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Imagine you’re at a meet, standing behind the blocks getting ready to swim, feeling that strange mixture of excitement and nerves that always come with it. Do you embrace that energy and pump yourself up, or do you push it down and calm yourself? The answer can be different for each of us. Personally, I always found that which route I took depended upon what sort of race I was getting ready to swim. As someone who found themselves bounced between both sprinting and distance, I would always psych myself up for shorter distances, and steady myself for longer events. Coincidentally, this somewhat seems to line up with anaerobic and aerobic systems in our bodies that both sprints and distance rely upon. A high heart rate and a body full of energy are great right before a fifty, but getting too worked up before you swim the mile can sometimes get in the way of what you’re trying to do.

Ultimately, the matter comes down to personal preference, what works best for you, and how can you get yourself there. Here are some ways that you can get pumped up, or calm yourself down in the minutes before you race.

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Pumped Up

  • Listen to fast or exciting music.

  • Get your body moving (such as jumping up and down, or swinging your arms).

  • Think about something that makes you excited or angry.

Calmed Down

  • Take deep breaths focusing only on your breathing to quiet your mind.

  • Stretch and make sure not to tighten up.

  • Visualize your swim, and think about how you are going to swim it.

What Works For You?

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