When you’re at a competition and trying to get your head in the game, the last thing you need is the panic of realising you’ve forgotten something important. You want to make sure you have everything you could need for the competition ahead. 

Sport is a mental game and being prepared will bring you a lot of comfort and good vibes before a race. From the essentials through to some optional extras, here’s a handy checklist of what you should pack.


We’ll run through these fast because chances are you’ve got this part down:

  • Swimming costume 
  • Goggles
  • Towel
  • Swimming cap (if you use one)
  • Sun cream (if swimming outside)
  • Money (for a locker)

But what else could you possibly be forgetting?

For before

You could have a long day ahead of you so pack some entertainment to keep you occupied while waiting for your race. Sport is over 50% mental skill and you don’t want to spend hours focusing on what’s to come. Whether it’s your headphones for music or a good book you can get lost in, sometimes you need a good distraction and keep you on top of your mental game. Or maybe it’s the opposite - maybe you need them to get you in the zone.

Even if you’ve eaten a substantial winner’s breakfast, pack some snacks in case you need a pick-me-up later. You don’t want anything too heavy, so opt for something that’s lightweight but high energy. Fruit, veg, cereal bars, smoothies, or crackers are all good options. Remember to eat straight after a race if you’ve got multiple heats. This way, you have as much time as possible before you race again. 

Be sure to take lots and lots of water with you. Athletes who lose just 2% of their weight in fluid can experience impaired thinking. You don’t want any risk of dehydration, as this will keep you from performing your best. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, try to keep drinking. The water you’re swimming in won’t be able to help you! It can also act as a comforting habit when tensions are high.

Pack a few hair ties if you’ve got long hair that needs tying up. Then pack a few more, because they’re always getting lost or snapping at the most inconvenient times.

For after

Once the competition is done you’ll want toiletries so you don’t have to sit around smelling like the pool and remember some flip flops (or other footwear of choice) for walking around the communal areas. If you’ve got a long drive ahead, you’ll appreciate a fresh, comfy outfit to go home in. It might also be worth bringing some extra money to buy yourself a victory treat. It doesn’t hurt to stay optimistic!

We always recommend packing your competition bag the night before. In the morning your nerves might set in and distract you in the day ahead. Pack as much as you can in advance and then make a list of everything you aren’t able to pack until the morning. This way, you can be sure you’ve got everything you need. 

It’s also worth bringing back-ups of anything you could potentially lose or damage before the race. This is mainly just a precaution but could bring you some peace of mind during the day.

Packing before a big competition can be quite symbolic and kick-starts your competition routine. Having everything you need will help you to feel more prepared and calm. You want to set yourself up for a win, so make sure you have everything you need.

We understand the importance of being prepared for a big competition. That’s why we pride ourselves on high-quality swimwear that will help you to perform your best. Browse our full range here.