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Monday, May 13, 2013

Tapering For A Shot At The World Championships

Hundreds of ambitious teenagers and young adults are descending upon Castaic Lake near Santa Clarita, California to participate in the 2013 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships and Fran Crippen Sunset Mile.

A few of them are odds-on favorites to swim in the lead pack, a handful of others have a realistic chance to earn a spot to represent the USA at the 2013 FINA World Championships, and all of them have long-term dreams to earn the right to wear the red, white and blue of their country in future international competitions.

As the level of athleticism rises, and the speed gets faster, the swimmers must prepare themselves to keep up with the competition. This means swimming faster in workouts, getting physically stronger, and tactically smarter. And proper preparation also requires an optimal taper.

"Taper is music to most swimmers’ ears," smiled Ashley Twichell who is tapering herself for the 5 km and 10 km races in Castaic Lake this coming weekend. "After logging hours upon hours, and miles upon miles, in the pool on a daily basis, it is no surprise we look forward to taper with great eagerness."

A taper is a reduction in the amount of time and distance swum by swimmers in preparation for a major competition or solo swim. However, a taper can mean different things to different coaches and swimmers, depending on their age, degree of competitiveness, goals, and amount of mid-season training. As with many things in the open water, there is less of a right way or wrong way to taper; rather, it is what works best for each individual.

In the pool, it is common for sprinters to taper more than distance swimmers. Similarly, it is more common for older individuals to rest more than a younger athlete, and for a 5K swimmer to taper for a longer period than a channel swimmer. Those who swim longer distances need to maintain their aerobic base more. In addition, men typically taper more than women, since they generally have more muscle mass that needs to be rested and given time to recover. With experience and experimentation, the length and intensity of a taper is often altered, modified and adapted by every swimmer.

At open water competitions, athletes do different things in the days leading up to the race or solo swim. While some athletes continue to swim a decent amount of yardage, others significantly back off. Some will work on speed, others will work on techniques, others will primarily rest, sleep and eat. But in nearly every case, the athlete’s total distance will decrease in comparison to their usual workload. The amount of time before the race that the athlete chooses to start to come down in yardage will vary, but it is typically anywhere from 1-3 weeks.

Another common aspect of taper found among the majority of competitive open water swimmers is a renewed focus on speed work. While in season, many endurance athletes will tend to emphasize volume to develop an extremely strong aerobic base. However, as an important race draws near, it is crucial for athletes to give their bodies and muscles an opportunity to recover, and become more fine-tuned for speed. This speed is essential for a strong finish in a race. In addition, with less distance swum in practice, athletes have more time to focus on technical aspects of racing, including starts, turns, finishes, pacing, navigation, positioning, feeding, and a navigational understanding on the race course or solo crossing.

A standard taper is gradual over 1-4 weeks. However, a drop taper is short and sweet. It refers to the method of taper that a swimmer uses when they want to perform well in the meet and/or race, but it will not disrupt their long-term training too much. The athlete will continue to train normally until two or three days before the event, and then literally drop their yardage to a dramatic degree in preparation.

The goal is to allow muscles to have some time to recover and rebuild, augmented by a somewhat refreshed feeling - both physically and mentally - for the race. Like everything else, a drop taper can be very individualized. It may work great for some swimmers, and actually have a negative effect on others.

For many athletes, taper can be just as much mental as it is physical. Many athletes either worry that they are not tapering enough, or tapering too much. However, if the athletes are able to put trust in their coaches, themselves, and the work they have done all season long, chances are they will perform well.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac



An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

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Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/preview-open-water-swimming-almanac


The trends are very clear.
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