By: Kristin Stremlaw, Sabrina Barnes and Meaghan Ozikizler

In synchro, when it comes time to show the judges the routine that you’ve worked so hard at over the past few months, this can come with a lot of stress… Here are a few ways to make the best of this pressure and have your best performance:

1. Know what you need to be thinking about during your swim

About a week or so before the competition it’s a great idea to write down all of the things you want to fix in your routine. Then in each practice moving forward you can think about making those corrections every time you’re working on a part of your routine. If it’s possible it’s a great idea to have someone film your run-through each day so you can analyse it and see which focuses you are or aren’t hitting. Not only is this a great way to track your progress as you approach the competition but when you go to perform in the actual competition it will be second nature to go through all of your focuses as you swim. It will give you the ability to focus on the task at hand in order to minimize your nerves and personally have your best performance.

2. Find a “go to” person

It can be helpful to have at least one person around you whose presence can calm your nerves, especially when most of the others around you at competition won’t be of help in reducing your stress. With packed stands, yelling coaches, and anxious swimmers, a constant calming factor on the pool deck or in the pool makes a huge difference. This person should be someone who is guaranteed to be near you during competition, like a coach or team mate, as well as someone who is relaxed and positive. Talking to them about how you’re feeling is a great way to calm down and just chatting with them can be a great distraction from your nerves. However, it’s a good idea to check with them first to make sure you’re not taking away from anything they need to do.

3. Taking 3 deep breaths

It may seem a little weird at first, but honestly it’s super helpful in reducing competition stress, to a somewhat more “normal” level in the moment. Without a doubt, a competition is where nerves you didn’t even know existed appear, which may make you feel as though you won’t be able to swim, let alone compete! Don’t fret. It’s as simple as this: taking 3 deep and controlled inhales and exhales works wonders. You can do this whenever and wherever you feel most comfortable and this will allow you to dial down and focus on what you came here to do.

Give these tips a try and let us know if they help!