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Follow 4-Time Olympian Amanda Beard as she pursues her 5th Olympic games. This mini series will chronicle her life as an athlete, wife, mother, and business woman on her journey to London.

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June 19, 12:04 PM
Amanda Beard
3 years ago.
Drum roll please!

The winners of my contest are:
1. Grant
2. Hanna Carter
3. Amanda

Congratulations to Grant, Hanna Carter and Amanda! Thank you everyone for sharing how you prepare for a big swim meet. I loved reading your tips! Keep up the great work.

- Amanda
June 19, 08:46 AM
3 years ago.
Swimming is self motivating; a swimmer understands that the rewards are so worth the work. My tip is to approach the meet as the ultimate fun-- an affirmation of hard training, the venue to realize progress and proudly show the person and swimmer I've become. Try to keep your energy up , allow yourself to eat what you' d like the night before. Practice starts, keep your goggles on, and have a simple pacing strategy.
June 13, 10:24 PM
3 years ago.
Hi, I got back into swimming 9 months ago. I swam as a small child but I hadn’t done any swimming since then. I am now 60 and have been swimming for nine months. I love it!

I participated in my first ever meet in April. It was the state U.S. Master’s finals. One of my teammates shared a story with me. When she swam her first meet the coach told her, “Remember, enjoy your swim through the water.” She said it helped calm her jitters. As I was ready to step onto my first ever block in my first ever swim meet as an adult she said the same thing to me.

It has stuck in my head and I will be repeating it to myself as I step on the blocks at the Olympic pool in Omaha to compete in my second swim meet.

“Enjoy your swim through the water.”

That’s what it is really all about.
June 13, 12:20 PM
3 years ago.
I'm mostly a distance swimmer, and I find that the most thing important thing is to just be as calm as possible before a race. I won't even think about the competitive aspect of the swim or the time I want because it stresses me. Music helps a lot, too - actually, when I was driving out to my first 10K last weekend, what really helped calm my nerves was listening to loud rap music. Go figure.

The rare times I do a sprint race, I pretty much want to be the opposite of calm. I set my personal record in the 100 free a couple years ago when I was really, really angry. To that end, I've almost considered asking my competitors to smack me just before a race, just to make sure I'm sufficiently motivated. I've told some of my friends about this theory of mine, and they have all offered to slap me. They're very supportive.
June 13, 08:08 AM
Josie White
3 years ago.
Even though I am only 12, I have swum competitively for five years. Before a meet I always get a good night sleep and pray for strength for the next day. When I am behind the block getting ready to swim I think about one of my brothers, and what he has fought for. He has Golden Har Syndrome and has gone through a lot in his life. This tells me that even if my coach puts me in the 200 freestyle that I can get through it. My 3 year old brothers (they are twins) come to my meets and cheer me on which keeps me in a happy state of mind. I also pray to god for giving me the ability to swim.
June 12, 6:45 PM
Hanna Carter
3 years ago.
I prepare for every swim meet, like it's my last swim meet. No matter if it's reigionals or nationals, or just a time trial, to me, every meet is just as important. Every meet is a chance to feel the adrienaline rush of great racing.
In practice, I make sure I have the right feeling for the water. There's that feeling of fusion and ease that I long for with every stroke I take. Once I've found that right feeling, I know I am ready for the race.
At home, I make sure I watch even closer what I eat. I make sure to fuel my body with the best foods, so I get the most out of every meal.
Mental preparation is key in swimming. They say every race is 20% physical, and 80% mental... and I strongly beleive it. Before bed, a week prior to the meet, I visualize my races. The dive, every stroke, every turn, the finish, and even what I am doing behind the blocks, before it starts.
To me, there is nothing more satisfying than the adrienaline rush of racing. That's why I love swimming.<3
June 11, 4:30 PM
Rachel B.
3 years ago.
For me, mental training is the most important part of preparing for a meet. One of the best swimmers I know once told me, "Practice is 90% physical, and 10% mental, while meets are 90% mental and 10% physical." Especially during meets, I strive to be fearless. My coach emphasizes that being afraid to do something is what holds us back. Having fear of competitors, being scared to give it your all, stressing about going a certain time, those are the things that stop you from being successful. So my biggest tip is, do not be afraid.
To prepare for a meet physically, I push myself as hard as I can. I love proving people wrong when it comes to practice and meets. My body is strong, and during meets I know that it is capable of what I've been training to do all season.
My pre-meet food is usually Subway, and lately I've been obsessed with munching on almonds during meets. Gatorade is a go-to for meets as well as practice.
Always remember, BE FEARLESS! (:
June 10, 04:46 AM
3 years ago.
Dear Amanda,

My name is Curtis, and while I am now a rower at Boston U...I was a devoted swimmer for 12 years before that. I still remember everything I did to prefer for a swim race - big or small.

I was a huge believer in "the night before the night before," since the night before, I was usually excited and visualized my races probably too much in bed to get much good sleep.

Dinner the night before a meet was ALWAYS the same, at least throughout high school. I went to Bertucci's so much, the waiters and waitresses knew my name, exactly what I wanted, and what the next day meant. But anyways, it was always the good ole' fashion spaghetti and meatballs, with a glass of chocolate milk.

Day of race when I got to the pool, I started with dynamic stretching. Next was the warm-up swim, followed by static stretching, and finally a few starts.

My game fuel? Poptarts - Smores...can't go wrong.

I always wear my goggles under my cap and pull my cap just over the top of the lenses...just barely noticable.

These are just a few of my tendencies, but they definitely worked for me!

Hope you enjoyed, and good luck I can't wait to see you swim!

