Swimmers should be aware that eating or not eating correctly on competition day can impact greatly on thier performance. The key to nutrition is to make sure that you have eaten enough carbohydrates before the competition starts, not the day before the meet.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, avoid high-fat choices such as bacon, sausages, biscuits and choose foods high in carbohydrates such as cereal, fuit juice, muffins, pancakes, waffles, toast, bread/rolls with low fat spread, jam, marmalade and either fresh or/and dried fruit.


Swimmers competing at all-day swimming meets may have a problem choosing nutritious food throughout the day. The swimmer should consider the amount of time between eating and racing when choosing foods to eat. Chips, burgers, hotdogs, candy bars provided by most venue cafes are extremely high in fat and will not be digested quickly. Two to three hours before competition choose fruit or vegetable juice such as orange and tomato, eat cereal bars, plain biscuits, soup and bread, lean meats, low fat yogurts. One hour or less before competition drink plain water and eat fresh fruit which is light such as watermelon, grapes, peaches, banana and oranges.


Avoid high fat content food choices such as sausage rolls and items already mentioned, including fizzy drinks and caffeine in cola, crisps, chocolate bars and chocolate biscuits.


But most of all avoid overeating as this will make you feel heavy and lethargic and don't skip breakfast as this will make you feel that you have no energy at all!! The best policy is to eat little and often during the day inbetween events


Fluid intake is just as important to a swimmer whether they are in training or competing. Swimmers are encouraged to drink frequently during competitions to replace fluids as the indoor pool environment is humid and dehydrating. Do not wait until you feel thirsty until you start drinking. Have a drink about 15mins before an event, this will allow enough time for it to be absorbed.


Recovery after competition is just as important, have something to drink and eat immediately after your last swim. Water, a sports drink or sports bar are best. Do not wait a couple of hours and then have a little snack as this is not sufficient, especially if you have an event the next day. Eat a high carbohydrate meal with protien, such as Sphagetti Bolognese, Jacket Potao with Tuna, Chicken with Potatoes. Have rice dishes, fish with vegetables, soups with bread to dip in. Eat fresh fruit, yogurt or jelly as a dessert, don't have cakes and ice-cream. Avoid microwave meals as most contain inadequate sources of energy, also don't ruin a baked potato or bread with too much butter and cheese.


These are some guidelines which you can follow, however if in doubt about nutrition requirements, talk to your coach

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