6 Questions to Ask Yourself After the Big Meet

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.

You trained your butt off all year, through the holiday training camp, all of those two-a-days, ditched hanging out with friends on the weekend in favor of sleep and Saturday morning workouts, and then finally got the opportunity to shine on the biggest stage of your swimming career.

No matter whether you exceeded expectations, or if you came up just short of your goals, after the meet is a fantastic time to debrief (see what I did there?). With a few minutes of reflection you get some perspective and intel on your performances, and draw lessons learned and apply them moving forward so that you can swim even faster next time around.

Here are 6 questions to ask yourself after the big meet:

1. How prepared was I for this competition?

There is no ducking this one. This question asks you to be accountable for the prep you did for the meet, both good and bad. It can be easy to shrug off a sub-par performance, but in doing so the opportunity to learn the lesson is thrown away.

The way we swim at our meets is nearly always an accurate indicator of how well we prepared. Sure, there are athletes who experience injuries just prior to the meet resulting an unfairly bad swim, but by and large the results at the competition are forged in practice.

Look back at the past few months of training. How consistent were you? During practice were you giving your best, while also focusing on improving technique and decreasing your stroke counts? Did your lifestyle choices provide you the best possible training environment?

(Okay, so I may have lied in the title. There’s a few more than 6 questions.)

2. Did you have a consistent pre-race routine to get you mentally and physically ready?

Last week we discussed the radness of having a pre-race routine, and the effects it can have on maxing out your performance come time to get up on the blocks.

Over the course of your competition did you do everything you could to prepare for each effort? Did you warm-up until the point that you felt ready to swim out of your mind? Or did you dial them in, swimming until you felt like it, or until your friends got out of the water? Were your warm-downs consistent and long enough to get you ready to race again?

3. What did I do well in my preparation for this competition?

There were some things that you did spectacularly well. It’s important to list and inventory these to give you something to build off of moving forward.

From each competition you should be able to add to the list of things that work in getting you to swim at the peak of your abilities. Over the course of a few meets you will be able to have a legit inventory of things to do each meet to insure some seriously fast swimming.

From the training you did in the months and weeks leading up to the competition there were areas where you totally nailed it. Write these out as well.

4. What are some things I can improve in my preparation?

On the other side of things, what are aspects of your prep and competition that you can improve on moving forward?

Having a list of things that work, and also a “don’t do” list of things combined can really help you stay focused on staying on the right side of things.

Looking at your training in particular, what are some things you can work on improving in the future?

5. Where are 3 areas in my race that I can improve on moving forwards?

Sit down with your coach and go over your race in detail. What are three areas of your race where you can see the most improvement? Were you losing time on the competition over the course of the starts? Out to slow? Stroke count too high?

Having the general, over-arching stuff to work on – things like consistency, diet, whatever – is good, but you want to have some specific stuff to improve over the next training cycle.

The more specific these things are, the easier it is for you to build a plan to take action.

6. What is next with my goals?

In the broad overview of your big, long term goals, where does this meet fit in? Are you on pace for achieving that world record in Rio, behind pace, or showing even more progress than you had planned on? Take a few moments to write out where this meet falls in the scope of your swimming, and chart a path forward.

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David S
7 years ago

This makes a lot of sense. Young swimmers, take notice. No matter how fast or “seasoned” you get, there should always be a next step.

7 years ago

0. Did I get beat by any girls? (boys only)

Reply to  jiggs
7 years ago

Answer: Yes (Katie Ledecky only)

Reply to  jiggs
7 years ago

Can we please not frame getting “beat by girls” as a negative?


Reply to  Rachel
6 years ago

Why? It’s not meant to down girls. It’s just a simple matter of anatomy. That’s why it’s so awesome that Ledecky is faster than so many guys.
However, the simple fact of the matter is that at a normal championship meet, the fastest guy in a typical event is several seconds faster than the fastest girl. Similarly, the qualifying times for girls are going to be significantly slower than the qualifying times for guys. Would you want that to change? Should we abolish the separation of gender at meets? I have a feeling most girls would not appreciate it if they were made to swim with the guys under the same qualification standards.
Guys on average are physically… Read more »

Reply to  Rachel
6 years ago

That’s awesome for both of them! And, I will concede, you’re correct. Before the the 13-14 age group, and even into it in many cases, male and female times are very similar. However, even then, I see no problem with guys comparing times with girls, although it’s a little different. I think in this case it would simply be like comparing yourself to any other swimmer. This is a sport driven by competition and as such, I see no reason why comparison with anyone is a bad thing, as long as it is positively used.

7 years ago

“It’s easy to shrug off a sub-par performance.”

Yeah, I wish. If I have a bad meet, my coaches and parents will not let me forget it. Sometimes they still bug me about races that happened when I was ten (I’m 14 now).

Reply to  Turtlebrain
6 years ago

Perhaps what you take as “bugging” the parents and coaches are using as a lesson that you don’t seem to be getting. Their reminding you of a mistake you made isn’t meant to bring you down, but to teach you. Hopefully they have given you the tools to move ahead and not make the same mistake.

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

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