It’s no secret that swimmers and other endurance athletes rely on carb loading to keep their muscles fueled for performance. Consuming carbohydrates helps build glycogen stores in muscles. Muscles “burn” or convert glycogen into energy more efficiently than any other power source.
Over the years, pre-competition carb loading has become more of formal process and has evolved into a tradition.
Travelling swim teams and swimmers take over Italian restaurants in the towns and cities hosting swim meets, gobbling up plates of pasta to prepare for racing.
Historically, team dinners were more common for high school and college swimmers. More recently, club teams have embraced swim team dinners as a way to build team camaraderie and introduce younger swimmers to proper pre-race eating practices.
As a team parent, you’ll likely have the opportunity for you and your swimmer(s) to attend, or even host, a pre-swim meet dinner. You might be tempted to skip, but be advised- opting out will cause you to miss a great opportunity to:
On a recent “journalism assignment” (and at the behest of my wife, Stacey Kiefer), I attended the PX3 Swim Team pasta dinner at the Recplex, in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.
Dress Casual! Team members came directly from the afternoon swim workout– so our kids were in pajamas. The swim team carb loading dinner isn’t an awards banquet – so anything goes.
Bargain City! The Kiefer family (Ginger, River, Robin, Stacey) paid a very reasonable $5 per head to attend the pasta dinner. Some swim team pasta dinners are fundraisers – this wasn’t a fundraiser. The bargain entry feee was designed only to cover the cost for offering the event.
Pot Lucky! Families are asked to bring a side dish or desert – we brought tortillas, a mountain of avocados, limes, and other ingredients for fresh guacamole that I prepared on the spot, while under close scrutiny from Stacey Kiefer.
Basta Pasta! An ample buffet was presented for the full use of all diners – and there were plenty of carb sources: pasta, potatoes, bread, and diverse fruit salads. Baked Mostaccioli and Lasagna were served in both meat and meatless preparations.
Fun & Fashion! After dinner, kids began to produce blank t-shirts. The purpose was soon made clear as they began to decorate the “psych-up” shirts with permanent markers, adorning the garments with motivational sayings (and best wishes in other team mates shirts). Psych-up shirt decoration was a lot of fun and caused swimmers to circulate throughout the multi-purpose room, sharing ideas for the ultimate shirt design.
Swim parenting can be demanding, but team dinners are fun. Don’t miss out on a great chance to build relationships with the team and support your swimmers along the way.
See you at the pool – or the pasta dinner,