Swimmer’s bodies get love because we are lean, but not too lean. Usually tall, with long limbs, flexible, with broad shoulders, and a (mostly) defined abdominal area, the competitive swimmer look is one that is fashionable in all seasons.
Here are 9 signs that you have a swimmer’s body:
1. YOU’RE TALL. (FOR THE MOST PART.)
Swimmers at the top levels of the sport are inordinately tall.
As an example, the average height of male 100m freestyle world record holders is 6’4” dating back to 1976, with the United States’ Rowdy Gaines being the shortest amongst the group at 6’1”. (Which is also how tall Missy Franklin and Aussie sprinter Cate Campbell are.)
But fear not my vertically challenged friends, there is still room for those who weren’t born to NBA-sized parents.
The distance legend Janet Evans was 5’5. David Berkoff- the guy whose underwater dolphin kick was one of the stories of the 1988 Seoul Olympics- was 5’8.
More currently, Japanese superstar Kosuke Hagino is 5’8”, showing that while the general trend of swimmers is tall, it’s not a deal breaker if you aren’t.
2. YOU’RE FLEXIBLE.
Before the start of every race Michael Phelps gets up on the blocks and wrap-slaps his arms and hands behind his back. Phelps’ also has remarkably flexible ankles, and hyper-extending knees and elbows.
The overhead movement required for fast swimming means we have flexible lats, shoulders, and back. When swimmers aren’t in the pool we are usually flopping around on a foam roller, or stretching those double-jointed arms around our heads like contortionists.
After all, whipping our arms above our shoulders for thousands of meters on end requires them to be at least mildly flexible.
3. YOU’RE STRONG.
I’m not talking about being able to lift massive amounts of weight in the gym, but relative strength. (Although freestyler Nathan Adrian’s 160 pound dumbbell bench press—per arm—might have something to say about that.)
Michael Phelps could do over 30 pull ups at a time. Natalie Coughlin crushes both in terms of relative strength and when playing around with the dumbbells.
While you won’t see us lifting up cars, you will see us lifting ourselves up and over chin-up bars with relative ease.
4. YOU HAVE HILARIOUSLY LARGE LATS.
With all of that overhead work comes highly developed lats. Your lats stretch across the entirety of your back (latissumus dorsi means broadest back in Latin), from your spine to your shoulder.
From the kazillions of pulls we perform over the course of our swimming careers these muscles get rather, well, large. The large expanse of a back is a hallmark of the competitive swimmer regardless of your stroke or distance.
The big latty McLatty’s transition nicely into the next thing that gives a not-so-subtle hint that you are a swimmer…
5. YOU HAVE SWIMMER SHOULDERS.
Or as we call them…
They are so pronounced that they are termed specifically for us.
Completing the V-shape common to swimmers are those boulder shoulders. Or, as we shall call them—bashoulders. (I’ll work on that one.)
The cumulative effect of a big back and big shoulders means that shopping for clothing is a bit tricky. Sitting on the aisle seat on a plane means you are getting body checked by the snack cart and bathroom-bound passengers no matter how far into your seat you try to tuck yourself.
And no matter where you are at in the world you can spot a fellow swimmer by the high shoulder to waist ratio.
6. YOU’RE BUILT LIKE A TORPEDO.
Despite all of our (relative) strength, and the shocking amount of time spent both in the pool and in the weight room, we are lean.
After all, success in the water demands it.
Unlike our land-locked sporting brothers and sisters we compete in a medium that is trying to slow us down at every turn. Water is thick to the tune of being nearly 800 times denser than air at sea level.
In order to combat this we need to assume a form that is less Diesel F350 and more Murcielago.
Swimmers who are built with sleekness are rewarded with much lower drag than their overly muscley compatriots.
The end result of this slender footprint in the water is efficient and fast swimming.
7. YOUR HAIR IS CONSTANTLY WET AND BEAT UP.
It’s not too hard to discern swimmers from the general population by just looking at the tops of their heads.
