Preparing For A Swim Meet

General Thoughts

  • Get a lot of practice during the few days before the meet. Try not to over-exert yourself! You need to save some of your energy, but keep in shape.
  • Go to bed as early as possible, you need a lot of sleep.
  • Rest;  If you have school, do not rush between classes. Take your time walking up and down stairs. Do not over-exert yourself, save it for the race.


  • For dinner the night before a meet, eat plenty of carbs and a small amount of protein.
  • Eat a light breakfast such as a “not too sugary” bowl of cereal and a banana, or an energy bar if you're swimming a morning event. Eat one or two hours before the event. Bananas, crackers, and plain toast with no butter in modest amounts are good food. The best foods are pasta, cereals, bagels, breads, fruits, and vegetables. These are out of the stomach in two hours, therefore should not be eaten more than three hours before swimming or they could override the energy in time for the race.
  • Drink plenty of liquids. Fruit juices and water are the BEST liquids. Many people think that Gatorade is good but it is made out of all sugar. Only drink this five minutes before an event. Drink plenty throughout the day and during the meet. Lack of liquids do affect your performance as well, even before you feel thirsty. 
  • Be sure you have water and healthy snacks at the meet

Pre-Race Routine:

  • You should stretch before your meet; stretch for about a 1/2 an hour at home, doing arm swings, and stretching those quads, especially for breaststrokers.
  • It's a good idea to elevate your feet for about an hour while you're resting. Lay on your back and put your feet up on a chair. Breathe slowly and deeply. Now is a good time to do visualization of your race strategies or relaxation exercises.
  • Especially during the summer, you need a ton of water. Four to six water bottles should get you through the meet. Stick to one bottle of Gatorade, about a sip before/after races. Too many Gatorades will give you a sugar high, which means "let down" just when you need the energy.
  • Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going in the sun.
  • Listen to some good pump up music. Plug in your MP3 player and listen to your favorite mix of tunes. Dance if needed but don't wear yourself out.