By: Sion Ormond

Getting ready for your first competition can sometimes be a stressful and scary task. Here are a few things that are especially important to the RTC athletes when we’re getting ready for our competitions!

1. Get lots of sleep!

Training can be tough leading up to a competition, sogetting lots of sleep is very important if you want to stay focused and energetic at the pool! Not only does sleep enable you to rest your body, but more importantly, it allows your mind to shut down and take a break from all the information that is constantly shoved at you. A lack of sleep will not only make it harder to get to the end, but it will also make you much more emotional and stressed out. Competition season is the most important time to stay positive and calm, so for your teammates sake as well as your own, get to bed on time!

2. Eat all your greens (and your proteins!)

Preparing for a competition, and competition itself puts a lot of stress on you and your body. Along with sleeping, making sure you have nourished your body with the right kinds of food, and enough of it, is extremely important. Some great foods to give you energy are protein bars, fruit and veggies (you can look up lots of healthy smoothie recipes!), and sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Eating well gives you the fuel you need to get through the long days of training and competing, and helps your body recover quickly, so make sure you’re fueling with the right foods!

“In fact, a great diet cannot make an average athlete elite, but a poor diet can make an elite athlete average.” -Ron Maughan

3. Water, Water, water!

Water is another overlooked aspect of nutrition, especially for athletes in the water. Because you’re surrounded by water, you don’t realize how much you sweat! It’s not enough just to have a bottle of water with you, make sure you are drinking from it! Try and finish at least one water bottle during every practice, and encourage your teammates to do the same!

4. Have meaningful focus groups!

In the practices leading up to the competition, it is superimportant for the whole team to be working together towards the same goals. Focus circles give you the chance to be together without the influence of the coaches, and they are fun, motivating, and bring everyone closer to each other. This is the time to discuss what you as athletes feel needs to be done for your best possible performance, and overall, they help improve what goes on during your run-through, practice, and competition.

5. Packing, snacking, and gel

Competing is stressful enough without the added stress of basic tasks like packing your bag, prepping gel, and making sure you have all your gear! One of the easiest ways to stay on top of things is to create a packing list of everything you will need at the competition. Check everything off a few days before and remember the night before you compete, pack yourself some snacks so you don’t have to think about doing it the next morning! Another great trick is making your gel a few days early. Keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use it, and then pop it into a crockpot or microwave and you are good to go! have it all ready to go so you can have a smooth prep for the competition, and don’t wait until the last minute to get everything done!

6. Remember your goals and corrections!

Mental training is just as significant as physical training! It is important to be able to go into the competition feeling confident and mindful of what you came to do, because that can really impact your performance. A good way to keep track of goals and corrections is to write them down, which will not only help you remember them, but you can read them after practice and during the competition to give yourself a little reminder. Another good way to reduce your stress before a routine or figure is visualization. Before a swim, visualize everything exactly how you want it to happen, and don’t add anything extra or unnecessary. Being mentally prepared and positive is important not just at the competition, but everyday at the pool!

Regional Training Centre is very excited to show everyone all of our hard work at our first competition this weekend! We wish everyone very good luck at Lisa A and the upcoming competition season, and we hope some of these tips come in handy!

Gel Recipe
In a crockpot on low:
• 2/3 cup hot water
• 9 Knox gel packages
• Add water first then sprinkle gel on top
• Stir now and then until dissolved
• Add essential oil to improve smell (optional)
• Freeze in small round containers or keep in fridge for up to 7 days
• Put frozen ‘puck’ into crockpot on low to dissolve (or in microwave)