Masters Swimming Tips from the Coaches of the
Foothills Masters Swim Team

Note: new tips will be added regularly. Please check back.

Stroke Drill Descriptions

The Worlds' Simplest Diet

Hydration (Let's drink some water!)

The Worlds' Simplest Diet

There's more to swimming than simply showing up for practice.

You should supplement your swimming training with strength work, flexibility work, adequate rest, and the proper focus on nutrition. Each of these subjects will be the subject of continuing coverage in these ongoing "Tips". But today, we'll discuss a very simple way to approach your nutrition needs.

Talk to your food.

No, really, I'm serious. Here's how it works…

Each time you are about to ingest a food item, stop for a second and ask the food this simple question: "Dude, are you going to provide the kind of fuel that will make me a better swimmer?"

(OK, you don't have to call your baloney sandwich "Dude" if you don't want to…but you get the idea.)

Here are some examples of what happens when you ask that little question:

  • Buford Banana will answer in a smooth Harry Belafonte voice, saying "Why, sure thing, boss. I'm even going to give you minerals that will help protect against cramping. And 'tis my pleasure, mon."

  • Tommy the Twinkie will respond in a high-pitched squeaky voice and say, "Well, ya know I taste really good, but the truth is that you'd getter better nutrition from eating a discarded tube sock smeared with axle grease."

  • Cheryl the Chicken will say, "Mmmm….could be. Depends on how much other protein food you've eaten this week, and whether you nuked me, baked me, or coated me with those 11 delicious (but greasy) herbs and spices."

  • Doug the Donut will answer with a Dom DeLuise chuckle and then respond by saying, "My friend, you can trust me. I consist of nothing but the highest quality energy components, and will lead you to victory over all your opponents."

        (Be careful here; donuts are notorious liars.)

Of course, there's much more to the study of nutrition, but paying attention is half the battle. If we can break the routine of simply shovelling in the food, and instead get into the habit of carefully planning and monitoring our fuel intake, our performance will improve as a result.

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No, the word doesn't mean "eating an entire box of Hydrox cookies" -- it means that you're getting enough water. You don't notice it in the pool (like you would running, for example), but you sweat a lot during a workout. The water you lose through this cooling process needs to be replaced.

Therefore, you should always drink water during swim practice. Don't wait until you get thirsty -- by then you're already well past the point where you really should've re-hydrated. You should probably try to grab a gulp of water between each set, and sometimes during the set.

I'd suggest bringing a water bottle of some sort to every practice. While I use an old Gatorade bottle, some people prefer to use bicycle water bottles, or even a covered coffee cup. Some (like Kristi) may even bring a fancy designer bottle emblazoned with a bold proclamation about their personal hygiene practices (or lack thereof). Whatever works for you.

I do not recommend drinking caffeinated beverages before swimming. Coffee, tea, and soda, etc. do NOT promote healthy hydration -- water is much more effective. If you need that caffeine jolt to make it through the work day, I'd suggest you drink water before and during swimming, and then indulge your other desires after practice. Or maybe even cut back on those types of beverages. You'll feel better for it, I think.

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