Most athletes train to be their best for a certain event—but does “peaking” work? Brian MacKenzie and Anthony Roberts don’t think so.
One of my most vivid high-school memories was swimming at Belmont Plaza each year for CIF, although only one of my top performances came at this meet. Most of the people I swam with (20-plus kids went to CIF each year from my school alone) rarely set a personal record (PR) or even a season-best (SB). And those who did turn in their best performances of the year often weren’t strong swimmers in general. This year, two kids from Wilson High School set personal bests and school records—but didn’t win a single race.
Most of us, kids to coaches, look at this race as the premier competition of the season, yet our times didn’t reflect that. Although plenty of folks I swam with and plenty of kids from other teams would hit PRs at the final meets of the season, records were so few and far between that some questions on peaking need to be asked.