For the past 32 seasons, Indiana Swimming Hall of Fame coach Dave Boggs has administered the same process of resting for the postseason.
While the sectional at Floyd Central starts Thursday, the Seymour boys swimming and diving team has prepared for the past four weeks in a phase known as tapering.
Tapering, a form of resting while still working out in the pool, allows the athletes’ muscle fibers to heal from the grueling practices and meets that take place in the regular season.
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The aim is to have swimmers in top-shape for championship meets, with no tiredness or injury.
“We have four phases of our season: early season, mid-season, late-season and taper,” Boggs said. “Taper is basically backing off how much you (swim) and how hard you do it to allow for your times to spike at the end of the season. We’ve been extremely successful at that over the years.
“When in doubt, we rest. At this time of year, the training is over with. If they feel bad, they rest. They go as they feel, with variable sets, in the last phase. If they feel good, we encourage to go harder. If it’s bad, they lay off. It allows them to customize their taper. We trust their judgement.”
Boggs got his plan from former Indiana University and Olympic coach James “Doc” Counsilman.
“The boys’ taper is an old taper from Doc,” Boggs said. “(Counsilman) was very simplistic with how he did things. I’ve given the taper to other coaches, in Counsilman’s own handwriting. He’s the Bobby Knight of swimming.”
With multiple sectional, regional (diving), state champions and Olympians, Boggs has stuck to his training regimen.
“We always tell them that the taper starts day one,” Boggs said. “If they do the work they will have success at the end of the year because we will rest them. A lot of coaches don’t (feel the need) to rest. We’ve had kids at all levels, from our sectional kids to guys who went to the Olympians have success with the taper.”
Seymour senior Caleb O’Brien, who has gone through the tapering process for four years, likes that the taper allows him to focus on his specific events.
“It lets you focus on your event instead of having everyone swim the same thing,” O’Brien, a co-captain, said. “We’re not a cookie cutter team. He has us do what we individually think we need to do.
“We decrease on yardage. Sometimes, we increase on intensity but there will be more rest in between them. Usually, (in the regular season) it’s a lot of distance really fast.”
Owls senior, and co-captain, Noah Bullard said that many members of the team will drop five or six seconds thanks to the taper come sectional.
“With this program, there is a difference,” Bullard said. “You can tell what schools don’t taper as well at sectionals. With our guys, we are dropping five or six seconds in events. It catches other teams off guard. It’s a nice advantage to have.”
Bullard said that the taper allows the swimmers to focus on fine-tuning.
“You spend more time working on the little things,” he said. “We race a lot more in practice — shorter sets with faster speeds. One of the staples of our taper is that we do descending sets. So, we will do a set of four 50’s. The last 50 you get geared up.”
The sectional preliminaries commence Thursday and the championship races will start 1 p.m. Saturday.