The Struggles with Taper

With championship meets underway, that can only mean one thing: Taper. Taper is every swimmers favorite word. It means you finally get to drop yardage, and hopefully get out of practice early.

You have watched your teammates one by one slowly begin taper and now it is your turn.

After a long hard season of constant swimming, lifting, and conditioning it is finally coming to an end. Your yardage drops, dry land slows down or completely stops, and weights goes from being extremely heavy to completely nothing.

Taper is an extremely weird feeling. You start feeling like you are completely out of shape and you are wondering how exactly you are going to be able to hit you goal times a few days from now. Throughout your taper you wonder and start questioning exactly how you are even going to swim because you feel so out of shape.

Each practice your coach asks you how you are feeling in the water, but you don’t really know how you feel. You feel like you’re just in a weird funk. Some people call it the “taper blues”.

Taper is always the time when you have to watch eating the 200 pound of pasta you consume on the daily, because you realize you aren’t burning as many calories as usual. You find that hitting aerobic paces are getting more difficult through your taper practices and you are exhausted after sprinting a single 25.

As the days of taper pass, you enjoy the yardage drop and shorter practices, but you are still feeling incredibly odd. Taper is something that every swimmer loves, but hates at the same time. A good or bad taper can make or break your championship meet. Although taper does mean easier practices, it also means feeling like absolute crap in the water.

Taper is a time when a lot of swimmers tend to get in their head. They think because they feel like they are in a “funk” they wont feel good when they race.

Although it is easy to get into your head about your taper, it’s important to not. It’s important to put your trust in your coach and your taper because when it comes time for the big meet its 90% mental.

Every swimmer will have at least one bad taper in their career. But the feeling of hitting your taper is a feeling that makes you feel unstoppable.

When you hit your taper, you feel like you are literally swimming on top of the water. The best part is when you finish a race, and you look at the scoreboard and see that you just went a best time. The feeling of hard work paying off never gets old.




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Always found swimmers so full of energy and excitement in taper

Taper Resources?

What are some of the better online taper training resources for different training groups–distance, sprint, stroke?

About Olivia McLain

Olivia McLain

My name is Olivia McLain and I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.  I am currently a junior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where I am also on the UNO Women's Swim Team. I specialize in the 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, and now that its allowed …

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