5 Tips For College Freshmen At Their Mid-Season Meet

Jul 18, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Sierra Schmidt of the United States dances on the pool deck before competing in the women's swimming 800m freestyle final during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Pan Am Aquatics UTS Centre and Field House. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel/USA Today Sports Images

By Katlynn Emaus, Swimming World College Intern

There are several obvious differences between college swimming and high school and club swimming. Hours training, weights, cardio, coaches and teammates just to name a few. All of these play a huge factor on adjusting to the college swimming stage. The midseason taper meet is a freshman’s first actual rested meet in their college career. It’s kind of a big deal. All of those factors need to be taken into account for how the perform. Here are five tips for college freshmen to get the most out of their first collegiate taper meet.

1. Take a deep breath, relax, repeat.


Photo Courtesy: Kelly Lennon

You either did the work in the pool before or you didn’t, there is no changing that. Stressing about your race and getting tense and nervous will do nothing but hinder your performance in the pool as well as take away from your overall experience. Let your training fall into place and do what you know you are capable of.

2. Improvise, Adapt and Overcome


Photo Courtesy: J.D. Lasica

Maybe you have never done weights or ran a 10k before college swimming. Remember that at this meet. It takes your body a long time to adapt to the intense training college swimming requires. Maybe you add seven seconds in your first event. As hard as it is, shake it off. Your body as well as your state of mind is still adjusting to college swimming. Take what you can from your race. Make note of your mistakes and try to aim your training toward fixing them so next time you won’t make them again. Refocus on your next event. Leave that one bad swim in the past; it won’t help anyone to dwell on it.

3. Keep your focus on one race at a time.


Photo Courtesy: Brian Jenkins-Vermont Athletics

Many of these mid-season meets are multiple days and multiple sessions: take one at a time. Every session should be the most important session. The mile might be on Sunday, so worrying about it on Wednesday takes away from each event between now and then. This helps keep the mind fresh. If you focus on each session individually instead of thinking of a meet as eight sessions, it helps the swimmer from getting mentally fatigued. Think about it. What sounds better? Tomorrow is the 200 IM and 100 fly, or tomorrow is the 200 IM and the 100 fly, then the next day is the 200 fly, and then the mile. Taking the meet in smaller doses helps keep the swimmer mentally refreshed.

4. Race for something larger than yourself.

TualitinHillsTeam Cheering on Blaise Wittenauer-Lee(winner)200BreastFinal

Photo Courtesy: Nicholas McMillan

You are representing your team, not only yourself – do it for them. When you are halfway through your race and you hit that inevitable wall, think of the cap you are wearing and what team you are representing, take a breath and see your team lined up all flaying their arms telling you to kick faster. Do it for them. They want you to succeed as much as they want themselves to swim fast. And, when you’re done swimming, pay the favor back. Cheer on your teammates. Go crazy. Lose your voice. It’s moments like that, lining the pool going bonkers with your teammates, which will last longer than any of your best times. Moments like that make the training worth it; they make the meet so much more enjoyable.

5. Look to the light at the end of the tunnel.


Photo Courtesy: J.D. Lasica

This is not conference or NCAAs. It is the mid-season taper meet in early December. If there is any time to make mistakes, it is at this meet. The mid-season taper meet can reveal what a swimmer needs to do before their big end of the year meet. It gives the swimmers an opportunity to get rested and put on a suit and see some fast numbers as well as mimic the end of the season meet. That is the sole purpose of the meet; to be a trial run for the conference championships. This meet provides freshmen a safety net. Also keep in mind, a college season can be twice as long as a high school season. The mid-season meet exposes them to what their end of the year meet will be like before setting foot on deck at that meet.

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