Swimmers have different dietary needs than other athletes. A diet high in protein and complex carbohydrates is key to replenishing glycogen stores and boosting your metabolism. USA Swimming calls this functional fueling.
Carbohydrates should be a primary fuel source. In fact carbs should make up to 50 or 60 percent of a swimmer's diet. Protein should make up 30 percent and the remainder should be healthy fats- about 15 to 20 percent.
The differences aren't just in macro nutritional needs but caloric intake as well.
As any swim parent knows a swimmer's appetite can seem never ending. But how many calories do they truly need?
On top of normal USDA recommendations swimmers need an additional 1200 calories per 2 hours of practice time.
9 -13 need 1600 to 2000 calories a day
14 - 8 need 1800 to 2000 calories a day
9 -13 need 2000 calories a day
14 -18 need 2400 to 2800 calories a day