Wellness Wednesday: 5 Fundamental Recovery Tactics to Keep You Swimming at Your Best


Wellness Wednesday: 5 Fundamental Recovery Tactics to Keep You Swimming at Your Best

Rest and recovery are two of the most important assets to swimming at your peak, especially during a four-day long championship meet. With many collegiate conference meets coming up this month, it is a good time to cover some of the most effective recovery methods so that swimmers can perform at their best.

Appropriate Warmdown

Warming down immediately after a race is essential for swimmers so that they can flush out lactic acid, relax their muscles and bring down their heart rate. There is no specific or perfect amount of warmdown that swimmers need to complete in order to get out of the pool. Everybody’s bodies are different, and some people might feel like they need more or less warmdown time than someone else depending on how long their race was or how they feel afterward. The key to warming down is doing enough so that your body feels loose and recovered, and your heart rate is back down to a normal level. Someone who swims the 50 freestyle might not need to warm down as much as someone who swims the 400 IM. Doing less warmdown does not mean that you did not work as hard as somebody else, it just means that your body might not need as much to get back to feeling rested and recovered. Feeling stiff, tight, or sore are all consequences of not warming down enough or waiting too long after your race to get back in the pool to recover. Feeling this way during a championship meet could hinder your performance when it comes time to swim the next race.

Ice Bath

Taking an ice bath after you have already raced and warmed down is a great way to reduce muscle soreness, decrease inflammation and improve blood flow to your tissues. Swimmers typically spend 5-10 minutes in the ice bath as a part of their recovery process. Although sitting in the cold water does not sound ideal, it is a beneficial way to recover your body so that you feel ready to go for your next race.

Massage/ Normatec

Some teams might not have the ability to bring a masseuse to their championship meet, but for teams who do, it is well worth taking the time to get a massage before or after each session. Typically, each massage lasts about 10 minutes, and swimmers can choose which areas they want the masseuse to focus on. Getting a massage before you swim helps get your muscles stretched out and warmed up to race. The benefits of a massage post-race include, relaxation, improved blood circulation, decreased inflammation and reduced soreness. For teams who do not have a masseuse, using Normatec Compression boots are a great alternative. The Normatec has similar benefits that a massage has such as, enhanced blood circulation, reduced soreness and a fast recovery.

Cherry Juice

Drinking a bottle of cherry juice after racing can improve sleep and reduce muscle soreness and inflammation. Cherry juice is filled with nutrients like potassium and iron. Typically, swimmers consume about 8 ounces of tart cherry juice after each swimming session. Some swimmers like to drink their cherry juice as they warm down after their race.


Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things to do not only at a big meet, but also throughout the entire season. Sleep is so important for swimmers so that they can rest and regain their energy. Not getting enough rest could lead swimmers to feel sick and weak because they aren’t giving themselves time to fully recover. At a championship meet, it is fundamental to go to bed early so that you can recharge your body for the next day of racing. Some swimmers might find it beneficial to nap between prelim and final sessions so that they are ready to go for their evening swims!


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Matthew Sawyer
Matthew Sawyer
3 months ago

Wish I had these tips when I was swimming as a youth and thru HS. Thanks Edie for helping to educate swimmers on the benefits of these tips.

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