Swimming is a great sport for recreational or competitive athletes. Swimming works all major muscle groups, so it is a good workout for the whole body. Swimming is a low-impact sport, meaning there is less force on the hip and knee joints, making it an ideal exercise for individuals of every age.
Swimmers face long practices, including training in the pool and on dry land. Most competitive swimmers start when they are young and must juggle up to 4 hours of practice a day plus school, leaving little time for healthy eating. Packing nutritious foods and fluids for before, during, and after workouts can help swimmers meet the high-calorie and nutrient demands of the sport.
USA Swimming is the national governing body for elite US swimmers (www.usaswimming.org). The Nutrition Center of the USA Swimming website provides additional resources on nutrition for swimmers.
Swimmers can practice for hours at a time and have a long competitive season that usually lasts up to 8 months. They require 2,500 to 6,000 calories a day during training, depending on age, gender, and hours spent in dry land training and in the pool. Some teenage and young adult swimmers may need even more calories.
The nutrients that provide energy (calories) are carbohydrate, protein, and fat. The amounts of each nutrient you need to fuel your practice and competition are different per individual and a Sports Dietitian will be the most qualified expert to provide you with your nutritional needs.