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Tapering swimming TrainingThe tapering strategy used by many swimmers to opti­mize competition performance has been defined as "a progressive non-linear reduction of the training load during a variable period of time, in an attempt to reduce the physiological and psychological stress of daily training and optimize sports performance" (Mujika & Padilla 2000). The aim of the taper be­fore the main competitions of the season is to elicit substantial improvements in performance. These per­formance gains have been variously attributed to in­creased levels of muscular force and power (Trappe et al. 2000), and improvements in neuromuscular, hematological, and hormonal function, and/or the psychological status of the swimmer (Mujika & Padilla 2000).

Recovery or off-season

The main features of this phase are maintaining an active approach with at least three low- to moderate­intensity aerobic swims completed each week, special­ized programs to target weaknesses in individual fit­ness profiles, and dietary control to maintain body composition.

swim4There are few studies that have directly addressed the issue of the most effective program for swimmers to follow during the off-season or in short breaks from training and competition.

There is, how­ever, a significant body of literature that details the Lime course of training adaptations with training and loss of fitness during detraining (Counsilman & Coun­silman 1991; Mujika & Padilla 2000). A typical strategy for the off-season involves a marked 50-70% reduction in the frequency, volume, and intensity of training.

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