9 Hacks to Propel Your Swim For Hope Performance
By Revathie Dhanabalan
October 8, 2018
SAFRA's annual charity event Swim For Hope 2018 is right around the corner! Excited to do our part for charity and keep fit, it was time for us to brush up our swimming techniques and fundamentals. We enlisted the help of Head Coach Julian Siak of SAFRA's FINS Swim School for tips to hit our #fitspo goals on event day.
1. PAR-Q Assessment
Julian advises all participants to do a PAR-Q assessment before going for the event. While it may seem like a mouthful, PAR-Q actually stands for Physical Activity Readiness Questionaire. "It is an easy way to help you self-assess if you are physically fit enough for any sports activity within 3 minutes," says Julian.
Click here for a handy PAR-Q assessment compiled by us.
2. Pre-Workout Diet and Hydration
It is important for swimmers to fuel themselves by having enough complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take a longer time to digest, hence providing a steady source of energy for swimmers throughout the 2-hour swim. Cereal, brown rice and whole wheat bread are great sources of complex carbohydrates.
The timing of your pre-workout meal matters too. "Avoid eating full meals immediately before the swim," says Julian. Eating too near your swim is a rookie mistake that may cause discomfort and even stomach upset. It is indeed unfortunate for a well-prepared swimmer to have an ill-timed meal thwart his or her training efforts at the event.
When in the pool, it is easy for us to forget about hydration as we are surrounded by water. Our muscles, which are made up of 73% water, will start to lose performance when we are dehydrated. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, swimmers should drink 470 to 590 ml of water before exercise. Furthermore, we should rehydrate with 85 to 240 ml with every 15 minutes in the pool.
3. Training for the Event
Swimmers should have adequate training before attempting Swim For Hope 2018. Preparing for the event is crucial so that your body is equipped with adequate cardiovascular and muscular strength. You should match your speed and number of laps during your swim training with your targets for the event.
You should have a good idea of how many laps you can accomplish within a 2-hour window. Your targets for the actual event should be reasonable and within reach given the amount of time left to prepare.
"Proper warm-up before the swim can help prevent potential injuries," advised Julian. A good warm-up increases the temperature of the muscles, engorges it with blood and prepares them for activity. Swimmers should attempt dynamic warm-ups such as jumping jacks, butt-kicks, arm circles and lunges before swimming. The intensity and duration of the warm-up should correspond to your actual swim. Stretch for a longer period if you warm up in the water as a cold temperature means your muscles would take more time to warm-up.
During the Swim
5. Pacing & Efficient Swim Stroke
Swim For Hope is an endurance game. Julian says all swimmers should "swim at a comfortable pace, employ long strokes, and make full use of each glide throughout your strokes". This will maximise the efficiency of each stroke and help you to go further at the event.
6. Employ Proper Breathing Patterns and Swim Form
Beginners usually make the mistake of holding their breath under water. "Exhale slowly underwater instead of holding your breath," advises Julian. While underwater, gently breathe out and bubbles should come out from your mouth and nose. Breathe in through the mouth when your head is above water. A comfortable breathing rhythm will aid in maintaining your swimming form throughout the event.
"Swimmers should keep their heads in line with their body position to maintain their form," says Julian. This helps to keep a streamline body and helps you cut across the water with lesser resistance. "An easy way to accomplish that is to look at the bottom of the pool while you swim."
7. Safety Distance and Keeping to Your Lanes
Julian also reminds all swimmers to keep a safe distance between themselves and other swimmers. Swimmers should also keep to their lanes during the swim and stay alert of others to prevent unnecessary injury.
After the Swim
8. Cool Down
Before your collect your hard-earned medals and pose for your victory selfie/wefie, remember to do your post-workout stretch to aid your muscles in recovery. Employ stretches such as front shoulder stretches, rear shoulder stretches, and quadriceps stretches to cool down.
9. Post-Workout Diet and Hydration
A common misconception amongst those who are looking to lose weight is not eating after a workout. In fact, it is crucial to eat after your workout to help your muscles recover. Eat a mix of protein and carbohydrates to aid muscle repair and replenish your glycogen supplies. Lean sources of proteins such as fish and chicken are perfect for a post-workout meal.
Swim For Hope will be held from 12 to 14 Oct 2018 at SAFRA Jurong, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun clubs! Every lap we swim will go towards raising funds for our beneficiaries: Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN), Singapore Children's Society and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Care Fund. All proceeds raised will be fully donated to charity.
Let's do our best for charity, see you there!
See you at Swim For Hope 2018!