Courtesy of Ashleigh Shanley, SwimSwam Intern. Follow: @ashleigh.shanley
As a sophomore college swimmer, I have experienced many championship meets between all the summer and winter seasons that I have taken part in. Although that makes me no expert on how to have a perfect season, each year has taught me something new in how to prepare for those exciting end of the season meets. As we near that time of year again, here are five important steps to prepare you for that last meet of the season.
ONE – Trust yourself
If you can look yourself in the mirror, and know you have worked your hardest at each practice, each dryland, and have taken care of yourself outside of the pool; you have no reason to doubt yourself. You have put in the time and effort, and the last meet of the season is for you to show off everything you have done throughout the season, so trust your hard work and trust yourself.
TWO - Ignore the feelings
While we are tapering for a big meet, everyone tends to be so concerned with how they are feeling in the pool. Although it is important to be conscious of how we are feeling, many swimmers let those feelings get to their head. If they are feeling crummy in the pool one day, that becomes all they can think about making them tense and causing them to stress or worry about the next practice and how they are going to feel. Don’t let this happen to you! We have all had those meets where we feel tight or sore during warm up, and then swim out of our minds. So don’t let feeling weird during taper freak you out. Your body is adjusting to the extra rest, and will be ready to perform when you need it to. Ignore the feelings, and focus on everything you have done this season.
THREE – Focus on the details
Going off the second point, by focusing on the details of our stroke or race in practice, it will take your mind off how you are feeling. Not only will it distract you, if you are a swimmer that stresses about feelings, but it will also build your confidence before your meet by knowing your stroke is in its best shape possible. Use the details to keep you stress-free and confident.
FOUR – Visualize
Picture yourself winning your championship meet or executing the perfect race or getting that time standard you have been working so hard for. Whatever it is, the more you visualize or picture yourself accomplishing your goal, the more comfortable you will become with it, and the more realistic it will seem. When you are standing behind the blocks at your championship meet, and you have visualized yourself in that exact race multiple times, you will have the confidence to go out their and race to your fullest potential to accomplish that goal.
FIVE – Enjoy yourself and your team
You have been working so hard all season together, pushed through training trips or winter training together, and now it is time to watch each other have amazing meets, and there is nothing better than that. Enjoy the last few weeks of the season with your teammates, enjoy watching your teammates accomplish their goals, and enjoy yourself throughout it all.
I wish all of you the best of luck at your end of the season meets, and hope these five steps can help you to prepare the best you can for your championship meet!