During the winter they are the ones who have water-logged heads for the first couple hours of the day, with the tops of the back of their shirts and sweaters becoming soggy.
Over summer months— when the outdoor pools provide a 1-2 combination of ultra-violet rays and chlorine—our hair gets particularly manky. Stiff, weathered-looking and border-line brittle, like you could break it off if you twisted it with too much enthusiasm.
Although there is the misconception that chlorine turns our hair green (the culprits there are “old brass fittings, gas-heater coils, trace copper in the water supply or residue from copper-based algicides that are dissolved in the water”), it’s more the perpetual sogginess, the tangles and the nearly surfer-boy look that our hair takes on that identifies us.
While a lot of swimmers will take care to remove chlorine from their hair with a swimmer’s shampoo, we don’t always have time do perform hair maintenance–especially when we are just gonna be back in the pool in a few hours time.
8. YOU HAVE ALL THE TRICEPS.
For a moment imagine this… A swimmer with large shoulders, and the expansive latissumis dorsi to go along with it… And then tiny triceps.
Seems a little weird, doesn’t it?
To go along with all the other backside muscular awesomeness swimmers are also gifted with bulging triceps.
For everyone except for those weird breaststrokers (I only call you guys weird because I never learned to master the stroke. So maybe I am a little jealous…) swimmers use their triceps to finish the stroke, meaning that over the course of their careers they do about 3.2 million tricep extensions.
With that kind of work they are bound to get huge.
9. THE AMOUNT OF BODY HAIR YOU HAVE IS ALWAYS IN FLUX.
Hair is part of your body, right? Yup!
This leads to some tortured and lengthy hotel shave down sessions for some of the more developed males, and lamentable amounts of ‘splaining by the ladies for why they have hairy legs between meets.
No matter how many times we hear—“but does it really make that much of a difference?”—we know that yes, it actually does.
We understand that it is impossible to replace that feeling when we first dive in after a shave and sensing as though someone had slapped a prop to our backside.
And that no matter how many times we nick ourselves, and how many times we shaved against the grain (can you tell I sucked at shave downs yet?) it was always worth it when we felt amazing diving into the water.
– WATER POLO
It’s the standard swimming pool game, the official Olympic waterball sport. If you swim or swam in California, you probably played the game. A few elite swimmers have achieved notable success in water polo. 11-time Olympic medalists Matt Biondi won an NCAA Team Title for his role on the Cal Golden Bears water polo team. Terry Schroeder is USA Water Polo’s resident icon, and 4-time Olympian Tony Azevedo is the sports biggest star. Internationally, Hungary is the water polo beast. Period.
– 7 players on each team
– two goals on either side of the pool
– an invasion game, one team strives to get their ball in the opposing team’s goal
1a. Murderball. Like water polo, but without much in the way of rules. One variation involves a standard water polo goal, others involve putting the ball in the gutter and holding it there for a 5-7 second count. Best saved for post-season, though, as this one can get a little rough.
2 – SWIMMING BATTLEBALL
Swimming Battleball is like water polo, but with more teeth and grit. Played in the 1970s and 1980s during first weeks of fall practice, this two hour marathon of war is an ideal way to get swimmers’ their feel for water back fast.
– Divide your swim team up, no matter how big.
– Split the pool in half. The deep end, if you have one, is the playing field. The back field is for two swimmers only from each team.
– Time on the clock? You play the entire workout, treading water the entire practice.
– The goal is a plywood board into which you cut a large hole.
– This is a two-ball game, ideally big balls, beachball-sized. The objective: get your big ball through the hole. Keep your opponent’s ball shutdown, or in the back field.
– You can dunk the person holding the ball (but SwimSwam’s not responsibility if you do as we’re merely reporting the rules).
– Once your team scores, one swimmer from the goal-scoring team, jumps out, grabs the ball, throws it to their player in the back field. Repeat.
