Tips for staying calm before a big meet

A successful race starts with staying relaxed.

A successful race starts with staying relaxed.

Being relaxed and loose in the water is the key to speed, and getting to that point starts before you put on your racing swimsuit. When you are stressed or nervous, your muscles may start to tighten, and you'll have a disappointing performance.

The following are a few tips to keep you calm before your next big race: 

  • Break down the race process - It can be easy to over think a race. When this happens, before you know it, getting to one side of the pool and back seems like a daunting task. You can clear your brain of these fears by visualizing each point of your race. How will you dive? How many dolphin kicks will you execute? When will you take your first breath? You should imagine the swim in such detail that the process will be automatic once you mount the block. 
  • Engage in activities that keep you focused – While some swimmers need to be alone listening to music, others prefer to joke around with friends to stay relaxed. After racing regularly, you will begin to figure out what works best for you.
  • Ignore competitors - If you are like most swimmers, you've probably gazed across the pool a few times and gotten mesmerized  by the warm-up routine of one of your competitors. While looking at them, you begin to doubt your own skills. During moments like these, you should direct your focus inward and think about the hard work that got you to this point.
  • Review previous successful races – Think about your best races and think about which pre-swim rituals they had in common and apply them to future races.