How to Pack for a Swim Meet

March 20, 2016

The night before a big meet, many swimmers find themselves standing over their bags and scratching their heads. The fear of forgetting something essential can be almost as nerve-racking as the actual races. Push those “what-if’s” out of your head, relax, and follow this guide. Then, on the day of your swim meet, you’ll wake up feeling confident that you have everything you need.


Hot Tip: When to Pack

Pack the night before the meet. As you put items in your bag, visualize the entire day of competition: From the moment you plan to wake up, to the moment you walk back through your front door. Make a list of things you can’t pack until morning (food or cloths in the wash), make a list. Set that on top of your swim bag before you go to bed.



Swim Meet Packing List:

  • Two competition suits
  • Two caps
  • Two pairs of goggles
  • Swim suit for warm-up
  • Three or four towels
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle

Also Consider Bringing:

  • Money: Meet programs usually cost a couple of bucks. And you may want a snack bar treat, especially if the meet is running slowly.
  • Lunch: Pack your own sandwich, fresh fruit, nuts, energy bars, and water. Don’t count on the snack bar to have many — if any — healthy options.
  • A chair: Sometimes a team area will be stationed on wet grass or hard concrete. In order to stay comfortable, think about bringing a chair along.
  • Sunscreen: If the meet is outdoors, you may be sitting outside in the sun for hours. Remember: even if it is overcast, you can still get burnt.
  • Tent: You don’t want to get caught out in winter rains or summer sun. Both can drain you of energy.
  • Warm clothes: Bring a swim parka, comfortable pants, sweatshirt, socks, and shoes. Even at indoor pools, it is best to have a non-flip-flop option for your feet, in case the air-conditioning is cranked up or you get stuck near an open (or frequently opened) door.
  • Entertainment: Be prepared to sit around for a couple of hours. Staying awake and alert will help you swim faster, so bring whatever keeps you happily entertained: a friend or two, a deck of cards, something to read, pens and paper for coloring, your iPod, board games, or all of the above.
  • A relaxed, positive attitude: This least tangible item is probably the most important thing you can bring to a meet!


Hot Tip: Forgetting an Essential

If you forget to bring something to a meet, don’t panic! Many swim meets have vendors that sell essential items: Caps, goggles, suits, etc. If you forget your goggles — or if they happen to break — you can often purchase another pair at the meet. If there are no vendors at the meet, you can always ask a teammate or another friendly swimmer if they have an extra pair.

Getting the Hang of It

 After a couple of swim meets, you’ll know exactly what you need to pack. Make sure you pack in plenty of time so that if you remember something later, you still have time to throw it in your bag. Either way, this list will help you get started on packing your bag and easing your nerves before your big meet.

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