***NOTE, many teams win by dominating the opponent’s ball. Often a strong Swimming Battleball player can simply bear hug the ball and lay on it, suffering multiple dunks without releasing the ball.
3 – SHARKS AND MINNOWS
Sharks and Minnows is as old as swimming. Cavemen painted it on walls… Ok, maybe it’s not that old, but swim teams and summer leaguers have been playing it since the 1950s You know the rules, but why not make the rules work for your development and success. Try our version, SwimSwam Sharks and Minnows.
– Always play the length of the pool, not the width, preferably in a 50 meter pool to test your skill.
– Pick your shark, the best swimmer on the team.
– Staying underwater isn’t enough for the shark not to get you according to SwimSwam Rules. You have to stay in a tight steamline position as you kick underwater to the other side. No streamline, you’re shark bait.
***Disclaimer: We use these rules to encourage tight underwater streamlines, but don’t push yourself too much. Swimmers can blackout if they hold their breath too long. Remember this is only a game. Breathe if you need to breathe.
4 – WHALE
Whale is nothing more than running on deck and jumping over the swimmer in the pool. We’re not a fan of this game. It’s popular, but it is not safe, and, frankly, most swimmers, hardcore swimmers, aren’t that agile on land. Whale is #4 on our list, but we if you play this game, be very, very careful.
5 – BEAN
Bean is famous…was made famous by SwimSwam co-founder Garrett McCaffrey, when he actually captured it on video many, many years ago… meaning 2007. Alas, the video is now gone from the web. (If anyone can find it, please forward the link.) The Rules? I don’t know the rules. They’re lost to time and the suckhole of the web. I know elite swimmers played it. I know Michael Phelps played it. I know it resembles a watery form of tag, though passive and sneaky, often executed during warmup or long distance sets. If you know the BEAN RULES, please educate us and share in the comments below.
6 – MARCO POLO
After enormous research, the evidence is fairly clear. This games suffers from more cheaters than any other in the world. You know the rules. One person is it. They have to close their eyes and try to find the other players. They shout “Marco” while the other players are supposed to shout “Polo” in response, but that’s rarely the case. If someone’s close to the person yelling “Marco,” they stay silent. Moreover the person yelling “Marco” tyically sneaks a peek. This game is lame, though wildly popular, which is why it comes in at #6.
7 – CAPTURE THE CHANGE
This is easy and always a winner with kids. Throw a few hundred dollars in change in a pool, and let your swimmers work on their underwater speed scooping all of it up.
8 – CAPTURE THE GOLDFISH
Steve Lochte, father of 12-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, has announced his retirement from coaching at 66-years old. This ends a 44-year coaching career, including most recently at Daytona Beach SPEED.
Ryan Lochte is DBS’ most famous alumni, having swum for his father’s club as a child and frequently representing them nationally as an adult. Ryan Lochte‘s 12 Olympic medals (6 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze), tie him with Jenny Thompson, Dara Torres, and Natalie Coughlin as the second-most of all-time for a swimmer, behind only Michael Phelps’ 23.
Theclub has produced a handful of other national and international-caliber athletes as well, though. That includes Rex Tullius, a 2016 Olympian representing the U.S. Virgin Island and NCAA All-American at Florida; three-time NCAA All-American at Florida Matt Norton; Florida All-American Julia Nagy; and Kentucky All-American Kendal Casey.
Steve Lochte was also formerly the head coach of Daytona State College’s men’s and women’s swim teams, where he was “reassigned” during the 2010-2011 swim season and eventually replaced as head coach by Don Gibb. A few years later, in 2013, Daytona Statte College dropped their swimming programs.
Steve Lochte announced his retirement via an email to team families, which was also posted on the team’s website.
To all DBS Families:
Yes, it is true! At the age of 66, with 44 of those years spent coaching swimming, I have decided to move on to the next chapter of my life and retire!
Some of you were disappointed I chose to tell my athletes first, and I understand your disappointment, however, I wanted my swimmers to hear of my retirement from me first, as they are the most crucial factor of DBS and my life’s work.
