How to Prepare for a Swim Meet

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Swim meets are an opportunity to test your training and refine the technique that your coach has been teaching. While you may have many meets during the season, the goal is to improve your time as the season progresses. By spending some time preparing both logistically and psychologically, you can help yourself or your child swimmers have a successful meet.

Know your races in advance. Most swim meets are divided into specific events at specific times, called "heats". You are also assigned a lane in which to swim. If you know which heat you are in, you'll know when to get to the blocks to race or the Clerk of the Course to be checked in for racing.

Check with your coaches about when to arrive. You need time to warm up, check in with the coaches and know where to keep your gear prior to the start of the meet.

Pack supplies. Besides an extra cap and goggles, in case of breakage. Bring towels, clothes to wear out of the water, sunscreen and food. Many swim meets have food provided by a vendor or by the club's kitchen, however, you may prefer home-made provisions rather than the options at the meet. Depending on the venue, you may also need to bring chairs and a sun shade. If you have younger swimmers, bring cards, coloring supplies and games to help pass the time between races.

Get plenty of rest the day before. Meets are fun-filled, but tiring activities, especially if you're swimming events at the beginning and tail end of the meet. Make sure you get a healthy night's sleep the night before to ensure you swim your best.

Relax and visualize your race the night before. Focus on your coach's tips about your particular swim and imagine a successful race. Don't think about the other swimmers; your swim is about your personal best.

Eat a healthy meal, focusing on easily digested protein and whole grains, prior to heading to the meet to ensure your body is fueled and ready to swim fast. For morning meats, try eggs on whole grain toast. For afternoon meets, a ham or turkey sandwich on whole grain bread can help speed your way.


Warm up just prior to the race with a leisurely swim followed by drills and practice starts.


Check a bad attitude at the door and have a good one if you lose the race.