MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets swimmers have used all season to prepare for the postseason, which kicks off Saturday at the Kenyon Athletic Center.
“This year, we are utilizing the sectional, district and state, three weeks in a row, as our focal point,” Mount Vernon swimming coach Hannah Saiz said. “All of the season leading up to it is getting ready to do well at the meets that matter. You get one shot. If you do great, fantastic, you get to move on to the next shot.”
One thing that the Jackets are hoping will give them an edge this weekend, is the teams’ tech suit, which is only worn for postseason competitions. Tech suits are used for the top races of the year and they are not used specifically to drop time, although that is sometimes a side-effect, but to compress the muscles.
“The suit itself doesn’t necessarily force extra speed out of anybody, it’s that the way a tech suit interacts with the musculature, it’s designed to compress the muscles and reduce excessive muscle vibration,” Saiz said. “In doing so, it enables your body to recover faster and it gives your muscles less wiggle room, figuratively and literally.”
The Jackets are likely not the only team that will wear tech suits at sectionals. A majority of the swimmers will wear the advanced suits for the races, but they will warm up in their normal dual meet suit. Tech suits do not have the durability of a normal suit, so the top suits are saved for the top races.
“The racing suits that we compete in at championship meets don’t deal very well with chlorine,” Saiz said. “A lot of times, you will see at a championship meet or at Olympic trials or at the Olympics themselves, people will warm up in a standard dual meet suit. … They’ll warm up in their practice suit, and then they will put on a tech suit exclusively to race.”
Because of the limited uses of a tech suit, they are also sidelined during the rest of the regular season because again, the whole season is training for the postseason.
“The general guidance for when to wear a tech suit is when does it matter,” Saiz said. “When it matters the most for Mount Vernon athletes to be at their best is when they’re trying to qualify for something. … Sectionals, if you swim fast, you qualify for districts. At districts, if you swim fast, you can qualify for state. Those are the meets that are important because if you don’t do well there, you’re season is over.”
Although the suits may drop times across the board Saturday at sectionals in Gambier, Saiz emphasized that the suits do not do the swimming for the athletes, and that it is a season’s effort that will play a big part in the Jackets climbing the podium.
“There’s the training, there’s the racing, practicing racing, getting to know how to race the end season,” Saiz said. “There’s the big meets — the championship meets — at the end of the season. Then there’s the suits that we stick on people because they look like superheroes.”