Tom McGibeny has been named the successor as head coach. McGibeny is also the National Team coach for the U.S. Lifeguard Association, which competes around the world in lifeguarding competitions.
I know everyone has questions and hopefully, I will be able to answer most of them:
- All day-to-day coaching duties for all groups at all pools will remain in the capable hands of our coaching staff. Please see the website for assignments.
- The Senior coaching staff in Port Orange will continue to have a great coaching staff led by Coach Tom [McGibeny] and assisted by Coach Joey [Armellino], and Coach Dave. I am excited about the fresh ideas and youthful enthusiasm that this new group of senior coaches will bring to your kids. All workouts and outline design of the programs have been pre-written for the remainder of the season. The Fall season has also been formulated through the first of the year.
- Coach Tom has 20 years of my coaching log books and has been my Assistant for 20 years, not to mention he’s better looking HAHAHA!
- All meet coaching assignments are covered for the remainder of this summer.
As always there will be a continuous program for practices after the Championship meets between Ormond and Port Orange during our annual break (July 31-Aug 12)
Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com regarding your child’s program.
I honestly wish your swimmer, you and your family much success in this great sport of swimming.
ASCA Level 5
Article by: Braden Keith
Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.
The fundamentals of backstroke are the same as for freestyle. However, the priority of those fundamentals differ for backstroke and there are certain nuances of backstroke that differ from freestyle.
Of all four strokes, backstroke is not the fastest stroke, but it is the most efficient stroke. That means that there is less change of speed in backstroke than in any other stroke. There are two principal reasons for that. First, the coupling of the body rotation comes at the very end of the pulling motion, which is the weaker part of the pull, as opposed to the stronger middle of the pull in freestyle. The result is the propulsive force of the arm pull remains more constant in backstroke.
The second reason that the velocity of the backstroker is more uniform has to do with the kick. When a swimmer is on his or her stomach, the down kick is typically much more propulsive than the up kick. However, when on the back, the weaker down kick becomes very propulsive because the foot pushes down against a larger vortex and gravity helps assist in the downward motion of the foot. As a result, the propulsive forces of the down and up kicks become much more even and the resultant velocity is more constant.
When it comes to taking advantage of these two nuances of backstroke, here are two important pearls in your technique that will help.
1) On the backstroke arm recovery, throw the arm and hand hard to the water. Accentuating the speed of the hand entry on the recovery also has the effect of accentuating the body rotation. This will help maintain the swimmer’s speed toward the end of the pulling motion.
2) Work the down kick hard on backstroke. During both the underwater dolphin kick and the backstroke, it is very important to press downward vigorously with the sole or bottom of the foot to take advantage of the large vortex formed from the stronger up kick. If a swimmer does this, he or she can get more propulsion and speed from the weaker down kick than from the stronger up kick. This downward motion of the feet will also help keep the swimmer’s speed more constant.
This week our Race Club members in Lane 2 will get classroom instruction on how the fundamentals of backstroke differ from those of freestyle. Race Club members in lane 3 will see a great dryland technique from world champion Junya Koga on how to teach swimmers the proper backstroke pulling motion.
The shallow end of a swimming pool is a good place to learn to swim by yourself. Swimming involves breathing, kicking with your legs and stroking with your arms. These are things you can practice one at a time in shallow water. Possibly the simplest stroke for a beginner is the forward crawl. Once you understand how to propel yourself across the top of the water, you can practice and learn other strokes.
Stand with your back against the end of the pool, take a breath and bend forward at the waist until your face is completely in the water. Your ears should be at the water line. Hold this position for two seconds, slowly turn your head to one side and exhale into the water as you do. Return to a standing position.
