The Benefits of Drinking Coffee for Swimmers


The Benefits of Drinking Coffee for Swimmers

Coffee—you either love it, or you hate it. Some people will live by the powerful effects of coffee, while others are disgusted by its unique taste.

Caffeine, the main stimulating chemical in coffee, provides several benefits to those who ingest it. Users report feelings of alertness, improved mood, and increased energy. Surprisingly, caffeine has been shown to boost sport performance too.

For swimmers, potential advantages in the pool should never be overlooked. Here are some reasons why adding coffee and caffeine to your pre-swim rituals may boost your performance.


The International Society of Sports Nutrition highlights the benefits of caffeine for endurance athletes in their official position on the matter. They note that caffeine boosts endurance during sustained high-output exercise, especially for time trial performance. These benefits of caffeine apply directly to swimmers, who are extreme endurance athletes that are constantly on the clock.

More studies show that caffeine can boost endurance. Caffeine given to cyclists proved to extend their ride times to exhaustion by 28%. Cyclists are similar to swimmers, in that each type of athlete maintains incredible cardiovascular and endurance fitness.

Even low doses of caffeine result in performance enhancing effects. The International Society of Sports Nutrition agrees, stating: “Caffeine is effective for enhancing sport performance in trained athletes when consumed in low-to-moderate dosages and overall does not result in further enhancement in performance when consumed in higher dosages.” This means that consuming just a single cup of coffee may improve performance.


Coffee and caffeine are notorious for their ability to wake you up. This perceived increase in energy is felt when caffeine starts to work through your body. When caffeine enters the bloodstream, your body reacts by increasing its heart rate and blood pressure.

The jolt of energy comes from your body releasing a hormone called adrenaline. A release of this chemical triggers the “fight or flight” response, preparing your body to face whatever lies ahead.

As most swimmers are aware, adrenaline is key to getting prepared for a big swim. Although adrenaline usually spikes due to a big crowd or a big moment, consuming coffee can also light up your body’s adrenal response. This can be especially useful for practices, when the environment is not as hype as a competition. Taking advantage of caffeine’s energy boosting properties may take your next big practice or swim to the next level.


Caffeine is found in other sources than coffee. For example, energy drinks, tea, and soda all contain varying levels of caffeine. However, not all of these sources should be considered healthy. Many sources of caffeine have ridiculous amounts of sugar. One bottle of cola has almost double the amount of sugar that the American Heart Association recommends as daily added sugar intake.

Because coffee by itself has no sugar and zero calories, it is far healthier than many sugar-rich caffeine sources. Plus, coffee is abundant in antioxidants, which helps reduce oxidative stress. All in all, coffee is one of the healthier choices when it comes to caffeine intake.

Whether consuming coffee pre-meet or pre-practice, swimmers should take full advantage of its performance-enhancing benefits.

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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Liz Dempsey
3 years ago

Katie Dempsey

Michael Hollowell
3 years ago

I love coffee but cant drink it before time in the pool. My heart rate gets too elevated.

Adriana Silva
3 years ago

Andrea Waisenberg

Andrea Waisenberg
3 years ago
Reply to  Adriana Silva

Adriana Silva o que vc acha q tem na minha garrafinha? Hehehe…?

Rachael Bronner Kaplan

My swimmer loves her black iced coffee before practice

Susan Strickland Scruggs

Emma Scruggs

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