You’ve committed to the early mornings. The late nights. Missed out on social events and have pushed your body further than before. Now it’s just a few days before your first swimming race. We’re here to help, with your kit and your last-minute prep. So here are our top preparation tips so you’re ready for the big day.
#1 Get organised
And we don’t just mean your gear. We’re talking preparing your meals for the entire day, including breakfast so you don’t have to scramble around in the morning. Confirm your travel, check if you have your tickets and ID, sort out what snacks you’ll need throughout the day, which bag you are taking, water bottles, dry clothes, team kit, dry towels, headphones. Organise all of this before the big day so you can stay focused in the lead up to your race.
#2 Time to warm-up
Again, we don’t just mean in the hours leading up to your race. Letting your body know it’s time to race starts well before race day. Typically, training might slow down prior to your race, which means your body will start slowing down too. Give your body time to get back into it with a few good night’s sleep before race day. Keep your meals consistent, if you follow a strict diet don’t rock the boat now. You don’t want your stomach distracting you. Drink plenty of water and remember to stretch well before you even hit the water.
#3 Tidy mind, tidy race
You know your mind better than anyone else, so you’ll know exactly what you want to be doing, the conversations you want to have, the people you want to be around before your race. Get yourself in your zone. That bubble is your safe place where you leave out anything else going on in your life. Money, exams, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, what you’re having for lunch after the race, or that party you’re heading to tomorrow. Leave it out of your zone. Plug your headphones in and get ready to race.
#4 Find your place
Swimming meets are pretty hectic, so make sure you arrive early. You don’t want to be rushing around, getting stressed and burning unnecessary energy. Know your event, your heat numbers, race times, block position. Don’t depend on anyone else to provide you with this information, make sure you know this for yourself.
#5 Know your end goal
Race hard. 100% effort. Maximum input. Visualise how you want the race to plan out. Keep to realistic goals from your training and go for it. You’re prepared, you’re organised, you’re in your zone. Concentrate on the race itself, work through your strategy in your head. One key part of racing, and racing well, is not getting too overwhelmed with any potential outcome. Just concentrate on the job in hand - it’s time to race! You know what you want from the race, so go get it.
#6 Debrief and give yourself an applause
You did it! Regardless of the result, that was your first race. Be proud of yourself and happy of your accomplishments. First race down – this could open lots of new opportunities for you and your confidence. Chat to your coach about your results, it is important you have this talk sooner rather than later so the race is fresh in your mind, and you can get some great feedback of your performance for future races. Have a shower, warm up, throw on your kit and find your team mates, you’re all part of one team so be there for each other and enjoy the rest of the day!
These six steps will help you prepare for your first swimming race, but remember that competing in your first swim meet is meant to be fun. So, race hard, swim fast, crack a smile, and enjoy. Good luck!