When taper time comes and you want to swim your fastest, it’s a good idea to sharpen your connection with the water with feel.
Why Do It:
When you’re trying your hardest, sometimes everything becomes too rigid to make contact. Hands that are too stiff, too tightly held, can slice through the water rather than make that connection.
How to Do It:
1. Start with some sculling, keeping the fingers held tightly together to create a tense, hard connection with the water.
2. Swim a little of your favorite stroke (freestyle here), with the fingers held that tightly.
3. Go back to sculling, but now allow the fingers to separate and sweep through the water.
4. Now a bit more swimming, with the fingers relaxed, feeling the water pass around them.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Be aware of what’s going on during taper time, from fingertips to toes. Skipping over the small bits to focus on the big aspects of your stroke can leave you without the connection you’re really going to need. During taper, alternate between slow, soft and thoughtful with some high-speed swimming. Smooth all the rough edges with feel.