How you feel throughout competition can give you the winning edge.  The main goals are to have consistent energy levels throughout the meet, feel energized before events and maximize recovery in between swims.

Nutritional Tips For Optimal Performance

  1. Eat the proper amounts of protein, fat and carbs at the right time
    1. Varies Per Individual
    2. 35-50% carbs, 20-35% protein, 20-35% healthy fat
    3. Consume enough calories (fuel)
    4. Spread calories throughout the WHOLE event
    5. Avoid eating the majority of calories at the end of competition - if you are "starving" after a meet you did not eat enough beforehand
    6. Hydrate at least 1/2 of your weight in fluid ounces per day
    7. Spread the fluid evenly throughout the competition
    8. Monitor hydration
  2. Eliminate any foods that have little or no nutritional value
  3. Try all food and fluid options first on a training day
  4. Intake at least 2300mg/sodium a day
  5. Log nutrition and fluid intake on or and make adjustments as needed

Competition Day Feeding Tips

What you eat everyday has the biggest impact on performance. An effective Pre-competition meal or snack can increase concentration, reduce injury susceptibility, maximize energy levels and optimize performance.

Pre-Competition Eating Tips

  • The meal or snack eaten closest to meet time should be the lightest meal of the day
  • Avoid high sugar foods.  They cause a sharp rise in blood sugar.  What goes up quickly, comes down just as fast.
  • Avoid trying new foods and high fiber foods on the day of a meet.  Experiment on the day of practice instead.
  • Favorite foods are acceptable in moderation
  • Always allow adequate time for food to digest
  • Keep the fat and protein to a minimum the closer you get to the event
  • If you have a nervous stomach on days of competition, consider having a liquid meal since they digest faster
  • Plan ahead so you'll have healthy foods on hand
  • When applying any nutritional advice, keep in mind that each individual's food tolerance may be different

Post Recovery Nutrition

The restoration of carbs and protein stores after strength training, intense workouts or activities lasting longer than 2 hours are important in order to minimize fatigue, improve recovery and reduce the occurrence of overtraining.

The optimal time to restore carbohydrates and protein back in the muscle is withing 30-45 minutes after activity.  Pending on the length of activity or competition you should then follow the post recovery snack with a meal in the next 90 minutes.


  • Aim for 30-60g of carbs within 30-45 minutes of activity ending
  • If you delay carb intake for too long after activity it will reduce muscle glycogen storage and impair recovery


  • Aim for 10-20g of protein within 30-45 minutes of activity ending
  • If you delay protein intake you slow down muscle recovery, repair, growth and maintenance


  • Consume 20-24 oz of fluid for every pound of body weight lost
  • If lost less than 1 lb rehydrate withing the hour.  If lost more, rehydrate remaining throughout the day
  • Remember if you are 1% dehydrated, performance can decline up to 12%

Post Recovery Snack Ideas

  • 12-20 ounces chocolate milk
  • Clif Builder Bar and Smart Water
  • 2/3 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup pineapple and unsweetened Tea
  • PB & Jelly sandwhich, 6 ounces Greek yogurt and water
  • Protein smoothie such as Odwalla or Naked


All information provided by Dawn Weatherwax, Registered Dietician, CSSD, LD, ATC, CSCS, MET I