Having Fun: Why Relaxing Before a Meet Can Benefit Swimmers

Ryan Murphy

Having Fun: Why Relaxing Before a Meet Can Benefit Swimmers

Chasing a specific time can be exhausting.

Frustrating. Saddening. Annoying. All these words can be used to describe a slower race that some swimmers will only see as “bad.” When in sharp pursuit of a faster time, it can be easy to lose sight of how… well, fun… swimming can really be.

It’s impossible to get a best time in every swim. In fact, even the best swimmers in the world don’t always have “fast” races. (With the word “fast” being subjective to the swimmer, of course). So, why let a slow time ruin a perfectly good meet? Even if top times are not in the cards for a meet, that is no reason why swimmers should give up on that particular meet. One race does not define a swim career and it can still be possible to have a good swim after a “bad” race.

And, having fun and relaxing for a while can even be the key that young swimmers need in order to finally meet some of those goal times!

Listen to Music

Many of the world’s best swimmers listen to music before their races. Even Michael Phelps was frequently seen in headphones. So, if the best-of-the-best listen to tunes before their races, why shouldn’t everyone?

“Music can help us focus so we can concentrate on positive thoughts or important stimuli related to what we were about to take on. But that’s not all, music can also be invigorating and make us feel euphoric, which to some extent can have a positive impact on performance,” Arena Swim writes on their online website.

Music helps people relax. It brings out happy memories and can help motivate people. Also, music can psychologically help athletes to become more “pumped up” for a race.

Another added bonus is that music helps to distract athletes, causing them to focus on something other than the water. This distraction can reduce unnecessary stress and can cause swimmers to feel more confident and rested before facing their races.

Hang Out With The Team

Everyone feels nervous at a meet. Especially if it’s a close meet where every race matters. This means that – more often than not – many swimmers feel pressure of stress at some point during the meet. It can be very beneficial to lighten up this collective sense of unease by playing games, talking to, or simply being around the other swimmers.

Swimmers support each other. Swimming functions as an individual sport that also had important team aspects to it. Because of this, swimmers can be some of the most supportive and understanding friends.

Feeling stressed before a hard meet? Someone else had likely been in that same position before. Feeling pressure to perform well? A friend can help out by playing a game of charades. Feeling frustrated by a long plateau? The team has just the “fight song” to help out!

There are tons of ways that swimmers can loosen up in the pre-met hours. And it doesn’t have to be in an active way either. Even just being near other people can serve as a distraction from someone’s own thoughts.

Remember That A Bad Race Isn’t the End

There are a lot of things that swimmers can learn from their races, even if some aren’t the fastest. The important things to remember is that these races do not define a swimming career.

Should they be forgotten? No. Should they be dwelled on, picked apart piece by piece until they cloud the rest of the meet? Also no. Finding a happy medium is extremely important when dealing with a disappointing swim. After a “bad” race, swimmers should learn from their mistakes and move forward. That way, valuable knowledge is gained, but the memory of the poor race does not cloud the rest of the meet.

Moving forward, swimmers should work on their mindset before the race. Whether they relax by listening to music, or hang out with with excited friends, having a pre-meet plan is always a good option. Above all, however, swimmers should remember to be positive and enjoy their sport!

Every swimmer loves the water in some capacity and it’s important to not lose that love to a disappointing race.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Conner Higginbotham
2 months ago

This really helped me I always had a rough time after id get a slower time than usual when feeling tons of pressure..thank you!!

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Bob Niebauer telephone
2 months ago

Ms. Dunn said, “Above all, however, swimmers should remember to be positive and enjoy their sport!”

The same could be said for life itself. Stay positive and enjoying each day always makes good sense!

Thanks for the advice, Riley.

I enjoyed your article!

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Rosemary Niebauer
2 months ago

We all need to learn to relax! I really like the idea of listening to music. Great advice for swimmers and great advice for life!! Another informative and good article.

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