High Performance Nutrition 

A list of specific meals and snacks is located at the very bottom of the page.

Swimming is a demanding sport that requires a combination of strength, endurance, and mental focus. A well-balanced diet is essential for providing the energy and nutrients needed to support training and competition. Here are a few specific dietary considerations that may be useful for a swimmer:

  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are an important fuel source for endurance athletes, such as swimmers, as they provide energy for both training and competition. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are all good sources of carbohydrates.

  • Protein: Protein is important for building and repairing muscle tissue. Lean protein sources, such as fish, poultry, eggs, and low-fat dairy, can help support muscle recovery and growth. It's recommended to consume high-quality protein sources regularly and include a good balance of essential amino acids (found in protein).

  • Fluids: Staying hydrated is crucial for performance and recovery, especially in a sport such as swimming. It is crucial for swimmers to stay hydrated, as they can lose a significant amount of fluid through sweating, which can happen unnoticed due to being in water. To maintain proper hydration, swimmers should drink fluids, including electrolyte-rich beverages, before, during, and after training and competition..

  • Iron: Iron is an important nutrient for endurance athletes, as it helps transport oxygen to the muscles. Good sources of iron include lean red meat, chicken, fish, beans, lentils and fortified cereals.

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for bone health, muscle function and may also help with injury prevention. Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, egg yolks and mushrooms are good sources of vitamin D.

  • Antioxidants: The high training volume and physical strain of swimming may lead to increased oxidative stress. In other words, intense physical activity can use up the antioxidants in your body, which can make your muscles feel tired and sore. It can also make you more prone to inflammation. Eating a diet high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can help reduce inflammation, improve recovery and reduce injury risk

It's important to remember that everyone is different and individual needs may vary depending on factors such as age, gender, weight, training volume, and intensity, so it's always best to consult a healthcare provider or a sports dietitian to ensure that your diet is tailored to meet your specific needs as a swimmer.


Lean Proteins:

  • Fish: salmon, tilapia, catfish, tuna, cod, haddock, sole

  • Poultry: chicken, turkey, ground turkey breast, Cornish hen

  • Beef: sirloin, tenderloin, round, flank steak, eye round roast, top round roast

  • Deli meats: turkey, ham, roast beef (note: some deli meats may contain preservatives and added sodium)

  • Jerky

  • Eggs

  • Low-fat dairy: yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat milk

  • Nuts and seeds: peanuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds

  • Legumes: beans, lentils, peas

Whole Grains:

  • Whole grain bread

  • Whole wheat pasta

  • Brown rice

  • Quick oatmeal

  • Whole grain cereal

  • Sweet potatoes, Potatoes

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Green: broccoli, asparagus, peppers, spinach, lettuce, green beans, grapes, kiwi

  • Red: peppers, tomatoes, apples, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon

  • Blue/purple: grapes, plums, eggplant, blueberries, blackberries

  • Orange: oranges, carrots, grapefruit, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, mango

  • Yellow: squash, banana, pineapple, lemon

Fueling and Recovering:

  • Eat within 30 minutes of waking up

  • Get 50% of your calories in before you are finished with lunch

  • Light snack before training sessions

  • If dinner is early, have a light evening snack

  • Consistently drink fluids throughout the day

  • Sip water throughout practice

  • 10-20g protein with 30 minutes of training

  • Eat a well-balanced meal within 2 hours of training

  • Rehydrate


Drinking water is essential for maintaining proper hydration and keeping your body functioning properly.


However, it's important to remember that water alone may not be enough to replace the electrolytes lost through sweating during intense exercise.


Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium that help regulate fluid balance in the body and are essential for proper muscle and nerve function. When you sweat, you lose not only water but also electrolytes, which can lead to dehydration and cramping.

To maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance, it's important for swimmers to drink fluids that contain electrolytes before, during, and after exercise. Some good options include coconut water, milk, and oral rehydration solutions (It's also a good idea to consume foods that are high in electrolytes, such as fruits, vegetables, and yogurt).

