How to Prepare to Go Swimming

Опубликовал Admin
22-11-2020, 14:20
Getting ready to swim, whether for fun or for a race, isn't difficult. But the better prepared you are the more enjoyable the experience will be, as it only takes a few simple steps to get prepared to go swimming.

Preparing to Swim

  1. Check the weather, planning accordingly. If you know it is going to be hot and sunny, make sure you have sunscreen and water. If there is a chance of thunderstorms later on you can still go swimming. However, make sure you have a plan for inclement weather, such as shelter to get under, and that everyone you're with knows where to meet if you hear thunder.
  2. Avoid large meals within an hour of swimming. The dreaded swimmer's cramp is caused when your body is both trying to digest food and exert itself to stay afloat. Avoid this by avoiding large meals, particularly greasy, fatty foods like hamburgers, cheese, etc. that take a long time to digest.
    • This doesn't mean you need to swim hungry. Rather, try to graze and eat lightly over time instead of loading up on one big meal. For example, eat a banana. It gives you extra potassium and energy!
  3. Apply 30 SPF sunscreen 15-20 minutes before heading out, even if it is cloudy. UV radiation still penetrates cloud cover, so don't assume you're fine just because the sun isn't shining. Make sure you are using a waterproof "sport" sunscreen that won't wash off as soon as you get in the water. Remember to NOT put any kind of moisturizer before swimming. Your swim cap and goggles can easily fall off.
    • While swimming, reapply sunscreen every 30 minutes to prevent burning.
  4. Pack up a towel, swimsuit, and waterproof shoes. If you're going to change at the pool or beach, you should consider an extra shirt or pair of underwear as well, in case your dry clothes accidentally get wet. If you want goggles, be sure to pack them as well.
  5. Bring water to stay hydrated. It doesn't matter where you're swimming, it is always a good idea to have drinkable water on hand. Dehydration causes exhaustion, grumpiness, and, when left untreated, serious health issues. It seems obvious, but make sure you have drinkable water before you go into the water.
    • At the very least, aim to drink 16oz or more of water in the hour leading up to your swim.
    • 1 water bottle per person should be good for 1-2 hours of activity.
  6. Stuff phones, electronics, and valuables in resealable plastic bags. To be safest as you pack, just assume that everything you bring is going to get wet. If you are taking things like your mobile phone that can't get wet, take them in a separate small bag, pockets of your clothes or a waterproof bag which you can put in your swimming bag.
  7. Protect your hair from salt or chlorine with watered-down conditioner. Your hair is sponge, absorbing moisture when you're in the water. To prevent absorbing salt water or chlorine, however, you can "pre-load" your hair follicles with conditioner. To do so, simply mix up your conditioner with some water in a spray bottle, then coat your hair right before getting into the pool or ocean. You hair should come out noticeably cleaner.

Preparing for Competitive Swimming

  1. Focus on perfecting your stroke in your last practices, not pushing yourself. Focus on yourself. Many people will look at how other people in different lanes are doing, which will drag your speed down by a few seconds. More likely than not, you've already been tapering down your workouts, having easier practices to save energy for the meet. But these workouts are useless if you don't take them seriously. The week before a meet is about getting your stroke absolutely perfect, not just relaxing.
    • Even though you're doing shorter workouts, you should still give each one of them your best effort.
    • Now is not the time to radically reform your stroke, but it is the time to "sharpen your blades," working on a consistent, efficient swimming motion.
  2. Relax the day before the meet, resting and getting your sleep. The day before the meet is not the day to go on a 5-mile hike in the sun with your buddies. It is a day to sit back, eat healthy food, and let your body relax. Make sure you get to bed at a decent hour and don't push yourself more than necessary.
    • Some light stretching is a good way to stay loose and limber for the race the next day.
    • Some swimmers like a very light run or swim to stay loose. If you want a short workout, take it slow, stretching both before and afterward.
  3. Pack your essentials the night before, double checking everything in the morning. There is no worse feeling than showing up at the meet without your suit, so give yourself 24 hours to catch anything you missed while packing. Another strategy is to always keep a spare set of goggles, trunks, and a water bottle in your bag at all times, ensuring you're prepared in a moment's notice.
    • If you love music to get pumped up, charge your phone/music player the night before and make sure you have headphones.
  4. Eat a simple but complete meal 2-3 hours before racing. Now is not the time to mix up your routine -- if you have a favorite pre-race meal or something you always have before practices, then stick to the routine that works for you. Avoid greasy, fatty, or overly salty/sweet foods and stick to simple, natural ingredients. If you're looking for new meal options, you can mix and match the following categories of foods, aiming to eat well but not completely fill up:
    • Lean Proteins: Tuna, hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, hummus, peanut butter, turkey slices
    • Simple Carbohydrates: Bread, pasta, pretzels, oatmeal, rice, quinoa (also high in protein), couscous. Avoid high-fiber carbohydrates -- they take a long time to digest.
    • Fruits/Vegetables: Bananas, avocados, tomatoes, apples, oranges, berries, greens
  5. Double-check the time you need to arrive as well as your plans to get there. Some swim meets have "positive check in," which means you physically must sign your initials to get a lane assignment. Call your coach and check in what time you need to arrive for warm-ups and check-in, then make sure your plans to get there are intact.
    • The sooner you know what time you need to arrive, the easier it will be to plan your meals and warm-up.
  6. Set personal goals for the meet. Don't just show up and assume that whatever happens will happen. Champions and top swimmers know that it is much easier to reach a goal if you actually know what it is, so take some time to set a good benchmark for your races.
    • Your goal doesn't have to be coming in first. It may be lowering your splits, perfecting your stroke, or qualifying for the next set of races.
  7. Warm up as if you're already in the race. This doesn't mean swimming as fast as you can in the warm-up pool, it means having a racer's mentality the minute your toe is in the water. Don't try to just "turn on" once the gun goes off. No matter what your warm-up routine, use this time to get mentally ready as well as physically.
    • Focus on your form, getting into a habit of a nice, smooth stroke from the very beginning.
    • Tailor your warm-up to your events. If you're doing the backstroke, be sure to practice with some backstroke.
    • Think of your warm-up routine before you arrive and consider writing it down. You want to be on auto-pilot as you get ready for the race.
  8. Remained focused on your own performance and routine, not other swimmers. One of the toughest mental battles before a race is staying focused. But the more prepared you are mentally the better you'll be prepared physically. In your mind, imagine your entire routine, from warming up to getting in the pool and swimming. Envision yourself winning, but also envision potential problems and your solutions.
    • A good way to stay focused is to commit all your mental energy to the race, and all it's potential outcomes, so you're prepared to handle anything.


  • For girls, it is a good idea to wet your hair with water first before letting it hit chlorine. this causes your hair to not soak up as much chlorine and damage the hair.
  • Eat a good meal one full hour before you go swimming.
  • If you are going to do very hard swimming or swimming for a long time, bring a sports drink like power aid or make some juice and put it in a bottle. Take it with you to the side of the pool and take sips between lengths.
  • Bring a plastic bag large enough to hold your wet swimsuit if you plan on changing clothes before you leave the pool or beach. This way, your clothes and belongings will stay dry.
  • Something good to note is the less clothing you have, the less drag you will get. If you are going competitive, wearing a swim shirt could really slow you down. Avoiding wearing shirts of any kind while swimming will boost your chances of success.
  • Bring a spare cap so that if one gets lost or breaks you'll have another one. It's better to be safe than sorry.


  • Make sure you follow the rules at the swimming pool and always be sensible in the water.
  • Do not swim with contacts on unless you are wearing goggles
  • Do not bring electronics or water-sensitive objects with you if you are afraid of ruining them.
  • Try not to dive or swim with your goggles on the top of your head. They may slip off in the water due to backward flow of water.
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