Why are Mid-Season Meets so Important?

Drink water
Photo Courtesy: Jeremy Crawford

By Devin Javens, Swimming World College Intern. 

Mid-season invitationals are quickly approaching, and college swimmers throughout the country are gearing up for a chance to finally suit up, taper down and swim fast. These meets allow swimmers to throw down some fast times and give teams a look at what to expect come championship season. Mid-season invitationals are a great learning tool for swimmers and coaches to analyze races and see what went wrong, what went right, and what adjustments need to be made. Not only that, but it’s a great way to see all the work you’ve done so far in the season potentially pay off.

Jun 20, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Natalie Coughlin (USA) starts of her prelim heat of the Women 50M Freestyle during the morning session of Day3 at the George F. Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara, Calif. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Robert Stanton/USA Today Sports Images

First and foremost, going fast is fun; a mid-season meet is your chance to see just how fast you can go. After months of hard training and taper finally here, now is the time to take advantage of all of the hard effort that you’ve put into each practice. You’ve put in the work thus far – now it’s time to just race.

It’s not only a chance to go fast but also a nice marker of the mid-point of the college swimming season, a stepping stone towards championship season, and a nice mental break from grueling months of hard training. So make sure to not only swim fast but also have fun and enjoy this exciting time!

One of the reasons mid-season meets are so important is that it’s preparation for championship season. They are a great identifier for seeing if you are mentally and physically ready for those big meets. We all know the prep that all swimmers go through for these… taper, the insanely long shaving parties, visualization, suiting up, and so much more. This dry-run for championships season can point out what you need to fix and allows you to perfect every single thing leading up to your race, during it and after.

Are you psyching yourself out because of the competition? Are you able to effectively visualize your race? Do you have a race strategy? Ask yourself important questions like these and pay attention to how you mentally prepare for your race and during it to maximize your ability for peak performance.


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Unlike prior dual meets, mid-season invitationals span the course of multiple days. Your ability to turn around after one day of swimming and come in refreshed and ready for another day of racing is crucial. These meets allow your body and mind to get used to meet formats similar to the ones you’ll likely see during championship season, and this opportunity gives you the chance to work out the specifics. You’re able to see how much warm up and cool down you need to do to best prepare for your next race, adjust to the prelims/finals double, and perform under high pressure situations.

Not only do mid-season invitationals give us a chance to evaluate our mental and physical preparation but also our performance capabilities. It’s important to use this opportunity as a tool to perfect each race come championship season. Use your time as a starting point for the second half of the season. What does this time tell you? Did you meet your goal time? Great! If not, why was that? Was the issue your training, technique, race execution, or something else?

Ultimately, whether or not you met your goal time, the goal is to go even faster at the end of the season. So think of your starts, walls, and race strategy. What do you need to change or make better? How was your technique? To make each race as perfect as possible come the end of season, evaluate every piece of your swim and find ways to improve.

Event 01 - Men's 500 Free

Photo Courtesy: Ryan Coleman

With championship season always in mind, notice significant factors that affect your performance. Note how you deal with mental and physical preparation and make sure to evaluate your performance. Using these as learning tools to improve your races for the end of season are sure ways of meeting your goals come championship season. Mid-season meets are exciting, so enjoy some fast swimming and have fun!

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

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