How to Prepare Yourself for A Swim Meet

Swim meets are the ultimate place to test out your skills in the company of other swimmers. Although swimming classes prepare you for meets by giving you professional instruction for improving your strokes, proper preparation plays a vital role in how well you swim on the big day. As you get ready for the next swim meet, use these tips to prepare so that you compete with your best performance.

Practice Your Swim Strokes

In your swimming lessons, instructors focus on teaching you the proper way to perform the strokes that you will use during the meet. In the weeks leading up to the meet, make sure to practice your swimming strokes as often as possible. However, be sure to avoid overtraining the day before the meet because you do not want to be sore. If you do practice swimming the day before the meet, make sure to cool down properly.

Prep Your Gear in Advance

The last thing you need to be doing on the day of your swim meet is to be searching for your goggles. On the night before your meet, gather the gear that you need to take. Make sure to include all of the essentials such as your swim cap, water bottle and suit. If you will be competing outside, then remember to bring your sunscreen. Being prepared ahead of time helps you avoid the stress of a last minute scramble to find your things, and it sets your mind for success.

Get Proper Sleep

The excitement of an upcoming meet may make it hard to sleep, but proper rest is essential for your best performance. Make sure to go to bed early on the night before your meet. Practice a proper sleep routine by shutting off your electronics and darkening your room as much as possible.

Show Up Early

When your meet is in an unfamiliar place, it is important to arrive early enough that you can get a view of the layout. Once you arrive, walk around the facility and check out the pool. Take note of where the starting blocks are along with where your team will sit, so you feel more comfortable when it comes time to compete.

Develop a Routine

During your private swimming lessons, competitive swimmers have the opportunity to work with their swim instructor to learn techniques that help during competitions. For instance, you may develop a routine that includes specific stretches to do just before you race. You may also spend time visualizing yourself going through the actual motions of each stroke as though you were engaged in a competition. Creating a routine helps many of the most critical steps of swimming come automatically when your mind is actively engaged in the competition.

Once you have advanced beyond the most basic skills of swimming, you will be ready to head to your first meet. By knowing how to prepare properly, you can look forward to showing up at the swimming facility with everything you need to swim at your best capacity.

3 Common Stroke Mistakes that New Swimmers Make

Learning to swim is an exciting moment for people of any age, and even the youngest child benefits from lessons on how to safely spend time in the water. While swimming is one activity that people with different levels of abilities can learn, new swimmers often face a few challenges when it comes to learning the strokes. These three common stroke mistakes that new swimmers make are all correctable with practice and the help of a professional swim instructor will provide trust to teach this vital life-saving skill.

Breathing Properly

For many new swimmers, learning how to breathe properly is a challenge. Young children often focus on pulling their entire head out of the water to take each breath. While it is important to breathe while swimming, the sudden upward movement of the head creates strain along the neck and spine that throws the swimmer’s whole body out of alignment. Typically, the head and legs drop down as the head goes up. Once this happens, a swimmer is no longer able to maintain the alignment that they need to perform their swimming strokes properly. In swim lessons, swimmers will begin practicing breathing from the very beginning. Over time, they gradually learn how to lift just their face out of the water to only the point that they need to catch a breath before continuing with their strokes. Once this important skill is mastered, new swimmers can continue to refine their skills by learning advanced techniques such as rhythmic breathing.

Relying on the Upper Body

Many of the most common swimming strokes appear as though the upper body does all of the work. For instance, the breast stroke requires swimmers to thrust forward using their arms, and this is often the most apparent part of the stroke that new swimmers notice when they watch others swim. However, the breast stroke also requires swimmers to use a whip kick that helps propel them in the water and maintain their momentum. Without the important leg work, the stroke is impossible to perform correctly. This same concept applies to all of the other strokes. For this reason, new swimmers need to spend a great deal of time learning how to use their legs along with their upper body to perform the strokes.

Focusing on Finishing the Strokes

Once a new swimmer gets going, they often get so caught up in thinking about what to do next that they forget to finish their first movements. Lifting the hand out of the water too soon results in a loss of energy that affects how powerful each stroke is and how long a swimmer can swim. This mistake is simple to correct since it only requires a swimmer to slow down and be careful to complete each stroke so that their hands function as a paddle that pushes them through the water.

Learning any new skill often involves many mistakes, but the rewards of finding ways to correct them is worth the effort. Whether a swimmer is simply interested in being able to swim better at the local pool or they have a desire to compete, making minor corrections is often all it takes to improve their ability to execute proper swimming strokes.