A fellow breaststroker and die-heart fan,
June 9, 7:50 PM
Alan L
3 years ago.
I prepare for a Big Swim Meet by snacking lighting every 2 hours the day before and listening to a very catchy song during the meet to less nervous and pumped up!
June 8, 9:50 PM
Kate Peer
3 years ago.
Before a meet I usually do the same things for every meet. The night before I will usually eat any kind of pasta and I'll stay hydrated. I will usually go to bed around 9:30ish. The next morning I'll eat a healthy breakfast and stay hydrated but you don't want to drink too much just enough. And I'll warm up, whatever my coach tells me to do. When I'm about to race I warm up if I haven't swam in a while go to the blocks and stretch out. And I think to myself swim,swim, swim over an over again and just stay focused. It always helps me thinking that the 1st time I started doing that I did very well!
June 8, 9:07 PM
3 years ago.
Amanda is a great swimmer and her story is very inspiring. I watched her on Today's Show..she's amazing !! Would love to have her book !!

My 9 yr old daughter has been in swim team since she was 6 and she's doing great at her age competing with older kids. She won 1st places at least once in each meet. She ate all high protein food like eggs and lean meat, lots of vegetables and no or very little sugar intake. She works out to gain more strength and more practices for endurance. She has good sleep the night before the meet and drink plenty of fluid during the meet. Her goal is to do her best, beat her own record and have fun !!

Good luck Amanda Beard, wish one day my daughter will grow up to be just like you !!
June 8, 5:53 PM
3 years ago.
I am not the kind of person to get nervous for anything, but when it comes to a big meet you best believe i get extremely gittery. The hole day at school i can't stop moving and thinking about my race. But when it comes down to it, the best thing you can do is be prepared. Eat a nice big meal the day before, get a lot of sleep and eat healthy the whole day of the meet and make sure you drink lots of water and stay hydrated. One way i make sure i'm prepared for a race and to help stop the gitters at school or at home is get out a peice of paper and write down every detail of what i need to do to improve my time in the event i'm going to swim that day. such as better start, finish, stroke, ect. and after that, Don't worry about it too much. You don't want to psych yourself out by over thinking it. Have fun with your team and just relax and know that you have everything you need to do your best! Most importantly know that racing is time for racing, not thinking. When it comes time to race don't think about what you need to do, jus do it.
June 8, 12:57 PM
3 years ago.
Before a meet i always do easy-moderate pace the whole week buut i work on technique. For dinner the night beforeI usually have a filling meal with alot of carbs that will help me prepare for the coming day such as pasta.That night i go to bed very early to ensure that I will be well rested for the the following morning. That morning i eat a slightly lighter meal with a banana and moderate warm-up. Finally, right before a race i focus on visulizing my race, how im going to swim it, as well as remembering the technique I had been working on earlier that week, how many dolfin kicks ect. ect. Good luck in London I know you will make the team!
June 8, 12:22 PM
3 years ago.
Hi Amanda. You are a true inspiration. I can't wait to see what you do a trials. Good Luck!
Here are a few things that I do to prepare myself...
Nutritionally: After practice the day before, I try to make sure I eat enough carbs and protein so I'm fueled enough, and a little chocolate doesn't hurt :) The morning of, I try to make sure I eat more carbs with a little protein. I try not to eat too much so I don't feel bloated.
Mentally: I try to push out all the negative thoughts I have and think about the positive things. I have a few personally sayings that I say to myself to help keep me calm and confident. When I'm behind the block, I only think about myself, I don't worry about other people because I can only control myself in the end.
Physically: During training, I try to push myself every practice. This gets hard at times when I'm tired, but I keep reminding myself of my goals to keep to focused. After training I stretch because stretching makes a huge difference in recovery. For warmup before the meet, I make sure I get my muscles fired up and I get my heart rate up. I try to make sure I get the feel of the water and the walls so it seems like I've been swimming there for awhile and I know the pool. After my pool warmup, I then do a few activities on land to stay warm, and I do some dynamic stretches.
June 8, 12:14 PM
Raquel Janes
3 years ago.
I LUV LUV LUVVVV AMMMAAANNDDDAA i hope i win!! :) Well first I check what times all my races are and how much time is spread out between them so I can prepare mentally before each race. Then on the night before a meet I would eat all carbs ( like speghetti and bananas) and plan to have at... least nine hours of sleep. Morning of the meet I eat fruit and low fat yogurt. During warmups I don't go as fast as I could so I don't use all my energy( especially if I race in the first event) and I drink water and eat fruit wen I'm not racing. I make sure to warmup 15 to 20 minutes before my race if I haven't been active for more than 45 minutes so my muscles can warmup. About 10 minutes before I race I focus on my stroke, kick, flip turns and streamline and my goal time. After, I eat a protien bar and drink to recover. THEN I DO IT AGAIN THE NEXT DAY!!
June 8, 11:48 AM
Shawnna Smith
3 years ago.
Mentally- I prepare mentally by focusing on my time and other people that I'm competing against's time and by telling myself I can do it. Also my friends help a lot with telling me I can do it. I try and block out everything that I don't need for a week before the big meet.
I eat what I need to like protein, carbs, and vitamins.
To prepare physically I practice every day for about 4 hours (Since I have school)
Every day I practice I try and to improve my time by having mini meets with my team mates that are very strong in that race. These are ways that I use to be successful on my big days!
June 7, 9:48 PM
3 years ago.
I'm Jeffrey and I swim on PASA in Palo Alto, California with 2004 Olympian Dana Kirk.
I prepare before my big meets by completely forgetting about everything except swimming a week before, I don't worry about school, my friends, my girlfriend, my parents; I only focus on whats at the end of the week. I eat what I need to: all the protein, carbs, and vitamins. My brains is always turned on during the taper sets, because I know its going to help me swim fast in the end. I always catch at least 8 hours of sleep everyday and make sure i stretch for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
But I think what helps me the most mentally is what I do the day before. I hang out at school, trying to stay as loose as possible, I try to talk to and stay as relaxed as possible. After practice I go home, eat dinner, and then pretty much just watch videos of people swimming my events at the Olympics, World Champs, or Grand Prix just to get me psyched for my races. Then at around 9 I pack up all my things and get ready for the meet then get ready for bed. The final and last thing that I do before I go to bed is turn out my lights sit in front of my desk and listen to an inspirational speech called "Success, How Bad do you Want it?" and thats always gotten me fired up. Then I go to bed and wake up the next morning ready to race.
June 7, 5:27 PM
3 years ago.
When I prepare for a meet, I make sure to eat carbs, fruits, veggies and drink lots of water. However, I focus a lot of my time on mentally preparing myself, especially right before I swim. I pump myself up with some music, jump around a little, and really stretch. I remind myself that I need to focus on me, and only me, and that I need to do this for all the right reasons: to improve myself, to improve my times, and to prove that I've worked hard enough to win. I constantly tell myself that I've correctly prepared myself to win, and that if God wants me to win, He'll let me. I tell myself that even if I don't win, as long as I've given every single thing that I've got, I should be proud of myself.
June 6, 4:44 PM
Shakira Herrera GO BLUE WAVE
3 years ago.
Hello, Amanda My name is Shakira A.Herrera and I am going to be 11 years old on June 16 and live in Marshalltown, Iowa. I currently swim for the Marshalltown Community Y and have been for the past 3 years. When I am preparing for a meet what I focus is of course eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but most importantly build yourself with LOTS! and LOTS! of Carbs the night before or even 2 days before such as pastas, grains, cereal, and my favorite Peanutbutter. Also it is very important to meditate yourself mentally with a positive and great swim on every event you plan on swimming at your meet. Followed by plenty of rest and that means sleep at least anywhere from 8 to 9 hours. The last and most important is WATER, and yes being a swimmers meand living in the water, but also that means DRINK PLENTY of it as well, my mom has always told since I was little how important drinking water and staying dehydrated is important, and I have learnd that water is my gatorade or what I call it. "PowerJuice". These are my most important keys to having a great swim. And GOODLUCK!!! I will be watching you on T.V. with my mom. She actually wanted to take me to go see you over to Omaha, but she said that we are not financially stable for a trip, but that she will have popcorn ready for that day, and can you tell Dana Vollmer I said hello. Thank You. Oh and also Maggie Meyer but thats if she is also planning on being there. Thank You, Shakira A. Herrera.
June 6, 3:56 PM
3 years ago.
Two nights before I eat a big pasta meal. Day of the meet, my race(s) I get in a zone, jump rope, stretch andtalk to myself. Everyone thinks I'm crazy but now everyone around me does the same thing. A fad that caught on. When I loose I will stop doing this and do something else.
June 6, 11:19 AM
3 years ago.
I eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, get enough sleep and practice. I am 9 years old and hope to keep gettting better and better!
June 6, 10:20 AM
3 years ago.
Hi Amanda! -I swam in a meet with you at ASU a couple of weeks ago and YOU ARE AWESOME!!! :) I'm 13 and here's how I get ready for a meet:

