How to Prepare for Your High School Swim Team

You’ve completed your high school swim team tryouts and made the team. Congratulations! Some of the hard work is behind you. But now you have to prepare for your high school swim team. 

Related article: Should I Join My High School Swim Team?

By preparing for your swim team, you give yourself a better chance to find success during the season. And hopefully, help ease any anxiety that you might have about joining the team.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase something through one of our links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Please check out our disclosure page for more information.

Image with purple and blue background. A black border surrounds a white text box with text that reads: how to prepare for your high school swim team

Get Your Required Swim Gear

Check with your coach to see what swim gear and equipment you’ll need. Most high schools provide equipment for practice but at best, you’ll still need to get a swim cap, goggles, and a swimsuit

Related articles: 

We also encourage you to consider some swimming ear drops to use after practice. Or use earplugs during practice if you’re prone to ear infections. Ear drops and earplugs can help prevent swimmer’s ear.

Related article: What is Swimmer’s Ear?

You’ll also need a water bottle. We recommend investing in a reusable water bottle to keep someone else from using your bottle. 

Lastly, you’ll also want to ensure you have a towel for practice, too. Be sure to have a towel or two dedicated just for swim practices, as they can get moldy or start to smell after constant use.

Towels such as a microfiber towel or shammy are an alternative to larger swim towels. Because of their small size, they take up far less space in swim bags and dry quicker.

Related article: 5 Reasons to Own a Shammy

Physical Preparation 


Stretching is crucial before any type of workout. It helps loosen up your muscles and warms them up before you start any physical activity. Proper stretching can lessen the risk of injury or hurting yourself later.

Because of this, it’s important that you stretch before you do any practicing on your own. 

You should also take some time to stretch on your own during the days that you’re not practicing. Stretching doesn’t just help warm up and loosen your muscles. It’s also a way to work on your flexibility.

Related article: How to Prepare for Your First Swim Practice

Surprisingly, flexibility can play a role in swimming and it’s something you should work on. Increased flexibility can give you a better range of motion for each of your strokes. This in turn helps increase your arm extension and your ability to hold proper technique.

Your team might not focus on stretching but it’s something you should get into the habit of regardless. It’s a good lifestyle habit, even after you finish swimming!


Getting in some swimming practice! This is the best way to prepare for your high school swim team. 

You don’t need to practice for hours every day. Even an hour each day can make a big difference. If you can’t swim every day, aim for a few days each week. Some practice is better than none as you get ready for your team.

More Content for You: 10 Myths About Swim Teams

If you haven’t swum much before, be sure to start small. Start with a few laps and begin to build your way up each time you get in the water. It’s better to start with shorter sets and find out what you can do instead of trying to tackle larger distances.

Make sure you do a warm-up swim before attempting longer distances or any sprint work. If you’re newer to swimming, an easy warm-up to try is a 200 swim, 100 kick, and 100 pull. Take breaks if you need them and don’t forget to hydrate during your practice.


As you prepare for your high school swim team, you should try to get in some dryland workouts. 

Related article: What is Dryland in Swimming?

Dryland consists of stretching, core work, and body/weight training. On some teams, dryland might also consist of cardio and even some yoga. 

The good news is that you can easily do dryland at home. It’s also possible to do dryland workouts without weight.

Start doing some core and bodyweight workouts at home to help strengthen your muscles. You don’t need to worry about lifting heavy or doing complicated exercises.

Simple is okay! Don’t hurt yourself by trying to do something you watched online. You’re more likely to hurt yourself.

If you want to incorporate equipment, consider resistance bands. These are great for adding some weight or resistance to your current workout. 

Related article: Best Dryland Equipment for Home

To work your core and abdominal muscles, try doing some sets of crunches, Russian Twists, planks, and side crunches. Swimming starts at the core and can help your body balance in the water.

Try some squats, lunges, push-ups, and chair dips using bodyweight to work your legs and arms.

Want some dryland workouts or need some examples? Check out our library of dryland workouts

If you can’t get into the water to practice and workout, doing some dryland works is the next best option. 

Join a Summer League Team

If nothing else, consider joining a summer league team. 

A common misconception is that summer league teams are only for kids. But teens can join them too! It’s a great way to introduce someone to swimming and swim teams and is often a starting point for many to join high school or club swimming.

We will note that summer leagues do vary by location and might have different age limits, so be sure to check the requirements first.

If you meet the requirements to join a summer league, we encourage you to join! Though they only last for a few months during the summer (hence the name), they’re a great starting point to introduce you to swim team dynamics. 

This is especially helpful if you’ve never been on a swim team before and are looking at joining your high school team. 

A summer league team can teach you basic swim practice terminology, practice etiquette, and introduce you to swim meets. And as you practice daily, it’s a great way to better your swimming skills and receive some coaching along the way. 

It’s actually how I started! I joined a local summer league to help me prepare for my high school swim team. And not only did it prepare me, but it also gave me the confidence for the start of high school swimming.

Mental Preparation

Finding Balance 

One thing you need to mentally prepare for is learning how to find a balance between your school and swimming needs. 

Practices can run long. And depending on your team, you might have more than one practice a day. Trying to find a balance between swim practice, classes, homework, and your social/personal life can be challenging.

Is it possible? Yes, but it’s harder for some swimmers than others.

We encourage you to have open and honest communication with your coach, teachers, and your parents.

Coaches and teachers aren’t mind readers. They don’t know when you’re struggling with balancing everything. You must let them know when you are so they can help as best they can.

Long Days

Being an athlete means mentally preparing for long days. Some swimmers start their days at 4 or 5 in the morning. And they might not finish until the evening. 

Again, finding that balance is important. As is making sure you keep up with your hydration and nutrition throughout the day. 

It’s easy to forget about these two things when you’re stuck in class all day. But it’s important that you find time in your day to eat a healthy snack or two in between your main meals. Plan out your schedules ahead of time and determine when you can get in a snack. 

Mental Encouragement 

Lastly, the best way to mentally prepare for your high school swim team is through mental encouragement. 

Tell yourself that you’ve got this. And remind yourself that you know what you’re doing and you’re ready for your new team. Starting something new is nerve-wracking. Especially if you’re new to swimming on a team.

Related article: How to Calm Down Before Tryouts

But you’re not in this alone. And you don’t have to feel so worried about it. A bit of anxiety and trepidation is expected. But don’t let it consume you.

Take a few deep breaths and try to relax. You’re more prepared than you realize and you can do this!

As always, to happy swimming!


Bonus Content: (coming soon)

Can I Keep Swimming After High School?

Your Guide to High School Swimming

Want to Improve at the Pool?

Join swimmers and swim parents to receive my free newsletter and receive a free Swimming Glossary e-book as a thanks!

Every month you’ll receive tips and coaching to help you find success at the pool.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *