6 Ways Swimmers Pass Time at Meets

Swim Meet - Passing Time

6 Ways Swimmers Pass Time at Meets

Anyone who’s attended a swim meet (swimmer or otherwise) knows the struggle of finding activities to keep themselves busy in between races. A swimmer may spend three days, five sessions, and twenty hours within the walls of a natatorium in one weekend. During that time, they could end up racing for minutes. In all that extra time, swimmers have to get crafty with keeping themselves occupied.

Cheering for Teammates

Supporting your friends and teammates as they race is a great way to spend down time at a meet. Especially at the finals of a big meet, the atmosphere can get pretty wild. Standing at the end of a lane and screaming for your teammate to go faster is a way to be supportive and get excited about your own race. Even if it’s not finals, it’s always fun to leave the team area and go give some positive energy to anyone who may need it. Maybe a younger swimmer is doing the 200 butterfly for the first time and they’re super nervous for it: seeing a teammate as they turn could give them just the boost they need.

Fueling Up

If there’s one thing you can find any swimmer doing at a meet, it’s eating, eating again, and then eating some more. The “no eating 30 minutes before you swim” rule simply does not apply to swimmers. Even if it’s just an energy bar or applesauce, there is no doubt swimmers will be chowing down whenever they get the chance.

Getting In Some Extra Laps

Even though someone might only spend a handful of minutes in the competition pool, a dedicated athlete will make sure to get additional time warming up and cooling down. When there isn’t a warmup pool available, rolling and dynamic stretching can be ways swimmers prepare for their next race.


There’s not always enough time in between races to get sleep, but a swimmer will likely take every chance they get. Even if it means an uncomfortable power nap on some bleachers, it’s an ideal way to pass the time. When the team area is on a gym floor and there are blankets available, the naps just get better.

Listening to Music; Scrolling Through Your Phone; Watching Videos

When there is true down time for a swimmer – no one to cheer for, stretching completed, snacks eaten, and naps napped – athletes might resort to their phones. They may put in some earbuds and get in the zone with music. They could endlessly scroll through Instagram, or play their favorite game. Perhaps they take the time to catch up on some TV shows or YouTube videos. It’s not the best or most interesting way to pass time, but it can occasionally be a nice way to just relax in the middle of competition.

Messing Around With Friends

Perhaps the most enjoyable way to pass time at a swim meet is to simply hang out with your teammates and friends. You can play card games, pass a ball around, or exchange the latest gossip. Whatever it is, bonding with your team is the easiest and most efficient way to spend time at a meet. What helps truly make swimming a team sport are those in-between moments that you share with your buddies.

Anyone who doesn’t swim may find it hard to believe how little time is spent actually competing at long meets. For swimmers, however, it’s just second nature. When people look back on their favorite swim meet moments, they’re probably more likely to remember a moment spent with teammates than the races they swam or the times they went.

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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