Preparing for a swim meet can be both exciting and nerve-racking, especially if it’s your first meet.  To help calm those nerves it helps to know what to expect.  Below is an outline of how to prepare for a swim meet, along with a checklist of suggested items to bring to the meet.

Competition 101

I.      The week before

a.     What is taper?

                                               i.     Rest and recuperation

                                             ii.     Time to focus

b.     What should you be doing?

                                               i.     Sleeping well, but not too much

                                             ii.     Stretching

                                            iii.     Eating well, taking on more carbs and proteins, less sugars

                                            iv.     Drinking lots of water

c.     Time to refine, not learn

II.     The night before

a.     Pack your bag

b.     Know where you’re going and how long it will take to get there

c.     Eat a good dinner (typical swimmers meal is pasta)

d.     Drink more water than normal

e.     Stretch

f.      Relax

III.   Race morning

a.     Get up early to wake your body up

b.     Eat a breakfast of choice

                                               i.     Something easy to digest

                                             ii.     Something with a good mix of protein and carbs

                                            iii.     Something you have eaten before

                                            iv.     Something you are comfortable with

c.     Stretch

d.     Relax

IV.   Getting to the pool

a.     Check-in if your event is a positive check-in

     (1650 Free, 1000 Free, 500 Free, 400 IM)

b.  Take a survey of the pool

c.     Find the locker rooms

d.     Set up camp

e.     Check in with the coach

V.    Warm-ups

a.     Before the meet starts

                                               i.     Standard warm-up (what you’re used to doing in practice)

                                             ii.     “Feeling it” (swim until you feel good in the water; drills help)

                                            iii.     Quit while you’re ahead (once you feel good stop so you don’t tire yourself)

                                            iv.     Sprinting (it’s a good idea to do 2 or 3 sprints off the blocks; make sure your googles don’t fall off; you don’t need to sprint the entire 25)

                                              v.     The walls, blocks, & flags (get familiar with them)

b.     During the meet

                                               i.     Warming up again (if you haven’t swam in a couple of hours then it’s a good idea to warm your muscles up before your race)

                                             ii.     Drying off (make sure you keep warm by drying off and putting clothes on)

                                            iii.     Cooling down (as soon as you complete your race head to the warm up/down pool and swim until your heart rate goes down)

                  iv.  Check in with the coach before and/or after your race (he/she will give you tips and feedback)

VI.   The flow of the meet

a.     Look at the schedule

b.     Heats and lanes

c.     Know your events

VII. Your events

a.     Checking in with the timer

b.     Order of the starter

c.     Stepping up or getting in at the right time

d.     Doing it wrong

VIII.         The race

a.     Having a plan

b.     Knowing the key thoughts

c.     A routine that works

IX.   What if’s…

a.     Someone false starts

b.     I false start

c.     I miss my event

d.     I don’t know where I should be

e.     My goggles fall off

f.      My suit rips

g.     My goggles break

h.     I “DQ”

X.     After the race

a.     Reading the scoreboard

b.     Staying in the water

c.     “Good Job”

XI.   Relays

a.     Meeting your relay

b.     The order of swimmers

c.     How age is determined

XII.  Between events

a.     Staying hydrated

b.     Staying nourished

c.     Staying stretched out

d.     Staying warm

e.     Taking naps

XIII.         The right attitude

a.     Winning

b.     Losing

c.     Learning

d.     Having Fun

e.     Short memories

f.      Self evaluation

XIV.         Questions

Swim Meet Checklist

o USMS Card
o Parking Lot Permit
o Directions to the Pool
o Suits (practice & racing)
o Primary & Backup Goggles
o Deck Towel
o Locker Room Towel
o Deck Shoes
o Deck Tee-shirt
o Deck Sweatshirt
o Deck Jacket
o Deck Shorts/Pants
o Hat
o I-pod
o Water
o Gatorade
o Fruit
o Snacks
o Advil
o Heat Sheet & Highlighter/Pen
o Deck Chair