It's Taper Time
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  01/28/2011

Rick Pratt

Swimming and Diving Head Coach


If you are a member of swimming and diving team at New Mexico State, we’re almost at the most exciting time of the year. It’s taper time! Tapering is the process of gradually decreasing the work load of our training to allow them to recover and get speed and extra endurance. We only do this once in our long season; for our peak meet, the WAC Championships in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 22-26.


This means stopping weights, cutting out morning practices, and focusing on details and final preparations. During this time they become more energetic, which leads to act a little more silly than normal. The feeling on deck is different than the rest of the year, it’s almost like Christmas; with a sense of something great is about to happen. As a staff we have been coaching hard and trying to teach the skills needed to push their bodies to the limit everyday. Now it’s almost time to just sit back and watch.


It has been a grueling month for the team, with doubles everyday until school started back. This past weekend we defeated Colorado State for the first time ever and it was an exciting event. Our senior class who where the first to defeat New Mexico in program history got to help with another program first and that was extremely fitting. We were down by 16 points with three events to go: 1-meter diving, the 400 individual medley and the 200-free relay. Junior Carly Smith won her event after finishing second on 3-meter earlier in the meet. Then in the 400 IM, freshman Tricia Kiss crushed the field by seven seconds and sophomore Beth Cate came from behind to touch out the other CSU swimmers to finish second.


With the lead heading into the last relay we had to win or finish second and third for the victory, if CSU finished first and third it would win the meet by only one point. The first three legs where neck and neck and sophomore Alex Fenton, from Rio Rancho, N.M., touched out the Rams’ anchor leg to win by two tenths of a second, the meet was over and it was a defining moment for our group. It felt great to win at the end like that and our performances at Colorado State said much about the character and toughness of our athletes.


Swimmers train 50,000-75,000 yards a week, that’s over 2,000 lengths of the pool each week, all season for one moment of the year. All of this, to get on the block and improve by only a fraction of a second. This might seem ridiculous, but in the end the more you sacrifice, the better it feels.   


Taper starts after our final dual meet of the season against UNM. That will be right here at home on Feb. 5 at noon at the NM State Natatorium. Admission is free and we’re hoping to defeat the Lobos for the fourth straight time in program history. UNM has a young squad with good distance swimmers and great diving. It will be a great meet to finish with for our seniors, and a special time to honor their accomplishments. I hope everyone will attempt to come support them. It doesn’t matter if you do not know swimming, everyone understands racing, and beating UNM is always important. Go Aggies!


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