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Trains Well, Wants to Race Better


Hallo Gary, Thank you for the very informative materials I received from you. Late last month my daughter participated in the CANA zone 3 &4 championships in Lusaka. She is 12.

We have noticed that she panics a lot and doesn’t do well in competitions compare to training. During trainings she swims very well and fast this isn’t seen at all in competitions. what could the reason be?  She really looked prepared and good before the meet, even though her times dropped , she could have done much better.

Thanks B


Hi B,

What your daughter is experiencing is not unusual for some swimmers.  They can train really well and then when it comes to their main swim meet they do not perform to their expectations.

What I have done in the past as a coach of swimmers like this is twofold.

Firstly, we introduced ghost races during at least one training session a week.  This was were I would include in one session each week the opportunity for everyone to race an event for time during a session. Most times I would tell them what distance or stroke they would be doing and sometimes I let them choose.

Secondly, I had the swimmers compete in smaller swim meets once every 3 weeks in the lead up to the major meet. This way, they practised racing on a more continuous basis and were ‘race fit’ when they came to their major meet.

I believe either of these solutions may help your daughter learn more about racing and being prepared to swim fast.

The key to racing well is to forget about everyone else and focus on yourself and your lane.  It is the time to put into action everything you have practised in training.

Good luck.



The Swimming Expert

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