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Old 11-23-2009
swimmom2348 swimmom2348 is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 8
Default Competition and taper time

My daughter is a high school swimmer who attends about 16-20 hours of practice a week which includes 2 1-hour weight training sessions.

She has a good friend the same age who swims about 10-14 hours of practice a week. This friend was somewhat faster than her at the start of the season and is still slightly faster now.

My daughter gets discouraged because she works so hard in practice (attends the harder practices) but her friend is less dedicated but seems to be able to improve and keep getting better times. Her coach tells her that she will see her times improve after the taper while her friend should not see as much improvement since she is not working hard.

Will someone explain this to me? I don't understand taper and how it relates to the intensity of your workouts.

I do plan to bring my daughter to a total immersion camp just so she will learn that hard practices don't necessarily mean productive practices but also to teach her to basics of TI
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Old 11-23-2009
Grant Grant is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Sooke, BC. Canada
Posts: 581

What follows is a very rough description of the taper and what it achieves. Others I am sure will give you a more complete picture. Consider this entry level info :o).
The taper refers to the practice of reducing the intensity, duration and distance of the the practices for a short time before a competition. This results in the swimmer being stronger as they have had more rest and the muscles have had a chance to recover from the hard workouts. I remember my first coach telling us that they joked that the swimmers at the end of the taper were at least 2 inches taller as they were not walking around exhausted in slouched shoulder fashion.
I think your daughters coach is most likely correct in what he says.
This training format is not what TI is about of course and thats another issue.
Hope she gets the results she wants while enjoying the trip.
May we swim with ease at the speeds we choose.
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Old 12-06-2009
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 402

I tried the one week taper described in Joe Friel's Heart Rate Monitor Training Book last summer in the week before the provincial open water championships and I think it did make a difference. This type of taper was developed for runners and was found to increase blood hematocrit and plasma volume levels. Sort of like taking EPO, but produced by your own body.
Rather than just a week of rest, it went like this:
Day 7: warm up, 6 x 30 second all-out sprint with 1:30 rest between, cool down.
Day 6: warm up, 5 x 30 sprint/1:30 rest, cool down.
Day 5: " ", 4 x 30 sprint/1:30 rest, " "
Day 4: " ", 3 x 30 sprint/1:30 rest, " "
Day 3: " ", 2 x 30 sprint/1:30 rest, " "
Day 2: rest completely
Day 1: " ", 1 x 30 sprint/1:30 rest, " "
Day 0: Race day.
The sprints make the difference. When control groups of runners in the study just reduced their distances, it didn't make that much of difference.
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