Like all athletes, swimmers need to eat a balanced diet if they are going to perform at their peak and gain the winning edge in competition.

Before Training and Competition

The type of food swimmers eat prior to competition influences how well they perform in the water. A pre-swim meal should consist mainly of carbohydrate rich foods such as pasta, bread, cereal, bagels or low fat muffins. Smaller amounts of food should be consumed if there is less than 2-3 hours before the event.

After Training and Competition

Swimmers should consume a high carbohydrate snack immediately after exercise (ideally within 15 minutes of completing the swim). Eating small, frequent carbohydrate snacks in the 2-4 hour period after the swim is the best way to restore muscle energy.

All Day Events

Swim meets can last all day and Provincials is spread over 3 days. Here are some tips to prepare for all day events:

  • With less than one hour between events, swimmers should consume easy-to-digest high carbohydrate foods like fruit, fruit juices, low fat crackers and cereal. Limit the amount of food.
  • With two to four hours between events, swimmers may add more carbohydrate dense foods like bagels, English muffins, cereals, fruit juices and lots of fluids.
  • With four hours or more between events swimmers can add small frequent amounts of protein with the carbohydrates such as a sandwich with lean meat, a bagel with peanut butter, milk and low fat yogurt.

On the Road

  • Pack a cooler with lots of fluids (water, juices, sport drinks). High carbohydrate snacks that pack well include fresh fruit, raw veggies, raisins and other dried fruits, bagels, cereal, low fat muffins and yogurt.
  • At restaurants ensure a balanced lower fat meal by ordering rolls, pasta or potatoes instead of fries and pizza (preferably veggie) instead of a hamburger; order milk or juice instead of pop.

Fluids: Water, Water Everywhere…

Swimmers are vulnerable to dehydration during summer swimming events. Thirst is not always a good indicator of how much fluid a swimmer needs. To prevent dehydration, swimmers must drink plenty of fluids before, during and after an event. Keep a water bottle close by and avoid carbonated and caffeine drinks (pop, coffee and tea).

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