10 Activities to Try Between Prelims and Finals  


10 Activities to Try Between Prelims and Finals  

Making finals is exciting for any swimmer. Due to the way USA Swimming club meets are generally structured, however, swimmers can have many hours between sessions, and are sometimes unsure how to spend their down time. Below are 10 things to consider doing between prelims and finals that can help your finals swim at night, whether directly or not. Every swimmer is different, but the below list can give you inspiration the next time you find yourself with hours between swims.

Eat and Drink

While this list is in no particular order, eating a good meal (or two) may be the most important thing to do between sessions. Find good, nutritious food that has plenty of calories and protein to help you recover. At the end of the day, hydrating and eating healthy food that you like is a critical factor to keep in mind. 


Some people swear by naps between prelims and finals. While it may not be necessary for all swimmers, a restorative nap between sessions can be rejuvenating. Sleep can aid recovery, and reset your body.


Stretching is important to get the body ready for another session, and ready to go for an even better race. Follow the guidance of your coach or trainer on the best stretching exercises for you.

Physical Recovery

Recovery is key, and activities such as rolling out, or taking an ice bath can be important for recovering from the prelims session. Any kind of recovery technique that works for you can and should be done between sessions. This way, you will have plenty of energy for finals.

Don’t Think About Swimming

While this is not a tip that works for everyone, some people do best when not overthinking the upcoming race by focusing on other activities to keep the pressure off. For instance, try low-energy activities such as watching a movie or reading a book to help you conserve energy for finals. These activities can take your focus off swimming and allow your mind to reset for finals.

Analyze Your Morning Swims

On the other hand, some people do well thinking a lot about swimming between sessions. If you have a video of the race from that morning, it could help to analyze what you could do to improve and apply your coaches’ feedback. Or, it could reinforce what you did well. Then, you can come into finals with a gameplan and ready for an even better race at night.

Be Productive

Activities such as doing homework or ticking things off your to-do list can help stimulate the mind, in a way that is unrelated to swimming. By using your time to be productive in other ways, you can feel good about how you spent your time, and use that positive energy to swim better in finals.

Watch a Movie

Additionally, low-energy activities such as watching a movie or reading a book, can help you conserve energy for finals, and take your focus off swimming and allow your mind to reset for finals.

Go Sightseeing

Many prelims/finals meets are travel meets, so exploring a potentially unfamiliar place could be a fun way to pass the time. Whether it’s shopping, or walking around, sightseeing between sessions is another great, low-energy option. 

Listen to Music

Listening to music is a low-energy activity to get you pumped up for the upcoming session, and mentally lock in. Maybe you have a lucky song, or just listening to your favorite music can make you happy and excited. Everyone knows that a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer, and music is a great tool to get you ready for some fast finals swims.

Post your comments below to let us know how you spend your time between sessions.

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