Typically, there are several fall swim meets available for swimmers to attend. The week prior to your meet is a critical time to tweak areas of your swimming. Consider these 10 tweaks while preparing for your upcoming meets. I hope they produce many treats!!
- Prepare your goal sheets. Be sure to include both technique and strategy goals. Review them each day before practice and focus on them during your training time.
- Practice your starts to the best of your ability. Do not goof off when you have the chance to dive off the block.
- Focus on red zones. Hopefully you are in the habit of swimming fast from the flags, into the wall, and back out to the flags. Know your stroke count in each stroke and practice counting it in your head. The wall is the best place drop time on events. You have to practice going fast into the wall so it will feel natural during your races.
- Sprint the most difficult laps on the longer distance events. For example, on a 100 Freestyle, sprint the 3rd 25. On a 200, sprint the 3rd and the 7th. Practice doing that in practice and you will feel more comfortable during a race.
- Streamline. Streamlining can be perfected by anyone. Please don't neglect practicing this technique perfectly off of every wall. Keep your head down and squeeze your biceps. Don't forget strong, powerful, and fast dolphin kicks.
- Practice your finishes. Ask your teammates to move over so you can practice your finish every time you have the opportunity. Hold your breath from the flags into the wall. Taking breaths takes time and you WILL add time if you breathe during those last moments into the wall.
- Listen to your coaches. Try to hear everything they say and apply it to your swimming. "Coaches are your mirror!" Bob Bowman (Michael Phelps' Coach)
- Practice perfect. Don't be sloppy. Your muscles have memory. They memorize the stroke that you swim over and over. The memory work shows up in your races. A beautiful race will prove you practiced beautifully. A sloppy race will show everyone you were sloppy during practice.
- Eat well. Remember that what you eat (and drink) today will be swimming tomorrow. It's as simple as that.
- Rest well. Go to bed on time. Try to relax. Take it easy the day before the meet, and of course, during the meet.
Bonus: Visualize yourself racing. Olympians use visualization as a key component to success. Read more about Michael Phelps and visualization here.