This is our first year with a competitive swim team here at Elite. As a new team, there have been some definite learning curves. One of those learning curves has been swim meets! At a meet, there is a lot going on. Lots of whistles, children running everywhere and coaches giving last minute advice to their kiddos. As a former swimmer and current coach, I get asked a lot of questions from parents and swimmers on how to prepare for meets. Here are a couple of things I think will make your meet a little easier…especially on the first few times around.
Don’t forget to eat! I remember the days of being way too nervous to eat before a big meet. My mom would cook breakfast and I would swiftly push it away as my stomach churned with butterflies. Thankfully, I had a stubborn mother and a smart coach. Eating is important! I’m not telling you to feed your swimmer a Big Mac an hour before they hop in the pool (REALLY BAD PLAN), but you definitely want something healthy in their stomach. This gives your child energy which is very important to swim well. You also want to bring your child snacks, especially for the long meets. They are swimming and will get hungry!
As a coach, I typically have a bag of hair ties on hand. It never ceases to amaze me how hair ties break, get lost, or find some other way to disappear right when you need them most. Make sure to have a few extra on hand for your swimmer!
Swim caps are usually a requirement for meets, but also a great idea for practices – not only do they help streamline in the pool but, they also have the added benefit of keeping all your tangled hair up and out of the way so you can do your swim thing! Swim caps do rip, so make sure you have a backup.
Goggles are up next on the list– these are essential. I always recommend having a #1 pair, but an extra one or two as a backup definitely doesn’t hurt!
Your child is sure to be in the pool at least three times during any given meet. This includes a warm-up, their event(s), and a cool down at the end. Bringing a towel keeps them warm during the in-between. I used to bring a blanket as well to make sure my muscles stayed warm and it had the added benefit of making a comfortable poolside bed for resting in-between my events!
Something to do.
Our swim team spends a lot of time cheering on teammates. However, sometimes there can be some (or a LOT of) downtime – like events being delayed, etc. – it can’t hurt to tuck a book into a pocket of the swim bag. This also gives the team something to participate in together. Some of my fondest memories include playing ridiculous card games with my fellow teammates at meets. Trust me, this is a must have!
Change of clothes.
Kids will want to change after being in their swimsuits all day. Having a change of clothes or two, especially when it’s snowing outside, can be a lifesaver when you are a swimmer. The clothes that you lounge around in during a meet won’t necessarily work for the ride home or the current weather. It seems obvious, but I have forgotten this tip myself a time or two.
Most importantly, bring a positive attitude. Swimming is hard! It takes energy, dedication and a lot of practice. Meets are the time to put all your hard work on display and show off what you’ve got! It is important to encourage your swimmer, no matter what happens in their event, and keep up that positive attitude even when you’re on hour seven of the meet, and just really want to go home!
Now, swim on!