A swimmer’s basic nutritional requirements are made up of:

  • Carbohydrate 
  • Protein 
  • Fat 
  • Vitamins 
  • Minerals 
  • Water


Carbohydrates are the fuel for muscles and essential energy souce, they fall into two groups:

  • Complex carbohydrates – potatoes, brown rice, wholegrain cereals, bread and pasta. These are the foods which release a steady stream of energy.
  • Simple carbohydrates – fruit is the best source, these release immediate energy. 


Protein builds, maintains and replace tissues in the body. Muscles, organs and the immune system are made of mostly protein. The best sources are beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, lentils.


We need a small amount of fat in a healthy diet. There are two kinds of fat ‘Saturated’ and ‘Unsaturated’. Unsaturated is healthier and can be found in oily fish, nuts and seeds.


This is very important, has no calories or sugars and is essential for keeping your body hydrated. It is essential that when swimming you should always take small sips of water or juice at every opportunity during training. Never let yourself get dehydrated do not wait until you are thirsty to have a drink!


It is not difficult to eat and drink the right things. Swimmers should try to eat a varied diet containing good carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread), proteins (fish, chicken, turkey), dairy products (milk, yoghurt), plenty of fruit and vegetables, and limited fat, and plenty of drinks. Junk food should only be allowed as an occasional treat.

What to Eat and When

Before Training

It is best not to train on an empty stomach, try to eat a small snack 1 to 2 hours before training.

  • Ham salad sandwich, fruit, yoghurt, water or squash
  • Chicken pasta salad, cereal bar, banana, fruit juice
  • Wrap, yoghurt, apple, milkshake

After Training

After training your body needs to refuel, in order to repair muscles and replace energy. Bananas, milkshake, jam sandwich are all good, and don’t forget to drink (water or sports drinks) plenty.

Competition Nutrition:

Make sure you have breakfast, (cereal, porridge, banana, yoghurt). Don’t forget to have liquids. After your swim eat as soon as possible to help muscle recovery and energy supplies (fruit, pasta, nuts, yoghurt, milkshake)

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