First of all, I practice super hard with my team at every (well, most) practices. I have the best coach in the world and my best friends are on my team so we all motivate eachother. I think it's important to have fun because it keeps our attitudes positive.

Second, I try to eat more good food than junk food. This is really hard, but I know it makes a difference. My mom is a vegan and is always trying to keep us healthy.

Third, I have my mom give me a back massage the night before!

:)bye! Vannah
June 6, 09:06 AM
3 years ago.
Before every meet, especially the big ones, I take a few minutes to think about all the things that I am swimming for. Most obvious is my team, a lot of them are going to be life long friends and during that meet is how we best support each other. Next and more importantly are my parents, they always wanted to see me swim well first at the state championship high school level and now at the college level. Even if I don't win I know that I made them proud by leaving nothing in the pool. Lastly and most important I saw a quick prayer to ease my nerves, ask for strength, and give thanks that I am even able to compete. It might seem that all this might add to the stress, but in a way it's nice to remind yourself of everything you have supporting you when you enter the water.
June 6, 08:00 AM
Amanda Beard
3 years ago.
1 more week to enter to win my autographed photo & $100 of Aqua Sphere swimwear! I cannot wait to pick the top 3 tips. It's going to be hard, these are all such great suggestions on how to successfully prepare for a meet.

For me it's all about mentality, nutrition and SLEEP! Do you agree?

Keep the tips coming! I love reading them.
June 6, 07:47 AM
3 years ago.
I think you can prepare yourself mentally by having a positive attitude. If you think you can achieve your goals, then you will be more likely to achieve them. You have to close your eyes and visualize yourself racing. Visualize yourself finishing. And visualize yourself winning.
Nutritionally, you have to watch what you are eating weeks before the meet. No junk food or soda. If you put good food into your body before the meet, you will get good results after at. Of course, stay hydrated and drink a lot of water.
Physically, every day at practice, try your best. Never give up on a set, and never give up on yourself.
June 5, 2:42 PM
Becc Dufty
3 years ago.
As the Mum of a 12 year old top level regional swimmer , I push and push and push for an early night, by the time I win the battle it is actually usually his normal bed time, I try and get a good dinner into him, he only feels like McDs and I cave in as I feel he needs food and any is better than none, and finally I try to get a good Bowl of oatmeal into him in the morning, By then however the nerves have kicked in and not much food gets in, Thank fully he is only 12, he absolutely loves the sport and he thrives on training and racing weather he gets the results or not, We are still a work in progress with lots of lessons to learn!
June 5, 1:24 PM
3 years ago.
As an older swimmer, I do prepare for a meet slightly different that when in college. From a nutrition standpoint, I do drink protein shakes within the hour of training in AM. Wish I had done that 20+ yrs ago, but not sure nutrition was really viewed as being part of the training toolkit. I also try to eat many times during the say and as much as I can eat. At 6'1", I'm down to 175, so to keep energy up and help body recover, the protein and volume of food is a must. Can't run a high horsepower motor with no gas in the tank ;-)

From a mental aspect, knowing that some days I'm not going to be as fast as others in workout is OK. As a sprinter, it's OK to swim and feel "tired" during the season....knowing full well the payoff will be when I taper. Also, I've learned to smile and really enjoy the sport and camaraderie....I used to be way too serious and wouldn't even talk to competitors. Now, I'm like a chatty 12 yr old age grouper...and make it fun for all, including coaches. Live for the moment as the moments in swimming change.

