Nick Folker is widely regarded as the top swimming strength and conditioning coach in the world. Over the last 12 years, Nick’s athletes have won 22 Olympic Medals, 7 team NCAA Championships and over 170 individual and relay NCAA championships. Megan Fischer-Colbrie works as the Sports Science Editor at BridgeAthletic. Megan is currently preparing for medical school and last year graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Human Biology. While at Stanford, Megan was a four-year varsity athlete focusing on Backstroke, Butterfly and the Individual Medley.
The Championship Series by BridgeAthletic is designed to empower athletes with tips from the pros that will help them reach peak performance come race day. We will be covering competition-focused topics such as nutrition, recovery, stretching, and mental preparation.
4 Steps to Better Championship Preparation
Championship season is the time of year when you put even more focus into swimming. As the physical demand of training lightens with taper and you spend less time at the pool, how you manage the remaining hours in your day becomes more critical. Making your championship meets a priority doesn’t mean skirting other responsibilities—it just means planning ahead and practicing your best habits outside of the pool. Here are four ways to optimize your time as you prepare for a championship competition:
1. Be Physically Prepared. Your coach can give you all the tools you need while at practice, but he or she cannot control how you take care of your body for the other 20 hours in the day. Get adequate, consistent sleep, take a few minutes to foam roll or stretch more than usual, and pay attention to your hydration. Keep your nutrition balanced by eating foods that make you feel your healthiest (now is not the time to be adventurous with new cuisine).
2. Mentally Prepare. Get mentally “up” for the meet. Whether that means relaxing more, listening to music, or visualizing a winning race dozens of times, do it. Part of being confident is being happy, so stay loose in the days before a meet and have fun with your teammates. Be engaged in your teammates’ goals and celebrate their success—you’ve pushed each other to be better all year and now is the time to be most supportive.
3. Get your schoolwork done early. Part of being ready for a meet means taking care of all potentially stressful situations prior to competition. Let your professors know which tests you may need to take on the road, study early for those tests, and turn in papers before you travel. Avoiding procrastination prevents the unanticipated sleepless nights or stressful moments that come along with it.
4. Take it Easy. If you have to skip out on an event with friends because it runs too late (parties, movies, etc), there will be plenty of other opportunities in the future. Avoid social outings that are too strenuous, such as walking around a city all day, standing at a sporting event or going to a concert. Give yourself a break from all things taxing—and don’t take the stairs.
You’ve probably heard these gems of advice many times before, but that’s because they all work. Take good care of your body because you owe it to yourself after all the training you’ve put in. Get excited with your teammates about your upcoming meet and watch that momentum carry over into great racing.
BridgeAthletic works with elite professional, collegiate, and club swimming programs to provide a turnkey solution for dryland training. Led by Nick Folker, the top swimming strength and conditioning coach in the world, our team builds stroke-specific, custom-optimized dryland programs for each of our clients. The individualized workouts are delivered directly to the athlete via our state of the art technology platform and mobile applications. Check Nick and BridgeAthletic out as recently featured in SwimSwam.com.