Swim Nutrition for Competition

Your competition nutrition is about maintaining energy levels and staying hydrated through out the meet. Eating and drinking regularly throughout the competition will help keep your energy levels topped up, help you to maintain your focus and concentration and prevent you from getting tired, helping you to swim to the best of your ability.

Choose food and drinks you use for your training schedule avoid trying new food and drink items as they may cause stomach upset or you may not like them and this may affect your performance.

Eat and drink well on the days leading up to competition.

Pre Event

2-4 hours before competition have a high carbohydrate low fat meal, such as:

Large bowl of cereal with low fat milk with chopped banana/dried fruit + glass of fruit juice.
Toast/bagel/rolls with jam/honey/banana/beans/egg + low fat fruit yoghurt + glass of fruit juice.

Pasta/rice/potato or noodle based meals (as per training meals).

Sandwich with low fat filling + cereal bar and a large glass of milk.

Drink ~500-1000ml of fluid. E.g. Water, squash hot, milk, fruit juice, hot drinks

Between Heats/Semi Finals/Finals

Choose carbohydrate foods and drinks that are easily absorbed if you have short intervals between events. Choose longer lasting carbohydrate foods in longer intervals. This will make sure your body has digested these foods in time to provide you with the energy you need for your event and avoid any stomach upset.

Longer than 2 hours before you swim

Carbohydrate based meal e.g. baked potato with beans, Sandwich/rolls, pasta/rice dish with a serving of protein e.g. tuna, chicken, hummus etc. Keep fluid levels topped up by having a drink regularly and every time you eat e.g. sports drinks, water, full sugar squash.

30-60 minutes before you swim

Cereal bars, fruit, pancake, fruit bread, malt loaf, jaffa cakes, fig rolls, bagels, crumpets.

Less than 30 minutes before you swim

Sports drinks, fruit juice or full sugar squash, jelly babies, wine gums, well ripened banana.


Have a snack within 30 minutes of finishing the competition e.g. cereal bar, malt loaf, sandwich, pot of low fat custard or rice pudding or any of snacks from above. Follow this up with a carbohydrate based meal ideally within 2 hours containing a source of protein e.g. chicken pasta, lean meat and potatoes, low fat lamb curry with rice, fish pie.