Loy Norrix Boys’ Swim Team Prepares for Battle at Conference

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Senior Brian Lindahl swims the breaststroke in warm up before a meet. This will be Lindahl's final conference of his high school career. Photo by Kim Feenstra

With less than two weeks left before the SMAC East Division Swimming and Diving Conference, the Loy Norrix boys swim team goes into taper. Taper is a commonly used swim term used to describe the time when athletes cut back on workouts to rest and refuel physically and prepare and prepare and focus mentally.

A swim taper is the time before a big competition in which yardage in practice is cut by half the first week and then cut in half again. Practices are typically cut short, with the last half hour to hour spent stretching or working on specifics like starts, turns, and finishes. The purpose is to repair broken down muscles (this process is heightened during “Hell Week,” the week prior to taper when the swimmer increases yardage and has two practices daily) and train the body to go faster for a certain race yardage (be able to sprint all out for an event.)

Conference will be held February 24th and 25th at Battle Creek Lakeview High School. In addition to Lakeview, Loy Norrix will also face off against Battle Creek Central, Battle Creek Harper Creek, Marsahll, and Sturgis.

Coach Paul Mahar hopes to come out of Conference with good times and fast swims.

“We’re definitely looking at swimming well at the Conference meet. . . Many of the guys have goals of making finals and moving on to the State meet,” said Mahar.

The Division 2 State meet is the next level after Conference and includes teams from both the East and West swim divisions from around Michigan. To swim at the State meet, one must meet qualifying times. This is the ultimate goal for many swimmers throughout their season.

“Well, ultimate goal at Conference would be to make State in the 100 fly [butterfly] and the relays too,” said Loy Norrix senior Colin Overhiser.

Overhiser has been swimming all four years and is seeing many improvements in his times. This year is his last chance to make State.

“Now that it’s senior year, this is my last chance to make it to State or go a best time, so it matters more to me. . . I know what to expect now and specifically what I need to do to do my best,” added Overhiser.

Having a good taper is what Overhiser needs to do to achieve his best performance at Conference. A positive taper will increase a swimmer’s chance of swimming fast at Conference and ultimately making a State qualifying time.

Junior Cody Gall and Overhiser both agree that rest is important. Gall also advises proper nutrition.

“Make sure you eat before and after practice, complex carbs, high protein, healthy fats,” said Gall.

This will be Gall’s second year swimming. Last year, Gall placed in the top six in the 100 breaststroke and will swim the event this year at Conference and hopes to make State. He feels very prepared for these swims.

“I worked a lot harder this season than last season,” said Gall.

As a final piece of advice for a good taper from both Overhiser and Gall highlights the importance of mental preparation.

“Now is not the time to slack off. . . Take it seriously, but have fun with it,” said Overhiser.

“Be mentally aware. Prepare yourself. Soldiers don’t just go into battle unprepared, and if they do, they get shot,” said Gall.