Physically (and this is a bit mental too), it still comes down to a simple adage: To swim fast, you have to swim fast. There are times when you have to push yourself to the limits. That's when you have to "attack" and think about what your goals are. So when you step up to the block, you have the confidence knowing you did all you could in preparation. Leave no doubt to yourself or anyone else. If you can do the "mirror test": look at yourself in the mirror and honestly answer your own questions, you have no one else to answer to or anything else to prove!
June 5, 11:55 AM
3 years ago.
To prepare for a big meet with some really fast people, I just remind myself that I am as worthy as anybody else there. I made the qualifying time and I deserve to be there as much as the fastest person there. That helps me focus and have more confidence. I also visualize myself swimming each event perfectly and what my splits are going to be. I remind myself that to I got to where I am by practicing. To prepare physically, I eat healthy foods with carbs and proteins. I also stretch after I warm up. I drink water or Gatorade throughout the meet to stay hydrated.
June 5, 11:24 AM
3 years ago.
Good luck! It's taper time!!
June 5, 10:37 AM
Melinda B
3 years ago.
Get plenty of rest, fuel up with nutrition & have plenty of support from family & friends cheering you on.
June 5, 10:28 AM
Silver Jade Deutch
3 years ago.
I take a steaming shower the night before and finally shave! However, the shaving is less about reducing drag and more about mental preparation. It's such a mental thing that, believe it or not, it's my ritual before all major events...exams, races, and interviews. We each prepare in our own ways and we each think that the food we eat or the weird things we do will help us physically. But, all the hard work has been done at that point and our rituals are really more about getting our heads in the game and psyching ourselves up for success.
June 5, 10:18 AM
3 years ago.
Before my race, I remind myself of all the technique I need to focus on. I also push negative thoughts out of my mind, like not being able to beat my competition, or any pain that's been bothering me. I just think about my goal time for that event, and that after all the training and hard work I've put into practice, I can do it.
June 5, 10:11 AM
3 years ago.
My daughter is ritualistic: she has spaghetti tacos and a power salad the night before, she packs the sames things for every meet, she has a special "good luck charm" she keeps in her swim bag. She gets a good nights sleep. On meet day she eats eggs and whole grains for b'fast, and packs power salad, z bars, and low sugar fruit. She listens to her ipod before each race, and says she empties her mind "only seeing myself swimming and winning that race".(thanks to her having read the Micheal Phelps book).
She's only 9 but she's wanted to be an Olympic swimmer since she was 5!
June 5, 10:10 AM
3 years ago.
Ensure Plus in the AM and a coffee...otherwise I sink like the Titanic.

At the race I try to stay away from others as much as possible until the very last moment. I don't want them looking at me and I don't want to see them-anything that takes my mind off of relaxing and focusing on the task ahead is a deterrent of success.
June 5, 10:03 AM
3 years ago.
I prepare for a meet every time I get in the water. Perfect practice makes perfect. And if you can compete in an event without thinking too much, you will do better. As for right before an event, I always picture the start, some turns (I usually do distance free so not all turns) and the finish. Finishing hard is key in my mind.
June 4, 1:59 PM
3 years ago.
Belief is the key! Believe in yourself, your preparation to do your best on any given day or race, believe that you deserve to accomplish what you set out to do, believe you have many gifts to give and receive.

Believe when you "do" for others, it's powerful, so I try to always do something special for someone who's along on my journey. It doesn't have to be anything big, but I believe the best way to confidence is believing and giving.

I practice and teach a system of confidence cards. Each day in the last couple of weeks leading up to a big event, write down 3 things done well that day (it can be outside the pool too). And write down 3 things to fine tune the next day. Then focus just on those things. Don't over-think in the final days but remember all the things you've done well and let things take care of themselves on race day. When negative things slip into the mind, write them down and trash them or flush them, anything fitting to get rid of them.

Amanda, I've watched you from your young teen days and admire you for all the great things you have brought to the swimming world. You are one of the greatest difference makers!
June 4, 10:00 AM
3 years ago.
I have to prepare months in advance for a big swim meet. I make sure that my meals are healthy and well balanced at least 3 months in advance so that my body won't act up in a way I don't want it to do to the change in my eating. Since I'm probably tapering for a big meet I make sure that I stay off my feet and just relax so that I'll have extra energy for that last stretch of a race. I like to calculate the splits that I should go in order to hit my goal time. This might be nerve racking for some people but I enjoy playing with the numbers and seeing how if I'm just a little faster on my turns how it could make a big difference. Overall I try visualizing my entire race and sometimes for fun my coach will have us do practice victory reactions. It's where you pretend that you just went your goal time and you just go crazy. Not only does it help motivate you to want to swim but it adds to the excitement of wanting to perform the victory dance.
June 3, 4:43 PM
Jenne` Brookes
3 years ago.

I listen to my coaches, eat right.....look up to my older team mates and just try my best.....and understand...ever race won't be my best....

June 2, 7:48 PM
3 years ago.
Just be confident, be happy with yourself, and know how lucky you are that you can swim like a superhero~ Don't forget to breathe and when you relax, you can focus and perform better in the water~ An apple a day keep the doctor away!
June 2, 11:23 AM
3 years ago.
I am 49 and just started swimming competitively. My perspective has changed over the years on "competing". Here is my tip - remember to smile inside no matter what. Also take the pressure off yourself by encouraging and rooting for your teammates!

