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How to Pack for a Swim Meet

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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1 month ago.
Thanks!! This really helps! As a competitive swimmer, I often do find myself wondering what to pack and worrying that I’ll miss something important. So this list really helps!!
11 months ago.
thank you for this, it really helped me, because tomorrow and for the next two days I will be swimming in a prelim/final meet! :)
1 year ago.
One thing on the list is definitely bring a blanket it can seriously be the best when it comes to sitting on the concrete
1 year ago.
Thank you so much! This helped a lot for packing to Country Championships.
I didn’t forget anything ??. Thanks again
1 year ago.
OMG, this helped so much! Thank you a lot. This helped me with packing for Country Champions. I didn’t forget anything. Thanks again!
2 years ago.
Thanks, but I'm looking for more of a travel meet packing list. This is my second one, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions. Please let me know if there is another resource or article that I could take a look at. Wish me luck!
2 years ago.
Hi Elix,

We are still to create one for travel swim meets. However, if you will be taking a flight going to the destination for the Swim Meet, a good recommendation would be to keep your important items (things on the list above) in your carry on, to avoid problems if in case of lost checked in baggage.
2 years ago.
This helped a lot. Especially since it was my first season!
2 years ago.
My first meet is tomorrow!!! Thank you so much for this advice etc. It’s really helping me and my motivation! Hope I do well, wish me luck!
2 years ago.
You're more than welcome! Good luck in your first meet!
3 years ago.
This is helpful!! But remember to bring swim caps and extra goggles in case yours break!
2 years ago.
IT says that already at the top
3 years ago.
Though I'm still in age group swim, this seemed really helpful! I'm binge reading swim articles, I'm freaking for my meet.
3 years ago.
thx for the tips but you can not bring electronics cuz it is bad for ur eyes and your eyes wiil hurt if water seeps in the googles
4 years ago.
You should NOT bring unhealthy stuff, IDK why my coach just told me that...
4 years ago.
Hello, Thank you for all those tips you gave me, I bet they will really help me on my swim meets. Thank you so much.
4 years ago.
Always have an extra pair of googles and your freinds will probably take your good
2 years ago.
Don't bring too much water. Gatorade is better for you before a meet. You are supposed to drink a lot of water in the morning and the night before the meet.
4 years ago.
Extra pair of goggles... You just never know!
2 years ago.
Yes! One time a coach was tightening my goggles and he broke them! you just never know.
4 years ago.
Omg this is so helpful for me !!!! Thank you
4 years ago.
This helped a lot and if you ever need anything for swim meets you should go to swim outlet is amazing I bought all of my swim gear from it.
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