Competition Guidance

For competitions, galas, open meets etc the following are recommended:

  • Club Swimming Hat
  • Club T-Shirt
  • Pool Shoes
  • Spare Goggles
  • Extra Drinks Bottle
  • Change of Costume
  • Extra Towels

Before
  • Make an effort to be on poolside in good time to start “Bloodflow” before warmup
  • It is extremely important to eat correctly to aid performance
  • Stay fully hydrated
  • Travel with the team where possible

During (Poolside)
  • Make an effort to support team-mates whilst competing
  • At team events (Arena, League galas etc) all swimmers should stay on poolside until the last race is finished
  • Swimmers must wear club kit at all times
  • Be prepared with food and fluid for the day
  • Don't waste energy chasing around - save it for the race!
  • Don't eat “junk food” or “heavy food” see the recommended list

After
  • A light snack should be consumed within 20 mins of finishing your race
  • Swimmers should take responsibility to get to the swim-down pool if available and start swimming ASAP to aid recovery
  • A full meal should be eaten ASAP after your last race and appropriate fluids consumed

Competition Nutrition

When preparing to compete at a swimming competition you need to pay careful attention to what you eat.
The day before
When competition time comes round, you’ll have plenty on your mind already. So the day before the event, eat meals and snacks high in complex carbohydrates. You need to keep those glycogen stores topped up.

  • Drink fluids little and often to stay properly hydrated.
    Eat little and often – every two to four hours to keep your blood sugar levels steady and fuel your muscles in preparation for your event.
  • Avoid big meals or over-eating in the evening – this will almost certainly make you feel uncomfortable and lethargic the next day.
  • Try to stick to familiar foods. Curries, spicy foods, baked beans and pulses (unless you are used to eating them) can cause gas and bloating, so avoid eating anything that may cause stomach discomfort the next day. It’s best to stick to foods that you are familiar and compatible with!
The morning of the event
Don’t swim on empty. Even if you feel nervous, make breakfast happen. Stick to easily digested foods – cereal with milk, porridge, banana with yoghurt, some fruit or toast with jam. If you’re really struggling, try liquid meals such as milkshakes, yoghurt drinks or a smoothie.

It’s a good idea to rehearse your competition meal routine in training so you know exactly what agrees with you.
Snacks between heats
Try to eat as soon as possible after your swim to give yourself as long as possible to recover if you have to swim again. High fat and simple sugar foods will do you no favours in competition – instead search out complex carbohydrates .
If you can’t stomach anything solid try sports drinks, flavoured milk or diluted juice that will help replenish your energy supplies and assist the recovery of aching muscles.

The list below offers great food options to be snacking on in and around training for a competition. Remember to keep eating healthy foods from your regular diet though, such as fresh vegetables, nuts and fruits.

Here are some more you can try:

  • Water, diluted fruit juice with a pinch of salt or a sports drink
  • Pasta salad
  • Plain sandwiches e.g. chicken, tuna, cheese with salad, banana, peanut butter
  • Bananas, grapes, apples, plums, pears
  • Dried fruit e.g. raisins, apricots, mango
  • Smoothies
  • Crackers and rice cakes with bananas and/or honey
  • Mini-pancakes, fruit buns
  • Cereal bars, fruit bars, sesame snaps
  • Yoghurt and yoghurt drinks
  • Small bags of unsalted nuts e.g. peanuts, cashews, almonds
  • Prepared vegetable crudités e.g. carrots, peppers, cucumber and celery

Cool-down after Competing

Swimming at high intensities, such as during racing and tough sets, can cause metabolites like inorganic phosphate, ADP, hydrogen ions, and of course, lactate to accumulate in the muscles. A build-up of these metabolites is associated with conditions that can compromise the next swimming performance.

Cool down (active recovery) facilitates the removal/ utilisation of lactate after a race or tough set. The intensity of the cool down influences how quickly this removal/utilisation of lactate occurs. Too high an intensity may produce additional lactate, while too low an intensity may not create enough circulation to remove/utilise the lactate any faster than standing around would (passive recovery).

Because sprinters tend to have and engage more fast-twitch muscle fibres than distance swimmers, they tend to produce larger amounts of lactate than distance swimmers. This also means that it tends to take longer for sprinters to remove/utilise accumulated lactate after races and other tough swims.

At competitions where a warm down pool is not available, swimmers should complete their active recovery on land.

This should include active stretching, light jogging, arm rotations and/or other land-based exercises that engage the same muscle groups used during the swim. Even on land, this type of activity increases the blood circulation and removes/utilises metabolites faster than passive recovery alone.

Selecting Events

As a general rule of thumb we recommend that each swimmer should enter a maximum of 2 events per session, not including relays. Multi event and distance swimmers would be able to enter more, but remember we are looking for quality swims.

The number of competitions should not exceed 12 per year. Ideally one competition should be entered per month. Please be guided by the list of targeted meets set by your squad coach. The coach is working to a plan that will get the best results so if in doubt ask!