…lots and lots of it. We’re always in it, around it, and drenched in it, so it may seem like we’re plenty hydrated. But in order to perform at maximum speed, make sure you’re drinking water pretty often leading up to your race, as well as afterwards to replace the water you lost sweating after your race and throughout the day.
2. Spare goggles
We’ve all had that moment–you’re behind the blocks ready to go. You do a final goggle adjustment and suddenly, the straps snap in your hands. Chances are, there’s another generous swimmer in the near vicinity who will lend you theirs, but you want to be prepared for anything.
Let’s be real here: who doesn’t love music? Most swimmers use music to pump themselves up before their race. Getting a fast beat in your head can be helpful to get your mind in the right place. According to the sportjournal.com, “Music alters emotional and physiological arousal and can therefore be used prior to competition or training as a stimulant, or as a sedative to calm anxious feelings” (Bishop et al., 2007).
It is important to keep your body warm before race time. Research on the subject shows that cold temperatures make your muscle contractions less powerful. Make sure you pack plenty of layers so when the time comes, you can swim in optimal condition.
5. A race plan
You’ve been training for months–not for fun– but to perform. This race is what you think of during the last 50 of repeats in practice, giving it all you’ve got–when you don’t think you can take the pain anymore. It all comes down to this, so you’re not going to wing it. Imagine the race in your head, exactly what it’s going to look like. How many breaths are you going to take? How many underwaters are you going to punch off of each wall? You should know this all in advance. A race plan is essential when swimming in a meet of importance. At the college pool where I train every weekend, I always see this quote written on the white board: “Plan the race. Race the plan.”