2011 State Championships Information - Log onto www.nmact.org for all information. The schedule of events can be found at: Shaving and Tapering: The shaving of legs is something that all (boys and girls) swimmers do at the end of the season. It serves several purposes: Shaving down may be new to those of you coming from summer league, but in higher levels of competitive swimming it has been done for decades. The basic idea is this: by shaving your body you are doing two things. First, you are removing the hair from your body and therefore reducing overall drag as you swim at state. Secondly, you are also removing the top, or dead, layer of skin off of your body, exposing millions of nerve endings to the water. This creates a heightened feel for the water and awareness of body position. Many swimmers say they feel “slippery”, “slimy”, or “electric” after shaving down. While most swimmers will admit some of the benefits are mental, all will say that there is certainly a physical benefit as well.
In order to create this benefit, it is necessary to stop shaving for a while in order to build up that layer of skin and sensitize those nerve endings. This is why I have asked the girls to stop shaving their legs until the end of the season. In college and national/international levels, it is very common to see men stop all hair cutting all together until the big meet. By the end of the season they have long hair and big bushy beards. Then the day before the meet they take a razor to all of it and show up bald, with not a hair to be found on their body. Now for those that are new to this level of swimming this may seem a bit crazy and extreme, for those experienced in the sport understand it and find it not that big of a deal.
Tapering: Resting before state!! By training all year very hard, the athletes are in great condition to swim fast. But reducing the yardage and the effort for two to three weeks before state allows the body to recover from the hard training without losing conditioning. The fastest swims come at the end of a taper.