Keeping training attendance as high as possible is always difficult throughout the winter due to the increased incidence of illness. This guide aims to help in making good decisions regarding the prevention of illness and what to do if swimmers become ill.
One of the key messages to get across is to stay in regular contact with the coach during any period of illness. This will ensure that the swimmer returns to the pool with the minimal disruption to their training.
How can swimmers avoid getting ill?
The simple answer is they can’t, but there are a few steps that swimmers can take to help avoid it.
- Wash hands regularly, and avoid biting nails.
- Wear a coat to/from school/training and ensure you have plenty of other layers.
- Wear a hat around school and to/from training. This is really important for avoiding ear infections. We have club beanies if required!
- Dry hair and ears properly after every session.
- Drink plenty of fluids regularly throughout the day. The immune system needs water to function properly.
- Post training; make sure you have a snack available within 20 minutes.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet. There is no magic cure, just healthy eating.
- Get to bed as early as possible to maximise sleep and recovery time.
What happens if a swimmer gets ill?
- Let the coach know.
- General rule of thumb; if it’s above the shoulders swim (i.e. head cold), if it’s below the shoulders stay out of the pool.
- A general rest from PE and other sports, as well as a general lifestyle rest, is essential.
There is evidence to suggest that low intensity exercise promotes recovery from infection; however working too hard and in the wrong way can extended the recovery period.
When should a swimmer come back to training?
This is almost totally individual and should be decided in consultation with the coach from the onset of the illness. As a guide, if you have had a fever/sickness then 4-7 days of complete rest is recommended. For a case of the sniffles you don’t need to miss training. If you are not sure, come to the session and the coach will assist parents in determining fitness for training.
What will happen when a swimmer returns to training?
Initially training will be at a lower intensity. Heart rates will not go above 50-60 beats below max (Roughly 140- 160 beats per minute). This will build up session by session. The rehab period is usually a minimum of 50% of the sessions that have been missed. i.e. If a week’s training is missed, it will be a minimum of a an additional 3- 4 days before full training is resumed.