An Untapered Swim Meet; A True Test of a Swimmer’s Mental Strength

A key to a swimmer’s success in competitions is to have a good taper.

Taper is the reduction of training intensity for a short period of time (1-2 weeks) prior to a major competition. This allows our body to recover from all the strains and fatigue we accumulate over the months of hard training.

With a good taper, we would be able to peak when the major meet comes.

San Beda Swim Meet


Photo: Quah Zheng Wen swimming Freestyle

Last Saturday, Coach Gary signed us up for an invitational meet with the San Beda School from Philippines. Basically, it was a fun meet whereby Team SAC (which was us) were against the San Beda Team (Philippines).

The day before the meet everyone thought that we were going to have a day of easy training to prepare ourselves for Saturday, but we were so wrong. Coach Gary gave us a lactate threshold set which made us super fatigue the next day.

Lactate Threshold

Lactate threshold is the exercise intensity at which lactate (more specifically, lactic acid) starts to accumulate in the blood stream. To put it simple, it’s a really really really tiring training session.


Photo: Coach Gary

“Guys, do note that I’m making you all fatigue today on purpose.

When it comes to a real competition, it isn’t always about who is in a better physical state, rather, what matters most is who has the strongest mental state. So right now I’m training you all to not only be tough physically, but to be mentally tough as well.

I believe that if you all are mentally tough, no amount of fatigue can stop you from doing well.” Wise words from Coach Gary indeed.

Last competition with training mate Kei Hyogo


Photo (Left to Right): Quah Zheng Wen, me, Kei Hyogo) 

During the day of the competition we all were required to sign up for 6 events in a day. To be honest that’s one of the most strenuous competition schedules I’ve ever raced in. A swimmer usually has about 4-6 events per competition, which is spread out into 6 days (1 event per day). The competition itself was a day, thus everyone had to swim 6 events in 1 day, which is practically impossible. But we all swam this competition with an opened mind, and since it was Kei’s last competition before he leaves, we decided to challenge each other so we signed up for the exact same events.

Race 1: 100m Freestyle

Right before the race Kei told me that winning wasn’t everything; we’re just here to have fun. We both were tired so I agreed to just have fun in this meet. After our first race, the 100m Freestyle, Kei out touched me by 0.5 seconds.

“THAT’S 1-0 PSJ, 5 MORE RACES TO GO.” Kei said confidently.

You don’t know how much that fired me up to swim harder. At that point in time, I know that the race was on. Things became really interesting after that. Swimmers will always be swimmers; you’ll never get rid of the competitiveness in us no matter what. I myself am a really competitive person in general, and I hate to lose.

Race 2: 100m Breastroke


“Kei, prepare to lose for this one.” I said before the second race, the 100m Breastroke.

“Bring it on.” Kei laughed.

Lucky for me I out touched Kei by 0.2 on this race.

“You like that Kei? That’s 1-1.”

“OHHHH that’s it man, you don’t know what you signed up for.”

Race 3: 200m Freestyle


Third race, the 200m Freestyle, I was leading at the 150m mark but Kei overtook me for the last 50m. At this point of time both of us were already so fatigue that we couldn’t really talk after the race. All we were focusing on was to remove as much lactate acid as we could to prepare for the next race.

Score check: Kei (2) – PSJ (1)

Race 4: 200m Individual Medley


Fourth race was the 200m Individual Medley.

Before the race Kei told me, “Hey PSJ, I guess we’re both really tired now, let’s just try out best to swim well.”

“Yeah, of course, we’re both going to try out best, but I’m going to win you for sure, that’s all.” That really fired Kei up to do better for that race too.

Right before the starting blocks we both look at Coach Gary and admitted that we’re tired. “Guys, your mind is tired, not your body. Don’t give me excuses because I’m not accepting any of it.” It’s constant mental training like these from Coach Gary that makes us the strong individuals we are today.

The same thing happened in the 200m Individual Medley. I was ahead at the 150m mark but Kei caught up with me at the last 50m. Lucky for me I managed to hold his race and won Kei by 0.3 seconds.

Score check: Kei (2) – PSJ (2)

Race 5 & 6: 50m Butterfly and Freestyle


Unfortunately Kei and I were in different heats for these 2 races therefore we didn’t compete head to head. As much as I don’t like to say this, Kei won me for both of these 50m races, so I guess the final score would be 4:2 to Kei.

“PSJ YOU SEE?? 4 – 2, 4 – 2!!!!!!!!!!! YEAHH.” Kei exclaimed.

“Hahaha, I’m sure we’ll race again.” I replied, congratulating him.

But like what Kei said from the start, it’s all about having fun, winning isn’t everything, and I’m pretty sure we all did have fun racing that day.

P.S Nah I was just joking, I really wanted to win Kei before he leaves for Yale, but oh well I guess this leaves a great memory for all of us.

Overall Experience


Overall I guess everyone had fun in this meet. We were all pushed to our limit but we managed to clock decent times in all of our races.

Personally, this meet has made me mentally tougher; I never knew what my body was capable of until I was being pushed to the limit.

I guess what we can take away from here is that however tough or impossible something may be, don’t be afraid to try, because you never know what your body is capable of. Don’t be afraid of failing, because setbacks will only make us stronger.

Just like how I thought I couldn’t complete 6 races in a day, but I did anyway. Yes, it was really tiring, but it made me a much stronger swimmer.

Special thanks to Coach Gary for giving us opportunities like these to race.

Also, special thanks to professional photographer Adrian Seetho for taking all these photos for us!


On a side note:

Find out how you can get an autographed cap by World Champion Christian Sprenger and do good at the same time, more information here:


For more updates LIKE and FOLLOW me on:

Facebook: swimPSJ

Twitter: @swimPSJ

Instagram: @swimPSJ


For Advertorials, Questions or Sponsorship: 



Hard Work Pays Off

Share this article:

Leave a Reply