energy and roaring to go - we do not need tapering off to help us achieve our best. Our daughter did meet her best or exceed after regular workouts but not tapering off. The coaches might know something that we don't know. I want to have documents in front of me (BTW, one of the swimmer's mother threw a fit after her daughter gained 8 seconds in her 500 and gave the coach a hard time - our team has always been the joke around here - hopefully, our youth team will help make a difference with new and better coach). Does tapering off help or hurt your performance?

christineL
November 3rd, 2007, 06:26 PM
:applaud:

I like your song.

I'm going to use your workout starting next week. :D