Hold your arms out from your side, palms down with your fingers together. Take a breath and bend forward as before. With your face in the water, bring your right arm up and out of the water, and reach in front of yourself. When your hand contacts the water, pull your arm straight down and make a circular motion underwater until your hand is behind you and at your right side. Your palm should be up at this point. Turn your head to the right and draw a new breath through your mouth without lifting your head. Turn your head back and exhale with your face in the water.
Repeat the stroke and breathing exercise until you are able to make a stroke with each arm and one complete breath without lifting your head out of the water. Looping or irregular strokes underwater will cause you to work harder in order to cover the same distance when your swimming. The arms propel the front of your body and kicking your legs will prevent your torso from sinking.
Face the side of the pool and place both hands on the edge. Extend your arms, lift both legs together until your arms, body and legs are in a straight line away from the edge. Turn your head to one side and draw a breath through your mouth. Do not lift your head straight up. Hold your knees straight and kick your legs from the hip. Kick relatively fast and make the smallest splashes possible. Your feet should not come out of the water. Exhale underwater, turn your head and draw a new breath. Continue your kicks and breathing until you are comfortable breathing while kicking.
Stand with your back to the side of the pool, facing across the shallow end to the opposite side. Bend at the knees, extend your left arm in front, take a breath and push away from the side with your legs. As you move away from the side, your face should go in the water and your legs should begin to kick as you take a forward stroke with your right arm.
Continue kicking as you make concentrated strokes, bringing each hand back until the palm is at your side as you reach ahead to stroke with the other arm. Make two strokes with each arm, turn your head and draw a breath, return your head to straight and continue. Practice this until you feel comfortable with the breathing and you are able to swim the width of the pool without having to stop.
Welcome to the world of cold water swimming!
Winter swimming communities famously thrive in northern European countries where an icy dip can be followed by a toasty sauna. There are many theories on the benefits of cold water swimming, amongst these are that as well as being surprisingly addictive, it’s said to give the immune system a kick start and gives an amazing sense of well-being which can benefit your mental state of being. What are you waiting for?
Tips on becoming a cold water swimmer
1. Authentic cold water swimmers around the world wear a regular swimming costume, a silicone swim hat and goggles. No wetsuit is worn, as this defeats the concept and benefits of feeling the cold water on your body, although a lot of people find that training in neoprene socks and gloves can help the extremities manage the cold better.
2. Most people stop swimming outdoors when it gets to October, but a cold water swimmer keep swimming throughout the year and just reduce the distance and time in the water. Your body will continue to acclimatise as the temp drops. A top tip is to keep a log book of when you swim, how long for, how you felt and what your recovery was like.
3. Find a safe place where you can swim, ideally somewhere where you can park nearby or can use a changing room or sheltered area for changing. You also want to make sure that you have easy access in and out of the water.
4. Find some others to dip with you, to make sure you are safe during and after swimming, and stay within your depth on your first cold water dip. There should be people around when you come out of your swim to assist with your recovery or hand you a warm drink etc. Basically cold water swimmers look out for each other, its as important part of winter swimming as the swim itself.
5. Swim safe. Swimmers need to be easily seen by boats in open water so at the very least avoid swimming in busy areas for boats, jet skis and ferries. It is also a swimmer’s responsibility to make yourself as visible as possible to other open water users: always wear a brightly coloured swimhat; consider buying a coloured swim tow-float (available from swimsecure.co.uk online shop); in dull or foggy conditions, or at night, attach swim lights or light sticks to the back of your goggles or swim costume. You also want to make sure that you can be easily seen by any support team on the water on standing on the shore side.
6. The trick with cold water acclimatisation is that there is no trick! It’s all about going in the water regularly, daily dips, even for a very short period prepares the body to cope with the ‘cold water shock’ and the recovery. Don’t rush to be a ice mile hero, become a winter swimmer first, go through a winter swimming regularly, so you understand how your body copes with different water temps. Once the water is under 10 degrees it will feel very cold when entering the water, but once its under 5 degrees, event drop of 1 degree C makes a big difference. Also the wind and outside temp makes a difference, and some days you just feel better than others. It’s only by spending time in cold water that you get to know you limits. Don’t push too far to quickly and ENJOY IT!