Life is short - enjoy the ride.

P.S. I read your book and loved it.
June 2, 08:58 AM
3 years ago.
I always pray before I climb up on that block. It always works for me and it will always work for you. Never forget that God helped you get this far, so always remember to pray.
June 1, 5:20 PM
3 years ago.
Hi Amanda, I am so excited to see you go for the Gold again! I have coached kids for club, HS, and summer as well as swimming Masters myself. For my kids, I encourage, rest, visualization, and eating the combination of protein, carbs, and fat that makes them feel their best for race day. There is no one magic meal but the one that works for you! I also constantly remind kids to swim smart in practices so when the meet comes, they are fully prepared, no surprises. For me, I enjoy socializing with my 21-92 year old Masters Team Members the night before a meet, getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and having peanut butter on whole wheat toast along with a banana (I don't really love them but it powers me through the morning events!) I even have a cup of coffee followed by water. We all just swim our best and go for those best times!
June 1, 1:52 PM
3 years ago.
I have a ritual that I started when I was 13 and it's to eat the same meal the night before every big meet...grilled salmon, brown rice and peas. And that's really the only time I eat that food. Physically I know I have done all I can to be ready with all the hours in the pool; my coach sees to that! But mentally, I think it's so important to relax the night before a big competition. For me that means hanging out my friends. We don't do anything special but just sit and talk and laugh a lot. It really helps to clear my mind so that I can be totally focused the day of the meet
June 1, 10:01 AM
mary elizabeth
3 years ago.
To prepare for a meet nutritionally, mentally and physically I first take time to not get stressed. I try to eat healthy before a big meet usually with lots of fruits, veggies and let's not forget lots of protein. Physically I try to take it easy a couple of days before and not lift. Mentally I think is the most important. If you don't have a very good attitude going into a race odds are you aren't going to perform your best. You have to go in thinking positively. I always try to listen to a couple of pump up songs before I swim to get me in the zone. Don't forget to have fun with it too.
June 1, 08:35 AM
Amanda Beard
3 years ago.
Hey all - Amanda here again.

I just love reading all your tips! Katie in particular made a really good point. She says:

"Usually what I do before a race is try to calm myself down and remind myself that I have been blessed with the ability to swim."

This is so important! You have worked so hard, mentally and physically, to get where you are today. Be proud of your hard work and be satisfied with knowing that you gave it your all - no matter the outcome. Relax, free your mind, do yoga, whatever you do to relax your mind and body before a big meet, and you will do great! And above all, be thankful that your are alive, healthy and hopefully happy :)

Keep all the great tips coming - can't wait to read more!
May 31, 10:30 PM
3 years ago.
To prepare for a big meet I can't look at competitor's times. It will just freak me out and then I start thinking that it's impossible for me to beat them. If I get into that mode I have to remember that I deserve to be there, I have worked just as hard as them, and I can do this. Actually sleeping before meets (which doesn't work so well for me) is also a big key to success because it allows me to finally get some quiet from my hyperactive brain. Good Luck in London and remember that you deserve to be there.
May 31, 10:09 PM
Jacob C
3 years ago.
I like to have a high protein meal the night before (love my pasta) and a healthy breakfast with eggs and fruit. I am very lucky to have my family. I have been swimming since I was 4 (i am 12 now) and my mom and dad have not missed one of my events. My dad's favorite thing to say is "hard work beats talent when talent doesnt practice hard". They are what motivate me.
May 31, 9:59 PM
3 years ago.
When I prepare for a big meet I try to make sure I fix everything technically I need to work on and not think too much. When I start thinking about the race, the competitors, the pool, and the times I just pschye myself out. At the meet itself I have to make sure I eat, because I won't otherwise, and then I won't swim well. I also have to warm-up, because I swim distance and even if it's really hot, warming up your muscles can make the difference between a good swim or a bad one. I really hope you do all in London and if you are planning on the games is 2016 I hope to see you there and if all dreams work out I will. :)
May 31, 7:33 PM
3 years ago.
the tip i would like to share with you is to eat a healthy dinner the night before like pasta for the carbs. Also eat a healthy breakfast such as eggs and toast.
When swimming If i am scared before a race i would always think that if the people around me could do it so could i. i always take a deep breath nthe block right before you dive.
May 31, 7:03 PM
3 years ago.
Wazzup, Amanda!
Ingestion tips: Before the meet one time, my friends and I all ate dried mangos and we all did really well in the meet. The mango gives you fiber and energy with its natural sugar and doesn't fill you up too much. Also, carbs, especially pasta, are really important for energy, so eat food high in carbohydrates the night before a meet.

You're welcome,
May 31, 6:56 PM
Veronica Martinez
3 years ago.
Dear Amanda,
The first thing I do to prepare for a swim meet is drinknlots of water the night before. Then first thing in the morning I eat a good healthy breakfast. After that I head to where my swim meet at and play motivational and upbeat music. By the time I get there I start to warm up for about an hour until the officials tell us to stop. Before my event is up I tell myself and other teammate that you shouldn't worry about your race it's all in your head and If our coach didn't think you could do it he wouldn't sign you up for it. Most importantly imagine that your the only person there it's you against the water and as long as you give 110% you will never fail.
May 31, 6:53 PM
Georgienna V. Driver
3 years ago.
So, what are my tips before a big meet? Well... Swimming is my number one. I dream of Olympics EVERYDAY. And every time I have a meet I am a wreck with the nerves sometimes. But... I've found my own tips that help me focus... concentrate... and perform beyond my limits. Behind the block, I used to feel my heart pounding hard with adrenaline-but I've learned from past experiences that doesn't progress me to my limit. So instead, I take a few breaths, Jump up and down a few times, and then I slap my legs, arms and shoulders to get me to focus on how amazing I'll do. My second tip I have is when I would get on the block, I'd always worry about everything. But now? When I get on the block, nothing is in my mind. I clear my mind out by visualizing my turns and breaths in my head of every lap and stroke. And lastly... I eat either an apple, carrots and raw broccoli, and I drink water. To me, those are the nutrients that make me feel powerful and fully energized. Another tip I do, is if I loose a race... I forget about it. Because to move forward, you can't be stuck in the past on that one race. So I simply call it "short-term memory loss". Therefore, my tips are to take a breaths, jump, and feel loose and relaxed before going on the block, while on the block just visualize, listen, and explode into power like never before, and gain off a lost race by improving. And always eat something healthy like an apple while stretch before your event is up. It will be sure to let you 100% focus and concentrate and to come out a champion-at least... it helps me all the way!
May 31, 5:36 PM
3 years ago.

