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Swimming Nutrition for Competitions

Nutrition is very important for swimming athletes, particularly prior to and during competitions. What you eat leading up to your race can have a big impact on your performance, and if you are like many and need to race several times during a competition, your nutritional recovery between races is also very important. The information below is based on a standard competition that has swimming heats in the morning session, and finals later in the day.

Some Tips for Preparation

Swimming race Swimming race

Morning of Competition


What should swimmers eat if they have to return for a final that night? An ideal lunch is a carbohydrate-based meal, with protein optional. The meal should not be too large, as the swimmer should be relying on smaller snacks to top up fuel stores.


More snack ideas

Fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit tubs, cereal bars, milk drinks, low-fat yogurt tubs, low-fat custard tubs, pikelets, pancakes, dry crackers like vitawheats, cruskits, rice crackers with jam/jelly, or low-fat dips.

More Questions

Dinner (at end of day)

Evening meals can be prepared earlier at the lunchtime break, so athletes can eat immediately on returning. Eat as much as can be tolerated with bedtime close. A balance of carbohydrates (2/4) and protein (1/4 - 100-150g) with the rest vegetables (hopefully). Quantity can be slightly less than their usual meal size, as the swimmers will have eaten more snacks during the day to cover total energy needs. The amount consumed will also depend on the athlete's energy expenditure over the competition day, and their basal energy needs which vary between individuals.

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