Another way to replenish electrolytes during intense exercise is to use electrolyte tablets or gels that can be added to water, these are easy to carry and can be taken during the training session or competition.

It is important to note that many sports drinks contain high levels of added sugar, which can be detrimental to health if consumed in excess.


Some examples of sports drinks that have high sugar content include:

  • Gatorade: One 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade G2 contains 34 grams of sugar.

  • Powerade: One 20-ounce bottle of Powerade Mountain Berry Blast contains 34 grams of sugar.

  • Vitamin Water: One 20-ounce bottle of Vitamin Water XXX Acai-Blueberry-Pomegranate contains 32 grams of sugar.

*The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that children and adolescents limit their intake of added sugars to no more than 24 grams for girls and 36 grams for boys

It's important to be aware of the sugar content of sports drinks and other beverages. 

Here are some options for fluids that are good sources of electrolytes and do not include added sugar:

  • Coconut water

  • Oral rehydration solutions (such as Pedialyte)

  • Milk

  • Orange juice

  • Banana smoothies

  • Vegetable juice

  • Soup/Miso broth

  • Homemade electrolyte drinks (made with water, salt, and a small amount of natural sweetener such as honey or stevia)

Mixing water with sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade can make the drink less concentrated in terms of sugar, calories and also electrolytes. This can be an option if you want to consume less sugar and still get some electrolytes.

It's important to read the label of any sports drinks you may consume, as many contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and other ingredients that may not be beneficial for your health.

More Information

Further information on “Fueling and Recovering”

  • Eating within 30 minutes of waking up is a good idea, as it can help kickstart your metabolism and provide energy for the day ahead.

  • Getting 50% of your calories in before you finish lunch is also a good idea, as it can help ensure you have enough energy to power through the day and support your physical activity.

  • A light snack before training sessions is a good idea, as it can provide fuel for your workout and improve performance.

  • A light evening snack can also be beneficial, especially if you're training in the evening or if dinner is early.

  • Consistently drinking fluids throughout the day is essential for hydration and overall health.

  • Sipping water throughout practice is also a good idea, especially if you'll be training for an extended period.

  • Consuming 10-20g of protein within 30 minutes of training can help repair and rebuild muscle tissue.

  • Eating a well-balanced meal within 2 hours of training can help replenish energy stores, support recovery, and provide necessary nutrients.

  • Rehydrating is also a vital aspect of recovery, this will help to restore fluid balance and replenish electrolytes lost during physical activity


Sleep is an important aspect of both fueling and recovery for swimmers. Adequate sleep plays a vital role in maintaining physical and mental health, and can have a direct impact on athletic performance.

  • Fueling: Sleep is necessary for recharging your energy levels and helps to repair muscle tissue after physical activity. Not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your body's ability to recover and be ready for your next training session.

  • Recovery: Sleep is important for helping your body to repair and heal itself after physical activity. It's during sleep that the body works on repairing damaged muscles, reducing inflammation and helping you feel refreshed for the next day.

  • Performance: Sleep is also important for maintaining cognitive and physical performance, as it helps support memory, learning, and reaction time. Athletes who don't get enough sleep may have a harder time focusing, experience a decline in reaction time and decision-making abilities, and are at a higher risk for injuries.

It is recommended that adults aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, however, athletes may require more. Each person is unique and different, and it's important to listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel after different amounts of sleep. Additionally, developing good sleep habits such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding screens for an hour before bedtime, and creating a sleep-conducive environment may also help improve sleep quality.

  • A sleep-conducive environment is a place that is designed to promote good sleep. Some steps that can be taken to create a sleep-conducive environment include:

    • Make the room dark by using curtains or an eye mask to block out light.

    • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature between 60-67°F (15-19°C)

    • Block out noise using earplugs or a white noise machine.

    • Make sure you have comfortable beddings and mattress

    • Avoid electronic devices at least 1 hour before bedtime.

