Retapering is a Science and an Art
The dust is still settling after Prelims on the first full day of action at Women’s NCAA Swimming Championships. In some swimmers, sheer panic has set in; in others, sheer relief. Last night Stanford came out swinging but can they keep it up with a hard charging California?
Thirteen (13) swimmers seeded under 4:40 in the 500 Free did not break 4:40 this morning. That’s 9 more than last year. And many of these weren’t small additions — several added huge amounts of time — 5, 6, even 7 seconds. So, why is that? The answer is simple.
Retapering is difficult, which the vast majority of swimmers are going through. Coaches and swimmers have a hard enough time hitting the first taper let alone a second.
Did they shave and taper for their conference meet? Was their conference meet 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or 4 weeks ago? Have they slipped and fallen on a patch of ice tweaking their knee? Perhaps grabbed the flu in the airport? There are a million plus one variables and everyone is different. Not to mention this is the first time many of these swimmers are tapering with this coach (and vice versa).
My last thought on this is that schools that lack a competitive conference meet often swim better at NCAA’s as a whole. Texas’ men’s squad is the best example I can think of. How many of their swimmers shaved and tapered during their intersquad meet — oh I’m sorry — the Big 12 Conference Championships? Perhaps even more important is the emotional drain that comes from a competitive conference championship meet like Pac 12’s, ACC’s, SEC’s, or the Big Ten.
Retapering is hard. Mentally and physically. For both coach and swimmer.
And that’s all I have to say about that.