My "lucky" routine right before a event (preferably) is stretching and just talking non-excessively. I actively stretch my arms and legs to get my heart pumping and warmed up. In addition, I talk to the timers and the people around me just to get my head in the right mood: happy and joyful, because when I'm happy and joyful, I perform the best.

I hope that helps.
May 31, 5:05 PM
3 years ago.
I take the dog for a nice walk early that morning before all the neighbors are out. I try to look around me, breathe, and just enjoy the moment. It is a meditative moment for me to center myself and watching the dog gallop around reminds me not to take life too seriously!
May 31, 4:10 PM
3 years ago.
What I do before a big meat is the night before I go out for a carb loading dinner with my team mates. After that we go to one of my team mates house and watch a movie but make sure not to stay up to late. The morning of the meet I eat a scrambled egg and milk. My mom always tells me to eat more but my adrenaline (which is one of the major reasons why I love to race) is already starting to pump so I lose my appetite quickly. When I get to the meet, set up camp and do my warm-up. When my race is about to start I put on my cap and goggles and start jumping up and down, swinging my arms, give myself some pep talks, and give a little prayer. Then the official blows the whistle to get on the block and my mind go's blank. All my attention is on the buzzer. When it goes off I dive in the pool and start my race.
May 31, 2:56 PM
3 years ago.
The big thing I do to prepare for a swim meet is remembering to keep my eyes in my own lane. There is a lot of competition out there that can psyche me out, so i try to just focus on me the whole entire time and pretend like i am swimming on my own. Also, eating healthy the night before and th day off definately better prepares me for the meet.
May 31, 2:37 PM
3 years ago.
Hi Amanda as a swim coach we use the KISS rule for preparing for meets (keep it simple swimmers). We prepare in training to race well at meets and make sure that all boxes are ticked (starts, turns and finishes) so warm ups can be that and not doing lots of starts, turns and finishes.
Also try and keep the diet the same as normal,( keep well hydrated and eat well). I like the TUF policy in training (technique under fatigue).
May 31, 1:33 PM
Alejandro Mauricio
3 years ago.
When there's a big swim meet coming soon I focus on 3 aspects: mentally I visualize at least a month before the meet all the aspects on the deck and the race such as the blocks, the crowd, the cold water and me doing my best while swimming followed by a victory of me. Nutritionally I keep a balanced diet specially the previous week of the race where carbohydrates, a very good hydration and not much fat are the main components of my diet. And physically I choose the most important meets of the year schedule and the month when they're arriving I do special sets of technique to finally slow down the milleage the week of the meeting. Those tips have helped me to succes in my swimming career.
May 31, 1:32 PM
Jacob C
3 years ago.
I prepare by eating a healthy high carb meal the night before a big meet (I love my pasta) and a healthy breakfast (eggs, meat, fruit and toast). I mentally prepare myself with encouraging words from my parents. My dad always tells me "hard work beats talent when talent doesnt practice hard". When I am swimming for the breast stroke you are my inspiration Amanda.
May 31, 1:09 PM
3 years ago.
I loved the mini series!

I start preparing for a meet the day before. I go to practice, then the night before my team and I usually have pasta parties\to get excited for the meet. We also eat pasta to be prepared for our races the next day.

Throughout the day of the meet I make sure to eat a balance breakfast and lunch followed by a banana or a protein bar before the meet.

Mentally I help psych up my team mates for their races and that helps me prepare for my race. Right before I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that this is what all my hard work and training is for.
May 31, 1:07 PM
3 years ago.
I prepare for a swim meet by listening to music in the car on the way there.
May 31, 1:04 PM
3 years ago.
i prepare for a swim meet by watching one of my favorite movies, the night before the swim meet, and then at the swim meet talking and chilling with my friends.
May 31, 12:42 PM
3 years ago.
i swim and race on the big island of hawaii, hilo side, at richardsons beach in hilo, to prepare for a race, i like to eat a potato about an hour before racing, and maybe a little coffee just before getting in the water.. in hilo every year we have an open water mile race, i've come in second in my division twice... and beat people half my age,, fastest time was 22 min. and 40 seconds... not to bad.. todd
May 31, 12:22 PM
3 years ago.
You're such an inspiration Amanda! I can't wait for the Olympics this summer, swimming is by far my favorite sport! :)
My tips are-
Physically: I swim warm ups before the meet, usually a 200 or 300 to get the blood flowing and to regulate my breathing. When I'm behind the block, my one coach stands in front of me and shakes my arms releasing the tension in my shoulders telling me I'll do fine!
Mentally: I let out all of my nerves by just telling people what I'm feeling. Swimming distance isn't extremely hard but it's not easy and when I need to let my emotions and the crazy rush of the adrenaline go I let it out verbally. (I apologize to my friends!)
Nutritionally: I eat bananas everyday to prevent cramping (from the potassium!), so when a meet comes I won't tense up too much in the 200 and 500!
May 31, 12:07 PM
Jodi Pliszka
3 years ago.
Way to go AMANDA! We are routing for you! Sheila Taormina is a friend of mine, we both have hairless cats!

