The Build-Up to Championship Season: What Goes Into the Preparation

ITALY, MARTINENGHI Nicolo' ITA, ORSI Marco ITA, ZAZZERI Lorenzo ITA, LAMBERTI Michele ITA, Gold Medal - World Record, 4x50m Medley Men Kazan - Russia 03/11/2021 Aquatics Palace LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

The Build-Up to Championship Season: What Goes Into the Preparation

By Josie Wise, Swimming World Intern

For many people, February, March and April are associated with melting snow, chirping birds and blossoming flowers. For swimmers, however, the coming months promise something a little more gritty: championships. The pandemic has taught us that championship meets aren’t something that should be taken for granted. This year more than ever, swimmers are itching to get a chance to properly rest after long months of training and show exactly what they’ve worked for. Championship races are so much more than the mere seconds that a swimmer is in the pool, and there are multiple reasons to look forward to the season.

Taper

By the time championships roll around, there are two types of athletes. Those who have put in the work, and those who haven’t. You may have a teammate who only showed up to one practice a week for the majority of the season, but suddenly starts coming to all the taper practices. Unfortunately, that training plan probably won’t work out in their favor. Taper is for the swimmers who have already done what they needed to do. It is the sweet cherry on top of a mound of hard work.

Mental Toughness

When people think of getting nervous before a race, they probably picture a swimmer behind the blocks preparing to dive in. In reality, many athletes are going to start getting nervous long before the day of the race. Championship season is accompanied by a lot of expectations: goals you’ve established for yourself, time standards from college coaches, and expectations from coaches or family. All are sources of anticipation for big races. It may seem overwhelming for a swimmer. Luckily, there are many strategies for handling the nerves that come with championships. Putting your mind at ease is just as important as resting your body because one cannot function without the other. Here are some links to follow if you need help with mindfulness during the next few months.

Watching Your Teammates

It should come as no surprise that seeing what your teammates do is a thrilling part of championships. Watching a close friend get a cut they’ve been working hard for is almost as exciting as getting one yourself. Screaming for a teammate in a close race gets your adrenaline rushing. Going to a meet all alone never compares to going as part of a group. You can give support, and maybe get a little in return.

The Work You Put In Starts to Show

You are the only person who knows precisely what you’ve done and sacrificed in and out of the pool. As championship season approaches, you should allow yourself to get excited to see what you can do. Your body will be rested and ready to go. It’s finally a chance to leave absolutely everything in the water. You have a few more weeks until the most exciting season in swimming rolls around, so make sure you make the most of it!

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.