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How to prepare for a swimming competition

GymPlus Team

February 10, 2023

How to prepare for a swimming competition

Like anything competitive, swimming competitions can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right preparation and focus, swimming competitions can be a rewarding and exciting experience. Of course, nothing stops the nerves fully but being prepared changes them into good nerves rather than stopping you.
Whether this is your first competition or your thousandth, there are important steps you have to take when preparing for a swimming competition. This ranges from physical training and nutrition and mental preparation. Continue reading to see how you can best prepare for your swim competition.

swimming competition

Physical training

This seems obvious, but ensuring your physical training is up to date is an important aspect. This includes regular swim practice, strength training, and flexibility exercises to help you build endurance, strength, and mobility. All of these will help you swim faster and more effectively. Here are some tips for your physical training.

Swim regularly

There is a saying that practice makes perfect, which in some aspects is true. The more you swim, the better your technique will become. Aim to swim at least three to four times a week in the months leading up to the competition to help.

Focus on Technique

During your practice sessions, be sure you are focusing on your technique and make adjustments as needed. If you are a solo swimmer, consider a coach to help you with your technique to ensure it’s at its best.

Strength training

Not all physical training happens inside the pool. Incorporating strength training exercises into your routine to build the muscle and power you need to swim faster. Focus on exercises that target your upper body, core, and legs, such as push-ups, sit-ups- and squats.



Proper nutrition is something that can often be overlooked but is crucial in preparing for a swimming competition. Proper nutrition includes eating plenty of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats that will give you the energy and nutrients to perform at your best (If you are looking for some meal ideas, check out our recipes!). Check out some of our top tips below.


The word carbs often send a shiver of fear down people’s spines as the diet industry has labelled them ‘bad’. In reality, no one type of food is bad for you. For swimming especially, it’s important to have high-carb foods in your diet leading up to competition day. This means plenty of whole-grain bread, pasta, and rice.


Protein helps muscles repair and recover. Make sure to have plenty of lean protein sources like chicken and fish to help your muscles recover and rebuild after each swim practice.


This cannot be stressed enough – staying properly hydrated is key to performing at your best. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after each training practice and competition.

Mental Preparation

Swimming preparation

You need to have your head mentally in the game for success. Staying calm, focused, and confident can make a big difference in your performance. Here are our top tips for mental preparation:

Visualise success

Take a few moments each to visualise your success. What did you do right? How was your confidence? Being able to visualise yourself diving into the water while feeling strong and confident while finishing with a great time.

Stay positive

It can be easy to fall into a negative mindset. It happens to us all, but you need to focus on the positive aspects of your performance rather than dwelling on the negative. Keep your mind on the goals and stay positive, no matter what happens.

Focus on the process, not the outcome

Instead of just focusing on the end results, keep the steps you need to take in mind to perform at your best. This will help you stay calm and prevent performance anxiety as well.

Final thoughts

Preparing for a swimming competition is a combination of physical training, mental preparation, and proper nutrition. Staying focused on developing your strength endurance and technique in the pool while setting goals and maintaining a positive attitude is half the battle. Ensuring you have proper nutrition that supports your intense training so that you are at your best will help optimise your performance and increase your chance of success in a competition. Remember, preparation takes time, and consistent effort, so be patient and work towards your final goal.

GymPlus Team

February 10, 2023

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