Competition Nutrition For Swimmers

by Anita Bean from her book Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes

What you eat and drink the week before and on the day of the competition can make a big difference to your performance.

The week before:

  • Eat a healthy training diet
  • Cut down on ‘junk’ food and sugary snacks
  • Hydrate – drink plenty of fluid before/ during/ after every training session

Competition Day

Before you set off:

  • Plan and organise your eating strategy
  • Take your own foods and drinks
  • Re-hydrate: drink 200 – 300ml 2h before swimming
  • Have your meal 2 hours before warm up (carb & protein): toast with honey/ jam plus milk or yoghurt, porridge with milk cereal with milk egg on toast

After warm up and events:

Rehydrate and refuel immediately or asap after swimming

Light meals (lunch)

  • Pasta – mix with a little pesto or tomato sauce. Add any combination of veg (peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, sweetcorn), nuts, tuna, chicken, cheese.
  • Sandwiches, wraps, rolls, pitta. Fill with chicken; tuna; cheese; peanutbutter.

Refuelling snacks

  • Fresh fruit (easy to eat): bananas; prepared pineapple and melon; grapes, apples, satsumas
  • Dried fruit — raisins, apricots, mango
  • Rice cakes or wholegrain crackers or mini-pancakes
  • Cereal bars
  • Yoghurt; milk shake

Suitable drinks

  • Water
  • Diluted squash or juice diluted half and half with water (or sports drinks)

Do Not…..

  • Load up with sweets and sugary drinks (or energy drinks) all day!
  • Starve or leave long gaps between refuelling
  • Eat or drink anything new
  • Eat high fat foods like cakes, crisps and chips before the event