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Open Water:

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- The Do-Over Is Part Of The Healing Process
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- Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen Completes Sweep of USMS Records
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  BIG Meet Swimming Strategies
Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen
2004 World Masters Swimmer of the Year

Karlyn would like to share with you suggestions and strategies that can help you maximize your potential during a big meet or event.

Don’t sabotage your taper

Stay off your feet: This is a BIG one. You might not be aware of this, but standing on your feet drains your legs (a little walking is ok). If you are having a conversation…grab a seat and chat away. You have done your best to prepare for this competition…don’t let it all go to waste at the event.

Easy does it! Many athletes want to prove that they are FAST by doing too many sprints or starts in warm up. Both of these activities will tire you out. Do a few of each, and then call it quits.

Schedule some time AWAY from the pool: Cheer for your teammates, but save some energy for your events. To keep yourself fresh, find a quiet spot or plan breaks away from the competition.

Be Prepared

Get to the meet on time: Have a daily plan. Know what you will be swimming and when. Arrive early to get a good warm up. Do not add more stress to the event by rushing around or getting lost.

Pack well: Extra suits, caps, towels and 2 pairs of goggles (in case your favorite pair breaks). You may also need WARM clothes, hat & socks if the pool deck is chilly.

Bring food and drink: Pack a small ice chest filled with easy to digest snacks and for your post exercise nutrition. I pack Accelerade, soy drinks, low fat chocolate milk, Cliff bars and PB & J’s.

How to swim a GREAT race

Swim your own race: You can only control how YOU swim. Sure, check out the competition but don’t “psych” yourself out thinking everyone else is faster than you. Your deserve a great race, too!

Warm up & cool down: Don’t short yourself on a good warm up. If too much time has elapsed since warm up, get in again. A long cool down is “insurance” that your next race will be a good one, too!

Finish STRONG! Unless it is a sprint, try not to push too hard too early. At the beginning, find your “easy speed” then build to a fast and strong finish (think build or negative split). Always ask your coach for race suggestions.


Have fun! After all this is not the Olympics. If you are having fun, you are relaxed and you will perform better. Laugh and enjoy the moment, cheer for your friends, share your energy and other will share theirs with you.

Mental strategies: Stay away from the “Unknown” which is fear based. Stay in the KNOW! Know that you are ready to swim fast and do well! Know that you are a good swimmer and are prepared to face the challenge.

Try not to over think: Have a clear race plan and visualize a positive outcome. Set a goal time and SEE that time on the scoreboard. Recognize that this is all in FUN and try not to take yourself so seriously!