My son is nearly 12 and has been competitive swimming since he was 7 he swims 4-5 sessions a week, mine and his concern is that he’s getting slower, his last couple of swim meets he swam slower than when he was 9 and as you can imagine it’s very disheartening for him. I’ve been thinking about giving him a break from the pool and just wanted to know your thoughts and expertise on this
There will be stages in every athletes career where they will plateau or regress as their body grows and develops. Hopefully that is the case with your son at the moment.
It may be worth talking to his coach to work together on some ideas on how your son could feel regenerated with his swimming. His coach may give him different things to think about when training and racing. One thing I have tried before at competitions with a swimmer who has not been improving in races is to instruct the swimmer not to look at the results board or ask for their time at the end of a swim and just focus on the process during a race without worrying about the outcome (time or place). This was hard for them to do but worked really well. A month later he was back swimming PBs (without even knowing it )
Another option that has worked well for me as a coach in the past is to plan a period in the year where a swimmer does no competitions and just focuses on improving their skills and fitness in training. Forget all together about PBs and just enjoy swimming and enjoy training and improving.
One last suggestion is to have a mini break after a major competition for 2 to 4 weeks to just let the body grow and develop without having to swim.
Hope this helps.