Delta Aquatics strives to make sure our athletes are taking care of themselves both mentally and physically. This includes making sure that they're doing what they can to maintain good nutrition. One of the building blocks of great training is great nutrition. USA Swimming offers a superb nutrition guide and section on their website that we encourage everyone to view.
USA Swimming Training Website (Scroll down to access their Nutrition info)
Delta Aquatics Pre-Meet Nutrition 101
Fina's Nutrition Booklet for Aquatic Athletes
USOC Sports Nutrition - Recovery
TrueSport Nutrition Guide
Webinar: Athlete Nutrition (Recorded March 26, 2020)
The Athlete's Plates are a visual tool designed to help sports dietitians working with athletes and athletes themselves adjust their nutrition to variable training loads when following a periodized training and competition plan. The Athlete's Plates were developed by Meyer, NL with UCCS' Sport Nutrition Graduate Program in collaboration with the US Olympic Committee's (USOC) Food and Nutrition Services. The plates were subsequently reviewed by the USOC Sport Dietitians and scientifically tested (validated) against sport nutrition recommendations. The plates are published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
Click on each of the graphics below to be taken to a printable PDF file.
SWIMMING AND HEALTH
LACK OF SLEEP
Poor sleep the night before a competition or consistent bad night sleeps leading up to an event can cause fatigue. Sleep is important because it is the time when actual physical growth occurs and tissue recovery from daily activity takes place. The number of hours needed for rejuvenation is age-dependant.
AGE HOURS OF SLEEP NEEDED
9 yrs – 10 1/4
10-11 yrs - 9 3/4
12 yrs - 9 1/4
13+ yrs - 9
16-20 yrs - 8-9
PERFECT PRE-RACE MEAL
Stay within your normal eating habits. Don't get talked into or try anything unusual right before your event. Eat 2-4 hours before the race. Have your meal be high in carbs (100-200 grams) and low in fat and protein. These two are slow to digest and require too much additional blood to process.
Example: bagel & jam, banana, sport drink, cooked rice or baked potato.
For the athlete that finds they get too nervous to eat properly as their race draws close, they can consider buying sports nutrition drinks. Items like Boost or Ensure Lite fit the bill perfectly.
FOODS TO TAKE
• Fruit, dried fruit, juices (limited)
• Bagels, bread, low-fat muffins
• Watered down sport drinks, low-fat energy bars
If there are more than 2 hours between races, take some dairy items such as yogurt, low-fat cheese and crackers. Try limiting or avoiding these items during and immediately before competition:
• Fatty Foods - Fast foods, ice cream and fries
• High Protein Foods - Meats, dairy and protein supplements
Sweating and dehydration does occur in swim training and racing. There is a school of thought that an additional water loss factor in swimming may be due to the body being in a horizontal position. This may send extra signals to eliminate fluids. The early warning signs of dehydration are:
• Loss of appetite.
• Poor concentration.
• Flushed skin.
• Dark urine.
• Muscle cramps.
The best rule of thumb to follow for ideal hydration levels is to create 4-5 full bladders a day. Water is the cheapest and best source. Just remember to clean the water bottle daily if you use it regularly. Gatorade, PowerAde and all sport drinks are excellent sources of carbohydrates and fluids. Make sure to water down these drinks as they contain high amounts of sugar. Studies have shown that carbohydrate fuel does provide immediate contributions in practice. Avoid soda, Kool-aid and fruit juices during practice because they require additional digestive fluids be brought in from elsewhere in the body to break them down.