Ten Songs to Spice Up Your Pre-Race Playlist

Danny-Whirlow-Screaming2.0 (1)
Photo Credit: Steph Chambers / Trib Total Media

By Danny Whirlow, Swimming World College Intern. 

Every swimmer has their own pre-race ritual. You know, those stretches you do in the same order before every race? Or perhaps you recite a meaningful prayer. Or, you might not do anything at all – you’re loose and unperturbed by superstitions. Regardless of what you choose to do or not do, it is common for swimmers to pick a certain song or playlist to jam out to before a big race. But what happens when your ritual becomes stale and the songs you once loved now bore you? Here are 10 interesting songs to keep your playlist fresh and exciting.

10. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) by Journey

Steve Perry just has a voice that makes you want to sing your lungs out. Space-age synths and thunderous drums are the pillars of this arena-rock hit. Feel them pulsate through your muscles as you get fired up for race day!

9. The Way You Used to Do by Queens of the Stone Age

Fuzzed out guitars will inject a sugary sensation into your ear drums when you tune in to this song. In the words of frontman Josh Homme, “It’s got an urgency without an emergency.” It calls on you to seize the moment, which is essential for grounding yourself before a big race.

8. Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine

Another songwriter that seeks to drown out the noise of the past, Florence Welch heralds the coming of victory in the face of stagnation. Let this dynamic song’s driving drums and melodious harp invigorate you and fuel your desire for success.

7. Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice

While one could argue Queen’s Under Pressure is the superior use of the bass line, Vanilla Ice’s application is downright infectious. With lyrics oozing with confidence, dance away any nerves you may have. Rock that block like a vandal.

6. The Ecstasy of Gold by Ennio Morricone

This orchestral arrangement will make you feel as cool as Clint Eastwood. Not as bombastic or groovy as other songs on this list, it trades rhythmic beats for sweeping violins and operatic vocals. It’s perfect to listen to between events to wind down from the previous race and slowly build to the next one.

5. Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash

With one of the most iconic riffs of all time, this hit by The Only Band That Matters is full of punk rock swagger. Maybe just don’t pay too close of attention to the lyrics.

4. Shell Shocked by Juicy J & Wiz Khalifa

This song is in your face from the start, bouncing with electronic beats and clever rhymes. The family-focused lyrics also make it a great song to blast behind the blocks with your teammates before a relay.

3. Work Song by Hozier

Sometimes the best cure for race day nerves is not the energetic bop of rock ‘n roll or hip-hop but the sweet, subdued melodies of folk. Irish singer-songwriter Hozier has these in spades. Work Song‘s subtle hum and Hozier’s deep voice will soothe your soul and reverberate through your body like a heartbeat.

2. The Middle by Jimmy Eat World

The beauty of this song is in its simplicity. The consistent and driving pace of the guitars make it a solid choice to get a pace in your head before a long distance event, and Jim Adkins‘ straightforward lyrics are a blast to sing along to.

1. Thunderstruck by AC/DC

This song could be considered the culmination of every song on this list. Confident from the start, it builds from a simple riff supported by boisterous drums to a screeching guitar solo and a roaring chorus. It begs to be turned up to eleven, where its energy is felt best. Crank it up and rock out before your race!

What songs do you like to jam out too on your playlists?

For more music-related swimming content, check out these articles:

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

9 comments

  1. Bob McKeon

    Try Bruce Springsteen’s “Badlands” – we used to pump it into the pool when working out

  2. Doug Schack

    You’ve been……THUNDERSTRUCK!!!!

  3. avatar
    Sarah Noll

    If you don’t have Thunderstruck on your playlist wyd lol

  4. Kale Kirchner

    Jen Yarber Krahl Jennifer Kirchner Tori Krahl Carrie Ziolkowski

  5. David Reynolds

    “Sent to destroy”. By combichrist or pretty much any thing else from them

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.