I love preparing my body and mind together. Eliminating sugar to less than 30 grams and making sure to eat every two hours, alternating protein with each meal and either a color carb (veggies, fruit) or energy carb(seeds, oats, bananas, etc). 5 times a day. Increasing water consumption and eating my dark chocolate daily, which is great for the body.

Before a meet, I make sure to workout doing heavy weights three times per set of 8 reps.... slowly, 7 seconds total. After this 30 minutes I swim sprints for one minute with a 30 second rest and then two minutes with a one minute rest. I do this for 30 minutes. I make sure to drink water (NOT POOL WATER) to keep hydrated.

The KEY to not having sore muscles is consuming WHEY protein and a fast acting carb ( like an Apple) within 30-60 minutes after the workout. The sooner the better. The protein helps to fill the muscles and lower the glucose levels, and rid of lactic acid, which causes muscle fatigue. This AFTER WORKOUT MEAL is essential for any athelete..... and consuming more water to rehydrate.


JODI PLISZKA, M.S. The World's Leading Solutionlogist. Please listen to my new show on RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT RADIO called WEIRD MEDICAL MALADIES!
May 31, 12:00 PM
3 years ago.
Hey Amanda! Usually what I do before a race is try to calm myself down and remind myself that I have been blessed with the ability to swim. I also dedicate my race to God and give it my all! I try to keep in mind that, it is just like racing in practice. I am not as nervous in practice and for some reason, I always want to win way more at practice. So I try to keep the same mindset at a meet that i do at practice. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments! :) You are an inspiration to us all!
May 31, 11:52 AM
3 years ago.
A key to success is to take about 5 minutes before your race and sit down with your eyes closed and visualize your race Imagine yourself standing on the block, the starter announces "swimmer take your mark" the beep goes off and you dive right into the water in one instant. You kick underwater until you cant any longer. and come up to breathe. PUSH! breathe! SQUEEZE YOUR LEGS! breathe. LET IT ALL OUT! its you last race of the day. dont fly and die. you pace yourself well. your in first. You tap the wall. touch and push on your feet to send yourself propelling through the water. Your almost to the end. only a few laps left. PUSH IT OUT! GIVE IT EVERYTHING YOU GOT! YOUR SO CLOSE! touch and push on your feet to send yourself against the current of the rapid moving water. You kick your hardest on this lap! your almost there. SPRINT IT OUT! PUSH! PUSH! PUSH! YOU WANT TO MAKE IT TO THAT WALL BEFORE EVERYBODY ELSE!
you touch the wall and look up at the scoreboard. you see your lane and notice you just came in 1st. It was your best race ever and you just achieved a personal time. congrats :)
May 31, 11:43 AM
Amanda Beard
3 years ago.
These are all amazing tips! Honestly, you have to do what is right for your body. Your nutrition and training plan has to work for you to be your definition of success. Eating healthy is KEY for me - if you don't have proper nutrition, you won't have the energy to fuel you through any workout. So, healthy eating habits are a great starting point. On top of that, with hard work and dedication, good performance will follow. Maybe slowly, but it will. Keep on doing what you are doing and I will be checking in periodically to motivate you to keep going!

