3 Steps for Moving Forward from Mid Season Meets

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Cathleen Pruden, Swimming World College Intern

The past few weekends have been full of mid season invitationals at both the collegiate and the club level. College swimmers in particular approach these meets differently, with varying levels of rest, shaving, (accidental holiday) taper, and tech suit usage. Consequently, every swimmer is in a different place, and everybody has different results. Results ranged from National Records to the not so memorable swims which did not make headlines.

Whether you are happy with your results or wondering what exactly went “wrong,” these races are, like always, valuable experiences. Here are three steps for moving forward from mid season meets.

1. Remember it’s still the mid season.

CeraVe Invitational

Photo Courtesy: Heidi Torregroza

Don’t rest on your laurels. Don’t stay down in the dumps.

It’s only December. You haven’t put in all of the hard work, yet. There is still more swimming, weightlifting, core work, and mental preparation to be done. Even better, there’s still more chances to practice racing.

I’ve had coaches put the season in the context of a bank. Every day when you work hard, every challenge you accept, and every technical detail you master is a deposit in the bank. You still have two more months of work, two more months to earn and make deposits. The withdrawal you made at this mid season meet is only worth as much as you have put in so far. You have much more to deposit, and in two months, that balance will be much higher. You will capitalize on your hard work with an even larger withdrawal. Your races will be better and you’ll be happier.

There is still work to be done. But, take a deep breathe, there is still time.

2. Use this.

Jul 13, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Swimming coach David Marsh talks with Ryan Lochte during the Sunday finals of the Bulldog Grand Slam at Gabrielsen Natatorium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

You took time away from finals studying and put your skin through too many sessions of chlorine, so don’t make it be for naught.

Evaluate the weekend. If you have access to race video, watch it. If you don’t yet have a swim meet journal, start one. Write down what went well and what didn’t. Did you do a long, refreshing warm up before the last session or did you just stare at the pool, hoping it would warm up and invite you in? Did you regret your decision? Record what you’d like to do differently in February.

How did things go mentally? Some swimmers are confident, yet others have doubts until they touch the finish wall. You can work to improve your mindset.

How did things go physically? Breakouts can be weak because they simply need to be practiced more or they can result from a lack of mental commitment. Either way, you can fix them.

How was your recovery? In a multi-day, multi-session meet, recovery is important. Warm ups, stretching, and rolling out all add up. If you were tasting your lunch on the third 50 of the 200 backstroke, that might be worth writing down.

If you’re happy, awesome. Now what can you do to ensure that you are thrilled in February or March? If you’re unhappy, you have just as much to reflect on.

3. Train on.

warm-ups-santa-clara-2015 (5)

Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Use these reflections to plan for the rest of the season. The next two months will be hard. Luckily, you get this time! You get to train more. It’s still only mid season and you don’t need to settle for these results.

You can focus on new details. You can still change your technique.

Set new goals. Maybe the goals need to be faster. Or, maybe you need smaller goals. Setting one process goal per week can add up quickly and impact those little details you want to improve.

Embrace the challenge of holiday training. Whether you swam quickly or slowly at your mid season meet, you know you want to get better. This second half of the season is a second opportunity to get smarter, stronger, and faster. Good luck!

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