7. A thermometer is not essential, but can be helpful in knowing how you body copes and recovers in different temps, some people like to know before they go in the water and other just want to get in and swim and find out what it is when they get out. Keep a check on how long you swim for as the temperature drops and starts to rise again approaching the summer. You soon learn your limits and how much you should do each time.
8. Don’t try to be a hero in cold water, know your limitations, and get out as soon as you feel your body moving more slowly or if your hands start to become stiff. Try just a few minutes the first time. Breath slowly and calmly. Keep your head above water until you are comfortable putting your face in. If you begin to feel warm in cold water, you are experiencing the dangerous first stage of hypothermia so get out of the water immediately (see link below for a full definition).
9. When you exit the water, put on a hat, and get fully dressed immediately. Your body temperature will continue to drop for a few minutes after getting out of the water, so don’t delay! Set all your kit out ready before you go in the water, have it stacked in the order you will put it back on in. As soon as you are out, your only focus is getting out of your wet kit and into your clothes ASAP. There’s plenty of time to chat afterwards with your friends whilst having a warm drink. Do not warm up the body suddenly with a hot shower or bath, gradual warmth with layers and a warm drink is much safer and more effective.
10. Hypothermia can be fatal, please see links below for more information:
What to Eat the Day Before a Meet
The day before the meet, the swimmer should eat foods that are high in complex carbs and drink fluids often.
Swim England Masters advises to “eat little and often—every two to four hours to keep blood sugar levels steady and fuel muscles.” Stick to foods that you are familiar with and avoid big meals. Do not overeat – you’ll feel lethargic on race day!
Foods with Complex Carbs:
• Brown rice
• Sweet potatoes or white potatoes with skin
• 100% whole wheat bread and pasta
What to Eat for Breakfast Before Practice or Meet
Even if you feel too tired or nervous to eat, you need to eat – even if it’s just a little bit.
Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and helps your body prepare for what is to come while helping maximize performance and training.
Eat something light and easily digestible such as cereal, oatmeal, banana, toast, fresh fruit or yogurt. If you really lack appetite in the morning, Sport Dietitians of Australia recommends drinking a liquid meal, such as milk tetra packs or smoothies.
What to Eat Before a Practice or Meet
The swimmer should eat a high-carb meal two to four hours prior to a practice or meet. The meal should be low in fiber and fat. Examples are whole grain cereal with milk, fresh fruit or oatmeal with banana or cinnamon.
One to two hours before, the swimmer should follow up with a light snack such as fresh fruit or a sports bar.
What to Eat During a Meet
The swimmer should make sure to eat and drink between events to aid in recovery and to ward off dehydration.
If the swimmer has less than one hour between events, the snack should be light and easy to digest. Sport Dietitians of Australia recommends juice, yogurt pouches and small pieces of fresh fruit.
If the swimmer has more than one to two hours between races, they can fuel with the following: pasta, sandwiches (whole grain or whole wheat bread and organic meat) or sushi.
Bring a cooler of food so you are ready to re-fuel!
Snacks to Eat Between Races
After a race or practice, the swimmer needs to eat as soon as possible for recovery. Snacks should consist of complex carbs and proteins, not simple sugars or foods high in fat. Foods such as pasta salad, plain sandwich, bananas, grapes, apples, dried fruit (raisins, craisins, apricots, mango), cereal bars, yogurt and unsalted nuts are perfect for this.
If you can’t do solids between your races, try diluted juice with a pinch of salt, chocolate milk or a smoothie.
What to Eat After Meets and Practice
Foods eaten after practice or a meet should contain carbs for fuel and protein for muscular repair and growth. The swimmer should also drink water to stay hydrated.
Carbs: fruit smoothies, yogurt fruit cup, fresh fruit or toast and jelly (or peanut butter with bananas).
