Swimming World November 2021 Presents – Mental Prep: Before the Beep with David Curtiss

Swimming World November 2021 - Mental Prep - Before the Beep with David Curtiss
[PHOTO BY PETER H. BICK]

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Mental Prep: Before the Beep with David Curtiss

By Shoshanna Rutemiller

Three-time U.S. national team member and 50 freestyle national high school record holder David Curtiss has achieved incredible feats, but has also faced disappointing losses. Curtiss became one of the fastest sprinters ever when he clocked an incredible 19.11 in the 50 yard free last March as the lead-off swimmer on Pennington School’s 200 freestyle relay.

After the high school senior’s performance, all eyes were focused on Curtiss at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. But he admits that he was out of his element in Omaha. It was his first time competing at Trials against the biggest names in the sport, and his mental game wasn’t on point.

Upon reflection, Curtiss felt that “Olympic Trials was not my meet. I didn’t perform to the standard I knew I could. It was great to experience the distinction of the people there and the cameras and lights. So in that aspect, it was successful because it helped me shake off the ‘newbie’ vibes.”

Still, the 18-year-old finished sixth in the 50 meter freestyle, which would seem to portend great things for the North Carolina State freshman. For now, he is taking things one step at a time and moving at a reasonable pace with the ultimate “end of the tunnel” being the Olympics.

Now 19, Curtiss took time to discuss his personal mental preparation with Swimming World. From the self-proclaimed “superstitious” pre-race day rituals to the need to keep his mind “blank,” Curtiss gives us some insight into the mind of a world-class sprint phenom.

HOTEL
Curtiss is a man of habit. Once he found the routine that worked for him to get centered and focused before a big race, he stuck with it.

“The night before (a big event), I have my superstitious rituals,” says Curtiss. “I eat the same meal, go to bed at the same time, indulge in a nice soap bath and listen to some music.”

His go-to meal is salmon with fries and broccoli from a nearby chain restaurant. He started eating this meal as a kid before his races, felt like it worked, and continued to do it. Bedtime is between 7 and 8 p.m. so he can prime his body with 12 hours of sleep.

“(Sleeping) is more of a mental thing. I like knowing that sleep isn’t a problem going into the next day of racing. Four- or five-day meets take a toll on you mentally.”

Curtiss recognizes that the same routine helps him decompress and take his mind off the next day. Like so many swimmers, consistency means there is one less thing to worry about in an already high-stress environment.

To read more about how U.S. National Team member David Curtiss mentally prepares for a big meet,
Click here to download the full November issue of Swimming World Magazine, available now!

Swimming World November 2021 - Ana Marcela Cunha - Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year - COVER [PHOTO BY KAREEM ELGAZZAR / USA TODAY SPORTS]

 

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FEATURES

012 2021 OPEN WATER SWIMMERS OF THE YEAR
by Dan D’Addona and David Rieder
Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha and Germany’s Florian Wellbrock both captured Olympic gold in Tokyo and repeated as the world’s elite open water swimmers in both 2019 and 2021.

014 2021 OPEN WATER HIGHLIGHTS
by Dan D’Addona
Although the Tokyo Olympic Games commanded the spotlight in 2021, there were many other open water highlights throughout the year.

018 ISHOF FEATURE: AQUATOTS MURDER CASE—THE KATHY TONGAY STORY (Part 2)
by Bruce Wigo
This is the second of a three-part story about “The Aquatots Murder Case” that first appeared in the October issue of Swimming World. It is about Kathy Tongay, a little girl whose father, Russell, had been training her almost from birth to be an expert diver and swimmer. When she died at the age of 5, her father was arrested for murdering his daughter.

022 PERHAPS OVERLOOKED…BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
by John Lohn
As we creep closer to signing off on this Olympic year, Swimming World offers a look at six athletes—all members of the International Swimming Hall of Fame—who hold a special place in history, even if they are not always at the forefront of the mind.

025 CONTINUING TO MAKE AN IMPACT
by David Rieder
Anthony Nesty’s accomplishments as a swimmer in the late 1980s and ’90s made him a national icon. But decades after that, he is still making a huge impact on the sport from a different vantage point—as a coach.

028 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH DAVID CURTISS
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

030 NUTRITION: THE IMPORTANCE OF IRON—LOW MEANS SLOW!
by Dawn Weatherwax
Iron is a mineral that directly impacts performance.

COACHING

016 COACHING IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT (Part 1)
by Michael J. Stott
In the first of two articles, Swimming World explores how coaches and administrators coped with the recent unpleasantness of COVID-19.

036 SPECIAL SETS: AUDREY DERIVAUX—KILLER QUEEN
by Michael J. Stott
Young Audrey Derivaux of Jersey Wahoos has turned in comparable times to the 11-12 age group superstars who have excelled before her.

040 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: DISTRUST IN SWIMMING SCIENCE IS NOT A MYSTERY
by Rod Havriluk
The fact that general scientific information is routinely ignored provides some perspective about the difficulty in applying science to the sport of swimming. While a single technique element cannot guarantee success, American Lydia Jacoby’s Olympic victory suggests that using science can provide a competitive advantage.

042 SPECIAL SETS: DANIEL DIEHL—DEFINITELY DRIVEN
by Michael J. Stott
Daniel Diehl, 15, of the Cumberland YMCA Sea Otters is Maryland’s—and the nation’s—top-ranked male swimmer in the Class of 2024. In recent months, he has either broken or knocked on the door of several national age group records. In October, as the youngest male on the U.S. National Junior Team, he notched seven top 10 individual finishes at the FINA World Cup meets in Germany and Hungary.

044 Q&A WITH SWIM IRELAND’S NATIONAL PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR JON RUDD
by Michael J. Stott

045 HOW THEY TRAIN IRISH OLYMPIAN DARRAGH GREENE
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

039 DRYSIDE TRAINING: BACK TO BASICS (Part 2)
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

047 | UP & COMERS: AVA BUHRMAN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

007 THE OFFICIAL WORD

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

009 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT “DO YOU KNOW THAT….”?

032 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

048 GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

 

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