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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Swim’s tapering key to a fast race

    Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Annie Chandler

Swim meet between the Arizona Wildcats, UNLV Running Rebels, and the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.
    Mike Christy
    Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat Annie Chandler Swim meet between the Arizona Wildcats, UNLV Running Rebels, and the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

    Collegiate swimming, especially at Arizona, has always been filled with early hours in the pool and strenuous sessions in the weight room. But for the UA swim and dive team, the key to translating that hard work into fast times stems from the complete opposite of hard work — rest.

    The UA swim and dive team travels to Texas this Wednesday morning for their biggest meet of the semester, the Texas Invite, which starts on Thursday. In hopes of capturing a slew of NCAA qualifying times, head coach Frank Busch’s team has been “”tapering”” for the better part of three weeks.

    Tapering is swimmer’s lingo for gradually decreasing the workload and allowing the body some time to heal.

    “”Our bodies are in a constant state of overtraining so we bring those levels down to give your body and your mind a chance to recover,”” said senior co-captain Jack Brown.

    Judging by the workload of the team during the majority of the season, it is clear that healing of the mind and body is a necessity. For most of the season the team’s schedule consists of two-a-day practices starting at 6 a.m. three times during the week, plus lifting and swimming twice during the week and a three-and-a-half hour Saturday practice.

    Sophomore swimmer Alyssa Anderson bluntly described the team’s training regimen.

    “”If you’re lucky, you can squeeze in a nap,”” she said.

    But all the rest is well earned, given the swimmer’s time to recover after months of intense practicing.

    “”Our bodies are basically put through the grinder,”” said senior Annie Chandler. “”We run and lift and swim and kick, so if one of those things doesn’t kill you, then I don’t know, you’re super-human.””

    Needless to say, for the majority of the season the UA swimmers are exhausted and physically beaten up. So how can a bunch of physically and mentally drained athletes compete at a national championship level? By tapering.

    The team stopped lifting weights a few weeks ago and have gradually decreased the amount of yardage they swim on a daily basis.

    “”You get your rest and you feel like you have a new body, because you really do,”” Chandler said. “”It makes you appreciate feeling good in the water because for the majority of the season we do feel like crap in the water.””

    While the team feels “”like crap in the water”” for most of the season, when a big meet is on the horizon, tapering is the perfect remedy for the pain and the reason for success.

    “”You feel like you’re pulling a ton of water every stroke and you’re not getting tired,”” added senior swimmer Jordan Smith. “”It’s a huge difference.””

    As a result of tapering, the swimmers feel better and faster, and they know that they feel faster in the water, which should result in some fast times.

    Arizona is always near the top of the pack at the Texas Invite, and tapering is one of the biggest reasons why. In fact, Chandler cited Arizona’s extensive tapering for the Texas Invite as the main reason for their continual success at the meet.

    “”I’ve talked to swimmers from other college programs and just listening to what they do and how they feel during the season,”” Chandler said. “”I know they don’t get nearly as broken down as we get.””

    Hopefully for the Wildcats, another year of November tapering leads to another year of Texas Invite success.

    “”I’m excited to see everybody swim,”” Smith said. “”This meet’s a lot of fun for us because we consistently do well here and have some crazy swims.””

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