      • With homework and other activities including electronics, it is almost impossible to avoid screens for an hour before bed... unless you are reading a real book, a kindle or staring at the wall

      • Some studies have shown that wearing blue light glasses before sleep can improve sleep quality, reduce insomnia and improve daytime alertness.

      • Electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets and computers produce blue light. Blue light in the evening can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. By wearing blue light glasses before bedtime, it may help to reduce the amount of blue light that enters the eyes, which can help to promote better sleep.

Creating a comfortable environment that promotes sleep can help you fall asleep more easily and improve the quality of your sleep. Everyone is different, so it's important to experiment with different strategies and find what works best for you.

It is important to note that the recommendations can vary depending on one's level of physical activity, physical attributes, and overall health, speaking with a healthcare provider or sports dietitian is recommended to have personalized advice.

Further information on "Lean Proteins" 

  • Fish: salmon, tilapia, catfish, and tuna are all good lean protein options, but other types of fish such as cod, haddock, and sole are also lean protein sources.

  • Poultry: In addition to chicken and turkey, other lean poultry options include Cornish hen and ground turkey breast.

  • Beef: Sirloin, tenderloin, and round are all lean cuts of beef, but other cuts such as flank steak, eye round roast, and top round roast are also lean options.

  • Deli Meats: Turkey, ham, and roast beef are lean deli meat options, but one should be aware that processed deli meats often contain preservatives and added sodium, which may not be ideal for those watching their sodium intake.

  • Jerky can be considered as lean protein source, but the leanness will vary depending on the type of meat used and how it is prepared.

  • Eggs are a great source of lean protein, and it's one of the most versatile protein sources in cooking.

  • Nuts and seeds: Peanuts, almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds are all good sources of lean protein, but other nuts like walnuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts also contain protein.

    • Be mindful of nut allergies

  • Legumes like beans, lentils, and peas are excellent sources of lean protein as well.

It's important to keep in mind that the definition of "lean" protein can vary depending on the context, but generally speaking, it refers to a protein source that is low in fat and saturated fat. But overall, it is recommended to consume a variety of protein sources for optimal health and nutrition, and speak with a healthcare provider or a dietitian for personalized advice.


Further information on "Whole Grains" 

  • Whole grain bread, pasta, brown rice, quick oatmeal, and whole grain cereal are all good options for incorporating whole grains into your diet. They are all rich in nutrients, and also provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as carbohydrates which are an important source of energy.

  • Sweet potatoes and potatoes are not whole grains, they are actually considered as starchy vegetables and are a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

It's important to note that when it comes to whole grains, it's best to choose products that list a whole grain as the first ingredient and avoid products that have added sugars or syrups. Whole grains can include, oats, quinoa, bulgur, barley, farro, and many more.It's recommended to include a variety of whole grains in your diet for maximum health benefits. Additionally, speaking with a healthcare provider or a dietitian can help you determine the best whole grains that fit your dietary needs and personal taste preferences.

Further information on "Fruits and Vegetables" 

It's worth noting that it's not necessary to limit yourself to just the colors listed. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables from all color groups is encouraged. It's also a great idea to focus on consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to gain the full benefits of their different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

With regards to portion size, it's important to keep in mind that individual needs and caloric requirements will vary. As a general guideline, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults consume at least 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily. 1 cup of fruit is equivalent to: 1 medium-size fruit, 1/2 cup of dried fruit, or 1 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit. While 1 cup of vegetable is equivalent to: 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables, 1 cup of vegetable juice, or 2 cups of leafy greens.

It's also important to note that it's best to consume most of your fruits and vegetables in their whole form, as they have more nutrients and fiber than juice or pureed form. Additionally, one should be mindful of how the fruits and vegetables are prepared, as some preparation methods may add unwanted fats or sugars. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a dietitian can help you determine the appropriate portion size and the best choices to meet your specific dietary needs and goals.


*All information was provided by OpenAIChatGPT