I. LOVE. Swimming. It’s my passion. I was also lucky enough to compete at the highest levels and earn two Olympic® Gold Medals. I loved training, learning, sharing tips with other swimmers, and now I love passing those tips down to my own children as they become athletes themselves.
Back when I was seriously training, I welcomed the challenges of perfecting my stroke, streamlining my body through the water, and breathing in the most efficient way so as to keep my muscles oxygenated.
You see, breathing is one of the most important aspects of swimming. In just about all sports, you can breathe as you see fit— that means more breaths when you’re a bit tired and less when you’re cruising along. In swimming, however, you need to be disciplined and calculated in your approach to breathing. Each breath needs to be timed perfectly, and you need to breathe strategically throughout a race. You need to plan out your breathing regimen so that you oxygenate your muscles so you can finish strong.
In order to be an efficient breather, you need a clear airway – it’s that simple. If your allergies act up, it sets a number of things into motion that might slow you down in the water.
You can guess that this is unacceptable if you are a competitive swimmer. Since I suffer from allergies myself, I used to be very aware that they might strike during a meet, and took these measures to prevent them:
- Keeping the windows shut on the way to the pool and back. This way, pollen is less likely to get in your system, and it will be less likely to slow you down in the pool.
- I would wear long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses to my meets. Also, I would make sure that my warm-up gear was fresh from the washing machine so as to avoid dust.
- If it was an outdoor poor near a park or some other wooded area, I would try and stay as close to the pool as possible.
These preventative measures would work for the most part, but, sometimes my allergies struck and I had to deal with them. I always kept an antihistamine in my bag just in case. If my nose did get runny, I could get relief. .
I hope this helps! Now get out there and swim!