By Alexandra Kouzas, Junior Coach, MV1
The home stretch is upon us, as the swimmers begin to prepare for their final week into the biggest meet of the season… Provincials! As exciting and nerve wrecking as this may be, it becomes important to stay calm, focused, and keep to the same routine. Below are some key tips to make sure you are 100% prepared for the upcoming meet!
From now until the end of the meet you need to make sure you are getting enough sleep EVERY night. It is normal to have pre-meet nerves, where you are unable to fall asleep the night before. This is when your back-up sleep from all the previous nights comes in handy to make sure you still have enough energy to perform throughout the meet. If you are someone who likes to sleep in late, this should be the week where you start preparing your body for an earlier wake up. You can do this by getting to bed earlier and waking up the same time you would on meet day, so that by the time the actual meet day arrives, you are able to wake with ease and perform your best during the heats to secure a spot for finals.
2.) Keep your diet surprise-free
This is not the week to be eating out and trying new food. The last thing you want is to end up getting food poisoning before the meet – the same goes for during the meet. Try to pack food and drinks from home, avoiding concession items and other fast food that you might want to grab on your way home after a long day at the pool. This is also not the time to start a new diet/food routine, since you never know how your body is going to respond to these changes, so stick to what you are used to. Also, make sure to drink and eat enough throughout the meet, again to increase your chances of having the best performance possible.
3.) Pack smart
It is a good idea to pack your bag the night before the meet. This way you can make sure you have everything you might need instead of rushing in the morning. I like to make sure I have an extra suit, towel, goggles, and cap. You never know what might break or get lost during a meet, so it’s always a good idea to have extras on hand. Provincials will be at an outdoor pool, and with that comes fluctuating weather conditions, so be sure to check the weather the night before and pack accordingly.
4.) Set goals
Although we planned goals at the beginning of the season, some of you might have already achieved these goals or your goals may have merely changed based on how the season has gone. Goals need to constantly be re-evaluated and altered. It is important to go into the meet with a clear outline of exactly what you want to achieve, whether it be a time, specific technique, or splits. Going in with no expectations to avoid the pressure, will leave you achieving less than you are capable of, and overall leave you feeling disappointed with the outcome.
5.) Trust the plan
This is not the week to look back and doubt how much training you have/haven’t done. Now is the time to trust that what you have done has been enough and will get you the results you are hoping for. Stick to the same pre-race plan that you have used for every other meet. Envision yourself swimming and having the perfect race, visualize negative scenarios too, and how you can prevent those and make them work in your favor. Use the same goggles you have for other meets and the same warm up routine. Trust your coaches’ pre-race plan and try to perfect it, this is not the time to change technique, dives, or turns.
Now is the time to race naturally and intelligently. Go out and give it your all. Have fun. And if it doesn’t go according to plan, learn from it. We learn more from our losses than we do from our wins. So learn from it, adjust your goals for next season, and come back for your next race fighting to be better. You are a Viking, you are part of a great team and we (as coaches) are behind every one of you. Cheering you on. We believe in you and now is the time that you need to believe in yourself. Good Luck from all the Coaches! You are all going to be great!!