The 5 Stages of the Swim Season Explained For Non-Swimmers

by SwimSwam 7

April 09th, 2015 College, Lifestyle

Courtesy of Shannon Cowley, SwimSwam Intern 

Swim season seems to last forever until you are officially a “swammer” and sometimes it doesn’t even stop there. All swimmers know the many different stages of Swim Season, and they are:

1 – Pre-Meet season

This is the period after your summer break is finally over, some lucky swimmers get up to three weeks off! The first practice back is either a mixture of drills, or a hard test set to see who’s been working and who hasn’t been. Soon you’ll fall back into your grueling sets, and hard dryland workouts. This is most likely the swimmers least favorite part of season because coaches have no reason (sadly) to let you recover.

2 – Meet Season

The beautiful time of the year when the duel meets start, the circled day on your calendar that indicates the first meet of the season is always an exciting one. Swimmers look forward to meet season because this means you can go to a meet instead of having a full practice for one day a week. This is also great team building time as meet season leads to more of the team aspect of swimming and cheering on your fellow teammates.

3 – Mid-Season Meet

The mid- season taper meet is the happy half waypoint of every swimmers season. The mini taper, the old tech suits, and prelim- finals seem to spark extra life in swimmers and it’s not odd to see a few best times. It also shouldn’t be a surprise when your dryland load decreases the few days leading to the meet. This is a great time to scope out your competition before championships.

4 – Championship Season

TAPER is a swimmers favorite word in the dictionary. This means endless energy, morning practice being a little later, longer showers, and any excuse to take the elevator. “Sorry, I’m on taper” will inevitably be said more times than it needs to. Shaving every part of our bodies will require many razors and lots of patience. When the final meet finally arrives, its full of ice baths, in-between session naps and lots of time stalking. Although a stressful experience, this is the best part of swimming. Watching all of you and your teammates hard work finally pay off and come together is a feeling uncanny to anything else.

5 – Post-Season

This is the once a year short break all swimmers get after their championship meet is over. During this break we find ourselves doing things too dangerous to try out in season that could result in a potential injury, finally hanging out with friends, sleeping in and counting down to the next time you can get in the pool. No matter how short the break, it always seems wrong to be out of the water and every swimmer normally ends up missing it.

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Carole Ingram
5 years ago

My daughter is only but 10 years old and just finished her first Sept/March season of swimming, participating in her first A Championship this weekend. We didn’t hit any AA times but she swam her best ! It’s so impressive to see these kids practice and intensity in training. She also did a “taoer” but her school PE teacher refused to accept my written notes to please put my daughter in “time out” just for 2 weeks…so on Friday I had to pick her up from school so to make sure she wasnt going to do anything too taxing on her body for her championship. Next year, I will be ahead of the game and make sure the school listens… Read more »

Alexandria evans
6 years ago

hello my names Alexandria Evans , and i’m trying to start a swim team for my high school but i don;t have the slightest clue how we should begin. what are the first things we are suppose to go over and what are some mandatory requirements i should look for in team mates? if you could please assist me that would be great. i really have a passion for swimming and i want to share and explore the opportunities that come with it. i would greatly appreciate your advise. thank you and have a good afternoon ( or day …or night..we really need to find more phrases to put here. )

Coach Laura
7 years ago

I do love watching the transition from just swimmers in the lane to fierce friends during swim meets. Practices have more meaning after the first meet. Nailed it!

Hanna Martin
7 years ago

WOOO Shan! Awesome job summing up the swim season and it’s so beautifully written. I think every swimmer can relate to this. Nice work girly!

7 years ago

That pretty much sums it up!

7 years ago

3.5 Winter/Holiday Training

Every ounce of energy spared for that mid-season mini taper is now extracted tenfold and makes you long for those “easy” September practices. Coaches secretly compete between themselves to see who can make up the most impossible sets – and in the process, identifying which swimmers are just insane enough to REALLY want it. Embrace the suck!

7 years ago

This pretty much sums up my life. This is really accurate for both winter and summer swimming. I can totally agree with the sacred ritual of taper being the best part of the year.