The Ultimate Get Pumped Playlist for Meets

Photo Courtesy: Kelly Lennon

by Molly Lloyd, Swimming World Intern

Championship season is (almost) upon us, and that means it’s time to get pumped, get amped, and get focused. And what better way to get focused and in the zone than by listening to your favorite songs, playlists, and albums? Music knows the way to our hearts; whether it’s the lyrics, the beat, or the instrumental portions, some songs prove to be just what we need to prepare ourselves for a good meet.

These songs can help you get amped to sprint, help you set your pace for the mile, or pump you up enough to allow yourself to throw a front 1 1/2 full twist off of three meter; music is an undeniably important part of the meet experience. In order to help my fellow swimmers and divers, I have made what I would consider the Ultimate Meet Playlist*. Enjoy!

*All of these songs are either songs that personally pump me up or songs that my teammates have suggested to me. The quotes about these songs can be attributed to various teammates of mine. 

Jul 18, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Sierra Schmidt of the United States dances on the pool deck before competing in the women's swimming 800m freestyle final during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Pan Am Aquatics UTS Centre and Field House. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel/USA Today Sports Images

1. “Work This Body” by Walk the Moon – The tempo of this song is upbeat and peppy, but more importantly, the lyrics are encouraging and the perfect words to get you going about your competition. This song tells you to work your body until you beat everyone else fair and square. This song tells you that you are going to kick butt; as they say, “it’s not a matter of ‘if’, honey, it’s just a matter of ‘when.'”

2. “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger – This song – a song about a man who is institutionalized against his will – doesn’t really have anything to do with swimming or diving or winning in general, but the guitar part is incredible and it really builds over the course of the song. This song never fails to get me pumped and ready to do some tough dives.

3. “Chelsea Dagger” by The Fratellis – This is the kind of song that is easy to mindlessly sing along to, not worry about the lyrics, and just let the music itself power you through. The guitar and drums are powerful, the lyrics are loud, and it’s incredibly easy to rock out to this song on the deck.

4. “Gas Pedal” by Sage the Gemini – As my teammate once said about this song, “wigglin’ butts motivates me.” If you like to shake it out – or dance it out – behind the blocks, “Gas Pedal” is the perfect pre-race song for you. Get down with this song and let it get you through your meet.


Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

5. “Sugar We’re Goin Down” by Fall Out Boy – After suggesting this song to me, I asked for a short explanation, to which my teammate responded, “I shouldn’t have to explain it.” For those of you who still need an explanation, this song – which came out when many of us college students were in middle school — is a classic Fall Out Boy song with all the classic Fall Out Boy qualities: emo lyrics that you can’t really understand, yelling, and intense guitar – everything you need to get pumped.

6. “Bigger Than Me” by The Game – One of my teammates describe the feeling that this song gives you perfectly: it “basically makes you wanna beat up everyone near you”, and honestly, sometimes that’s exactly what you need. These people are your competition and – even though you should never actually beat any of them up – sometimes, just the sheer desire to beat them can be enough to power you through a meet.

7. “I’mma Shine” from the Step Up Soundtrack – Another teammate of mine suggested this song to me by saying, “Because I am a winner and the song tells me so.” We all need to believe that we’re winners – this kind of confidence is something we all need to encourage ourselves that we are able to overcome any obstacle and kick butt in whatever event we’re doing.

8. “Stronger” by Kanye West – Listening to this song should make you feel stronger (heh) than you ever did before. Kanye says it better than anyone else, “N-now th-that that don’t kill me / Can only make me stronger.” All of your practicing and lifting hasn’t killed you yet, and because of that, you are definitely stronger. Use that strength to power through your meet.

Power Posing 2:Eric Chrisitan Smith for Kenyon College

Photo Courtesy: Eric Cristian Smith for Kenyon College

9. “In Too Deep” by Sum 41 – I first heard this song while watching Cheaper by the Dozen and it still resonates with me. Sometimes we definitely think we’re in too deep when it comes to the amount of time and energy we’ve committed to swimming and diving. The lyrics accurately represent how we all sometimes feel while in the pool: “‘Cause I’m in too deep, and I’m trying to keep  / Up above in my head, instead of going under.” Those lyrics on top of some killer energy makes this song a great song to which to get amped.

10. “Wicked Wonderland” by Martin Tungevaag – When it comes to this song, my older sister said it best, “It’s quick, with a good beat that makes me want to dance. And generally, when I want to dance, I can get myself going in the pool pretty well.” This is another one of those songs that gets people dancing, which can be really helpful when it gets time to get in the pool.

11. “Turbulence” by Steve Aoki and Laidback Luke ft. Lil Jon – While the lyrics of this song are ridiculous, the beat and drop of “Turbulence” are the exact kind of ridiculousness we need to get ourselves going. This song has a fast tempo that can really get you moving on deck and give you the energy and confidence you need to perform well.

12. “I Can Lift A Car” by Walk the Moon – While not a very energetic song, this song appeals to those who appreciate inspirational lyrics. This song builds really well and reminds us that we are strong with the lyrics, “I can lift a car up all by myself.”

13. “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root – In my experience, this song has always been a crowd favorite, and is always accompanied by multiple people screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs. The lyrics are incredibly hard to understand, but somehow, when this song is on, we find ourselves singing along and feeling like we’re on some sort of adventure towards greatness.


Photo Courtesy: Alese Halvorson

14. “Brain Stew” by Green Day – This is one of those songs that never fails to get me going and get me excited. The guitar part at the beginning is loud and powerful and almost angry, in a way. This song makes me feel confident and powerful and absolutely on top of the world. This song will make you want to put all of your effort into your event; it will make you want to succeed.

15. “My Body” by Young the Giant – The lyrics of this song explains it all: “My body tells me ‘no’ / But I won’t quite / Cause I want more.” This song really tells you to push yourself, because who knows what kind of greatness is waiting for you at the end of that event.

16. “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce – This is for everyone who needs a little bit of girl power to get them in the zone. According to Beyonce, we run the world and because of that, it’s only fair to assume that we also run whatever meet we’re in. This song lets us know that we are powerful and in control, so we should put everything we have into our performance.

17. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – Often regarded as one of the best songs of 2015, “Uptown Funk” just makes you want to stop and dance wherever you’re standing. With an incredible rhythm and funky beat, this song will never fail to lighten the mood and get you zoned into whatever race you’re about to swim or dive you’re about to do.

There you have it, 17 songs, at least a few of which are guaranteed (depending on your taste in music) to pump you up during your next meet. Leave a comment and let us know what your favorite pump up/motivational songs are!

Use Spotify to listen to this playlist here.


  1. Eli Barba

    Gabriela Jimenez Peon Sharo Rodriguez ya vieron quien es la de la foto…

  2. Dennis Simonov

    Trying this playlist on my next meet

  3. avatar

    My fav pump ups:
    Eminem: business
    Eninem:not afraid
    Europe:The final countdown
    Vince Dicola: training montage (rocky 4)
    Kanye West: Amazing
    Fort Minor :remember the name
    Eminem:lose yourself
    Tomoyasu Hotei: battle without honour or humanity (Kill Bill)

  4. Justin Karpinos

    Kenyon College Swimming and Diving, nice KC photo in the article, plus two WALK THE MOON songs on this list. Dig it!