Thanks for participating! Can't wait to hear from others!
May 31, 6:56 PM
Georgienna V. Driver
3 years ago.
Another good tip is positivity and believing in the best of your abilities! Mental mind can push your body like nothing before~
May 31, 10:49 AM
3 years ago.
When training for a big meet. Start with the meet date and work backwards to determine the correct training schedule. The week(s) before the Big Meet should be a recovery/taper weeks. Setting your schedule this way ensures a proper regime. I train 2 build weeks and a recovery week as a swimmer in the 60 - 64 age group.
May 31, 10:48 AM
3 years ago.
May 31, 10:46 AM
3 years ago.
The night before a meet I like to make sure I stretch a lot to loosen up my muscles. For dinner I like to have pasta with a little bit of oil with salt and pepper. I like to make sure not to eat too much so that I could make sure to go to bed early and have a good night sleep. While I lay in bed I like to imagine my self swimming race exactly the way that I wish to swim when I am actually up on the block. In the morning I like to eat a banana for the potassium, and only eat healthy snacks during the day. Before the meet I jump up and down and get myself pumped for the meet. As I step onto the block I clear my mind of any distractions and focus on my race. Before the referee blows the whistle I close my eyes and visualize myself swimming my event with the exact same speed and form that I wish to perform. When I hit the water I swim with the water not against it and there is no going back!!!
Good Luck Amanda Beard, You are my inspiration.
May 31, 10:26 AM
Alfons puhalla
3 years ago.
training- I prefer training with springs which give me mussel tone and not bulk.
training- builds confidence
before meet-hang out with friends and a positive environment (with music)
Good luck AL
May 31, 09:55 AM
3 years ago.
Before a meet I eat a balanced breakfast that always includes a banana and peanut butter. I am a little different than most swimmers I am a diabetic so during a meet I "graze" with protien and carbs. I have been swimming since I was 4, I am 12 now and love to swim! Good Luck:)
May 31, 09:54 AM
3 years ago.
My tip: I always make spaghetti the night before a race and eat healthy snacks the day of the meet like bananas, nutrigrain bars and pb&j sandwiches cut into 1/4 pieces. I try to get a good night's rest and think positively. I cheer for all my teammates. I always shake hands with my competitors after a race.
May 31, 09:39 AM
3 years ago.
My 9 year old daughter prepares for a swim meet by resting the night before and eating a healthy meal. We also try to go over her best times and remind her to just try to improve her own times, not to worry so much about always "winning".
May 31, 09:19 AM
Daniella Heysquierdo
3 years ago.
The tip I will give you is special to me. I hope you enjoy it. Before a meet our coach tries to push everyone to do their best, but I have a different way. I visualize what I want, what I will do, and how I will do it. I breathe, breathe, and breathe. I lower my heart rate just to about realization. When I step on the block my heart is slow and steady. I can hear it beat. I grip the starting block and tuck my chin and take one last breathe before I hear the beep. Then I only feel free, free from everything. I release from the block like a bullet and not stopping. I finish the race but it takes another person to pull me out of the pool. You don't realize how fast your going when you are having fun. My tip for you is to do what you love and be the best you can be. To follow what you want and succeed is a great accomplishment. I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to watching you swim in London on my TV in my home town.
May 31, 09:19 AM
Connie Goodwin
3 years ago.
To have gotten this far, you know what to do. Eat healthy, positive attitude, good sleep, cross train (running and biking) and enjoy the way your body feels and how your body and mind work together. Remember how strong you are. Pray to do your best. Bravo for you.
May 31, 09:11 AM
3 years ago.
I eat spaghetti the night before and do my best to sleep well. I always visualize a positive outcome and a fantastic race to train my mind for success! At the meet I try to cheer for as many people as possible so that I am having fun, which is really the whole point!
May 31, 09:08 AM
3 years ago.
Before a big meet I do the usual stuff....taper, eat lots of protein and carbs and get as much rest as I can.
But mentally....I watch "Dance Moms" or "Cake Boss" on my ipad on the way to the meet. It always makes me realize I picked the best sport to participate and that I have the best coaches and parents because they aren't crazy like those dance people:)
May 31, 08:53 AM
3 years ago.
Using aqua fins to train support the meet in every way!
May 31, 08:49 AM
3 years ago.
All five of our kids are swimmers and before a meet they make sure to take in plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and get a very good night's rest.
May 31, 08:35 AM
3 years ago.
My son, Anthony, who is a 12-year old Autistic USA swimmer believes in Banannas... one bananna between each event works well.
May 31, 08:20 AM
3 years ago.
My favorite way to prepare myself mentally. Repeat in my mind "I have trained to do it, I know I can do it & now I am going to do it".
May 31, 08:07 AM
Herman Arrivillaga
3 years ago.
Taper, taper taper. You know yourself best so decrease you distance in practice suing your experience as an indicator for staying loose. Each one of us is unique and that knowledge can pay off at competition. Use of calming music through out the week is a tool and then on competition day, crank up an upbeat, motivation music line up.
May 31, 07:58 AM
Cynthia Fowler
3 years ago.
I like to get my oxygen flowing freely before a swim and my blood pumping, especially for speed drills. So i like to cycle on a spin bike for about 30 mins, and instead of making me tired, it's actually the perfect warmup and i found that i can breathe so much more fluidly during my swim. :) Hope that helps!
May 31, 07:56 AM
3 years ago.
eat a balance hardy breakfast, get a good night sleep, swim daily
May 31, 07:56 AM
3 years ago.
My favorite way to prep besides the usual (good night rest, visualizing races and time splits I'm shooting for) is pickle juice. I make sure to drink some pickle juice as it has helped me get past cramping issues I use to have. Now I drink some pickle juice the night before and morning of and I'm fine.
May 31, 07:55 AM
3 years ago.
My favorite thing to do before a big meet is to be around all the people I love and who inspire me to do my best, my friends and family. We get together and have a good meal, laughs and a good time.
May 31, 07:52 AM
3 years ago.
Best of luck to you...... Go Girl...............
May 31, 07:51 AM
3 years ago.
Before a contest, I choose to go the mental route.

The mental route being - I think about all of the people in my life that are not at the starting line for one reason or another. Those who suffer from physical impediments, those who have never been given a chance, and those who have been told "they can't" for their entire lives. I even get into the zone and fixate on the faces.

Nothing special, but it works for me!

All the best,
May 31, 07:48 AM
3 years ago.
Just remember to have fun!
May 31, 07:36 AM
3 years ago.
Dedication and hard work deliver results. Amanda you are so inspiring for the upcoming generation of swimmers... an amazing role model!
May 31, 07:36 AM
3 years ago.
Take a moment to meditate and visualize your swim. Visualize your goal and imagine yourself touching the wall first. Go girl!!
May 31, 07:36 AM
3 years ago.
I have always had a problem of psyching myself out before a meet, so I find it important to be as relaxed as possible the days before I swim. Getting plenty of rest, eating well, and finding time to relax and meditate make sure that I am feeling good before a race.
May 31, 07:34 AM
Laura Simon
3 years ago.
My tip to prepare for a big meet is to blast my favorite song and jump around to it to get the nervous energy out.
May 31, 07:32 AM
3 years ago.
My favorite meal is already pasta the night before a swim meet and a grilled chicken sandwich with roasted red peppers for lunch :)
May 31, 07:32 AM
Diann Bauer
3 years ago.
A tip I learned from showing dressage horses: Imagine success and your body will follow to create that outcome. If I'm going to swim an IM, I imagine myself doing perfect transitions at the walls. It seems to help a lot to do this mental rehearsal.
May 31, 07:14 AM
Matt Gold
3 years ago.
Good Luck. I prepare by having a pasta dinner the night before and a bagel with lox spread before the meet with a big glass of milk. I do my exercises my dr. gave me and after warmups before I swim I have an energy bar. after my swim I have a gatorade.
May 30, 5:09 PM
3 years ago.
You are very inspiring Amanda. Thank you.
May 30, 5:25 PM
3 years ago.
May 8, 8:54 PM
3 years ago.
Good luck, and I hope you and Janet Evans make it.
May 8, 11:26 AM
3 years ago.
Can't wait to see the mini series about Amanda Beard!
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