Proteins: whole wheat pita and hummus, white meat sandwich, chocolate milk (protein and calcium to strengthen bones and feeds amino acids in the muscles), tuna salad, eggs, nuts, edamame, smoothie with dairy and omelets or fried eggs on toast.
In conclusion, perhaps Baker sums it up the best:
Swimmers – it is time to stop leaving your nutrition floating in the pool. I guarantee you that if you continue to train and implement the above swimmer’s nutrition recommendations into your diet, you will be able to swim faster and longer because of it. Don’t take your swimming nutrition for granted, it is just as important as your hours in the pool.
By Bailey Duran, Swimming World College Intern.
Swimming requires massive amounts of energy, whether it’s an elite-level practice or an age group practice. Because of this high energy expenditure, swimmers need to take the right steps to replenish the nutrients lost.
According to wellness coordinator Brigette Peterson‘s research in sports nutrition, competitive swimmers can burn up to 5,000 calories in four hours, depending on the intensity of the workout. Thus, swimmers can burn approximately 40 percent of their daily energy during this time. Because of this incredible energy expenditure, proper nutrition is essential to rebuilding and recovering.
Peterson says, “Nutrition is cornerstone of every athlete’s performance, but especially a swimmer’s.”
Detrimental Nutrition Mindsets
Two common detrimental mindsets that swimmers have regarding meals fall on opposite ends of the spectrum.
The first is, “I swim hard every day so I can eat whatever I want. I’m working it off when I swim.” While it may be true that you are burning a lot of calories, you aren’t refueling with the necessary nutrients that will keep you healthy and swimming fast. Not to mention that eating loads of sugar and other processed foods will hinder your swimming and make you feel sluggish and slow.
The other mindset is: “I worked super hard in practice, so I don’t want to ruin it by eating too much. I won’t eat or will eat much less than what I probably should.” You can’t expect your body to be able to put maximum effort into a practice or a race if it doesn’t have enough fuel to do so.
It doesn’t matter how much or how hard you swim or train, you will not reach your potential without proper nutrition.
What Should Swimmers Eat?
You may be asking, “Well then, what should I eat?”
According to natural health and fitness expert Brue Baker, swimmers who are training intensely for more than two hours daily should eat four to seven light meals a day. Eating large meals or too much in one sitting will leave the swimmer feeling lethargic and will inhibit your performance (The Importance of a Swimmer’s Nutrition). It should also consist of foods that are easy to digest.
Carbohydrates should make up one half of a swimmer’s diet as it is the fuel swimmers need to get through that tough practice or meet. Carbs are stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver and is the fuel that our body uses throughout our day – especially during a workout. After the workout, that energy source will be running low and will need to be replaced. Some good sources of carbs are rice, cereal, pasta, potatoes, beans, peas, and lentils.
The other half of a swimmer’s meal should consist of protein, healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, avocados, and seeds), vegetables, fruit, whole grains, vitamins, and minerals.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 0.5 to 0.7 grams of carbohydrates should be consumed for every pound of body weight. For someone who is 150 pounds, this adds up to about 75 grams. This should be coupled with 20 to 40 grams of protein.
Protein repairs and rebuilds the muscles after the stresses of training in addition to warding off soreness. The building blocks of proteins are amino acids, which are the main components of muscular growth and repair. Diana Goodwin of Aquamobile tells us that protein also supports and boosts the immune system as well as quenches those annoying hunger pangs that plague swimmers during practice. Some sources of protein are lean meats, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy.
Swimmers should also drink water often to stay hydrated, sipping on their water bottles throughout the day to replenish sweat loss (yes, it is possible to sweat in the water). Many athletes don’t think about replacing electrolytes and other minerals lost in sweat, most notably sodium and potassium. While most athletes consume enough sodium in a normal diet, you can sprinkle some salt and glucose to your beverage for absorption and replenishment.
Peterson says, “A properly fueled body will result in better performance during practice and competition. Nutrition is everything.”