Take notice of how the teams that you are interested are swimming at taper meets. Many Division I and II programs will taper their athletes twice during the season, once in December and once at conference / NCAA championships. Keep in mind that some coaches will only fully taper team members who have not already qualified for conference / NCAA championships or minimally rest their team if their conference does not have qualifying standards for their mid-year meet. Additionally, Division III schools sometimes have a shorter swimming season due to conference regulations limiting the length of their season. For that reason, Division III schools may only fully taper their athletes for their conference / NCAA championships at the end of their season.

You can easily find taper meets results for college teams by going to collegeswimming.com, searching for the team you want to look up, and going to results.

Things To Watch Out For

The questions then becomes, is the coach a just a recruiter of good athletes or are they developing their swimmers to make time improvements once they get to college? Once you determine when the teams you are interested in are tapering, notice the time drops of the majority of the team. There may be a few swimmers who are sick and not swimming well, however if the entire team is not dropping times from their seed times, that is very telling. Any team can have one bad meet. Determine if it is a pattern by checking previous years.

To research further, you can also look up a handful of the team’s athletes and see how they have progressed from high school through college. USA Swimming Individual Time Search can be helpful in this process. Having this information helps you have an understanding of what to expect when you get into the swim program at each school. This information can help you make informed decisions in the future.