CEDAR RAPIDS — Terry Laughlin, a swimming coach with the online Total Immersion Swimming program, once said “tapering is often thought of as the key to an entire season’s success.”
Tapering for swimmers includes the act of wearing layers of clothes during practice. This will make a swimmer feel lighter and faster when they strip off the layers and compete in meets.
“Tapering is where we add more drag and decrease time in the pool while practicing to help build up to our last meet,” said Cedar Rapids Xavier senior Mitchell Talyat, who swims for Washington.
Although tapering is meant to be helpful, there have been instances where something has gone wrong.
“It normally helps us out a lot, but one time my tights ripped during the middle of one of my practices,” said Xavier junior Ethan Williams, who also swims for the Warriors.
Talyat, who swims the 100- and 50-yard freestyle, believes tapering is helpful, but weird at the same time.
“It honestly feels like I am swimming uphill and like a force is pushing against me,” Talyat said.
Tapering takes weeks to fully the body respond to the short, intense workouts. A person has to be physically and mentally ready for the work that is required.
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“Tapering prepares us a lot by giving us more energy so we can really do good in all of our key meets,” Talyat said.
The use of tapering increases levels of muscular force and power. It helps increase the specialization for an athlete.
“Typically before I tapered, my times were not as good compared to after I tapered,” Talyat said. “Usually as a result of tapering, I drop a couple seconds off my time.”
When a swimmer begins to taper, they need to maintain frequency and keep a routine by doing it for the last two weeks of the season.
“Tapering has helped me have big time drops,” said Xavier junior Spencer Kramer, who swims for Kennedy. “It is easier for competing in meets because when we are tapering we have tights on and in the meets we take them off,”
The swimming season is winding down with district championships set for Feb. 8. Kennedy and Washington will be swimming in the Linn-Mar district, along with the Lions, Jefferson and Iowa City West and City High.