Are we tapering yet, coach?


Killington Aquatic Club swimmer Mattie Lou Peters, age 11, set her personal best times in all her events last weekend.

By Kim Peters, coach of the Killington Aquatic Club

KILLINGTON — As a competitive swim coach, I often get one of two questions in February: “Coach, when do we start our taper?” or “What exactly is a taper?” If you know a competitive swimmer or was one in the past, you would know what a taper is. Competitive swimming is a 10-month sport with normally only two months off, April and August. During that time, swimmers put in 4,000-8,000 yards daily (depending on age and level of swimming), strenuos dryland, and long weekend swim meets. But there is an end in sight… and it begins with tapering.

Tapering for a swimmer means 75 percent less yardage with much more sprinting and lots of rest. Killington Aquatic Club is no different. The team began long hours and hard work in October and is now hoping that a good taper will pay off at the Championships meets. 

“I have been coaching swimming for over 20 years. Tapering swimmers is very important part of the training process. I am always excited to watch the seconds just melt off at each individual event,” said Peters. “It’s funny, the swimmers are always so surprised to see the their times drop!  As a coach, I know they have put the time and effort in, and they just need to believe in themselves, their coach, and the training.”

This past weekend, Feb. 13-14, Killington Aquatic Club had seven qualifiers compete at Upper Valley Aquatic Center at the 2016 regional meet. And, yes, the taper worked. Not only did the swimmer’s times just melt away from their personal bests, but the swimmers were placing well in the meet as compared to their rivals. 

Ethan Courcelle, age 11 who attends Christ the King school, dropped over 30 seconds this weekend collectively! He finished first place in the 50-yard Freestyle and 50-year Butterfly events. Courcelle dropped over 5 seconds in his 50 freestyle. 

Ally Reed, age 12, dropped over 10 seconds in her 100-yard Individual Medley (IM) leaving her competition behind.

Mattie Lou Peters, age 11 who attends Rutland Town school, dropped her time in all seven of her events, including: 100 IM, 50 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free, 50 Backstroke, and 100 Backstroke.

Nova Wang, who attends Rutland High School, placed first in the 200-yard Breastroke.

Maria Hogencamp, age 10 who attends Rutland Town school and is a first year swimmer, qualified in four events and dropped over 10 seconds this past weekend.

Sophia Nisimblat, age 9 who attends Killington Elementary School, and Logan Knox, who attends Stockbridge Elementary School, both swam and dropped time in all their events, too.

Next weekend, the team hopes to have the same success with Nova Wang, Bailey Peters, Justine Peters, Heidi Alf, Sophia Nisimblat, and Ethan Courcelle all qualifying for the Qualifying Silver Meet in Andover, Mass., Feb. 20-21.

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