3 Reasons to Shrug Off A Bad Taper

John Collins CeraVe Invitational
Photo Courtesy: Heidi Torregroza

By Jake Renie, Swimming World College Intern

You’ve been waiting for this moment all year. You step up on the blocks in a brand new fast suit, and drown out the sound of everything at the pool except for the starter. As you fling yourself off the blocks, all you can think about is about the gold medal, or the cut you have been striving for, or just a personal record. You’re on the last length, inching forward, 10 meters to go, five… Exhausted and hyped on adrenaline, you finish and turn to look at the scoreboard…

Only to see a time far slower than you had planned for.

Every swimmer has at least one bad race in their athletic career, or one entirely bad swim meet. When that is the case, it’s hard not to feel gloomy and groggy when it’s all said and done. Luckily, there are many bright sides to help make the best of your poor experience.

1. You are always improving.

Lt. Shannon Scaff, an instructor at the Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, takes a lap during a long distance swim he dedicated to a fallen Coast Guard aircrew, Feb. 27, 2015. Scaff undertook the challenge of swimming in a local Charleston pool for 24 hours to bring awareness and support to the families of fallen military members. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann)

Photo Courtesy: Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann

You just spent months preparing yourself for this moment, that means you must have had an improvement– whether it was mental, physical, or emotional! Your coaches do what they do to make you better, so they must know a thing or two about improving!

2. You learned what needs to change in your training.


Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

Many times after a bad race or meet, your coach may find something that needs to be fixed. Maybe you need a faster kick, a higher elbow, or an adjustment to your body position. Going forward, you have the opportunity try new training styles, like more kick or some new edifying drills.

3. You made new memories away from the pool.


Photo Courtesy: Visit Omaha

With many big meets or races, you travel to a host pool that you don’t practice at. Maybe you visited a new state, and you swam in a totally new pool. You may have toured around town, mom bought you a meet shirt, and you got to try some exotic food in between sessions! There are many memories away from the water for you to remember and cherish.

So yes, bad races stink, and it’s not exactly how you envisioned your season’s end. Sometimes you’re supposed to have a bad race in order to realize what it is going to take to attain your goals. Don’t worry, you’ll bounce back. The bright spots in your swimming career are only bright because there were some slumps you worked through along the way.

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