There are numerous ways to enhance swimming performance. Some are more active, like swimming, dry-land training, and yoga; while others are more passive, like nutrition, meditation, and rest. It’s natural for swimmers to place a higher value on the active part of swimming, but the passive part is equally important.
Take rest for example. Stanford researcher, Cheri D. Mah, found that when college-aged male basketball players slept 10 hours a night, performance in practice dramatically improved (i.e. free throw and 3-point shooting increased by an average of nine percent). Daytime naps had a similar effect on performance. When night shift air traffic controllers were given 40 minutes to nap, and slept an average of 19 minutes, they performed much better on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time.
As swimming workloads increase from year-to-year, the need for greater rest is paramount. The need to restore one’s body, through rest, is part of basic physiology. Human beings were not designed to expend energy continuously, but rather to balance work with rest.