With the SSV and GSV Swim Championships now completed, bringing the schoolgirl swimming season to a close in Victoria and heralding the end of weeks and months of solid training, it’s important to think about what you have achieved over this time and the benefits that swim training has provided.
To put it very simply, to swim well you need to have efficient and effective stroke mechanics, you need to be aerobically fit, and if you plan on being competitively fast, you need to be strong and powerful. The time you have invested in your swimming over the past few months has developed these key characteristics. No doubt individual swim times and performances indicate that those who started their preparation earlier will have made greater gains.
Unfortunately, training adaptations are reversible! When training stops, there is a prompt reversal of the adaptations that occurred during the training period. The time course of the various changes do differ. For example, whole body aerobic capacity is reasonably well maintained for some time, however specific muscle adaptations can be lost at an alarming rate – about 50% within 1-2 weeks of de-training (Maughan and Gleeson, 2004)!
It’s important to think about what you have achieved over this time and the benefits that swim training has provided.
For swimmers, the added loss of skill acquisition is highlighted.
For the seasonal GSV and SSV swimmers, we encourage you to commit to maintaining a level of swim training over the winter and spring sporting seasons. Not only to retain a basis of swim conditioning and “feel” of the water, but importantly to support your physical development for your in-season winter sports. You can think of this as performing a very effective and beneficial cross-training function that is non-weight bearing and low impact.
We encourage all swimmers to take the time to speak to Head Swim Coach Luke Gavin about your swimming aspirations, whether they be performance-based, fitness, fun or recovery. He will be able to help you determine when and how you can maintain a regular swim training routine – even if it’s just once a week – and how to best schedule this to support your in-season sports, and your training commitments and workloads.
- Maughan, R and Gleeson, M. (2004) The biochemical basis of sports performance. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK.