Hey Sharkies, we got a new website that has a special blog section and decided to use this feature this year, in addition to our club magazine. In this first edition of our blog, you can read two amazing stories from our very own members on what you can expect at our student competition (NSZK) and can find some helpful tips of one Tiburon’s finest Swimmers.
What do you need to know before joining the NSZK weekends
In a couple of days, we’ll all leave our lovely city Maastricht, to go all the way to the other side of the Netherlands. The next NSZK is going to be in Groningen. The weekend always starts by getting to the organizing city by either train or car. The ‘gezelligheid’ starts here already (if you don’t know this word yet, you will soon). When arriving in the city, in this case Groningen, you’ll either go to the pre-party directly or, if you have enough time, you’ll go to the house where you’ll be staying during the weekend to drop off your bags.
The pre-party is the party where you have a drink, talk to people from either your own association or members of the sister associations. Further, there’s always music here, so dancing is always an option! You can drink as much as you would like, but keep in mind that you have to swim in the competition the next day.
Since the sleeping location mostly isn’t close to everything (train station, pre-party location, swimming pool and theme party location), so renting an OV bike is the smart thing to do. You can find these bikes at the NS train station. To be able to rent these bikes, you need a personalized OV card (the yellow one with a picture) and you must activate the possibility to rent these bikes on the NS website. (for more information go to the NS website: https://www.ns.nl/en/door-to-door/ov-fiets/the-ov-fiets.html)
Further, your host will arrange breakfast for both Saturday and Sunday morning, but keep in mind that they might not know about your diet. Also, make sure to bring enough food for during the competition.
On Saturday the competition takes place. Make sure to be on time! For more information and how to prepare for a competition, read Manon’s tips! After the competition, the NSZK commission organized dinner (mostly at the swimming pool). If you have a special diet, Kathleen should know about it and there’ll be special food for you. Usually after dinner, there’s time to change to your party outfit! Since in the evening there’s always a theme party!! Make sure to dress up! It’s a lot of fun! You can also have couple of group outfits. The NSZK commission of Groningen is inviting us in their Cirque du Groleil tent. The doors will open at 22:00 and after 23:30, you can’t enter the party location anymore. So, make sure to be on time!!
After the theme party, you’ll go back to your sleeping location and on Sunday there’ll be breakfast for you. Also, on Sunday we’ll all travel back to Maastricht and if possible, we’ll do this together. Keep in mind that you’re going to be very tired this Sunday, so my advice would be to not procrastinate your schoolwork for this Sunday 😉
I hope you’re going to have a lot of fun during the NSZK in Groningen!
Tips for before the competition.
Both you and your body should be prepared when you have to swim. You can prepare yourself by remembering in which program you have to swim, which heat and which lane. Write this down before or in the beginning of the competition, and you can help each other when you have to swim in the same heat or program to remember this. Most swimmers write it on their arm or hand like this: 3-2-8, which means: program 3, heat 2, lane 8.
Furthermore, also your body needs to be prepared before you dive into the water. Therefore it is important to warm-up before your race. There is always half an hour to warm-up in the pool, which can be used to practice your stroke one more time and to wake up your muscles. I always start with some lanes of really easy swimming. At the end of the warm-up I do some short sprints (15 meters) in the stroke I have to compete. Or if I have to do a longer distance during the competition, I try to simulate race pace for one or two lanes. This is the warm-up in the pool, but sometimes you don’t have to swim in the first 2 hours after the warm-up, so then you have to warm-up again. I always do this by some jumping, swinging my arms and shaking my legs, so when I have to sprint, my muscles are already alert.
Food is another way in which you can be prepared for a competition. What works for me, is spinach! Yes, spinach, like Popeye. I eat spinach almost always the day before a competition. There is even some scientific literature for the intake of spinach, since it reduces the oxygen uptake during exercise. I don’t know if that is why it works, or it is just because I really like it, but when I realized I swam good the day after I ate spinach, I always try to eat something with spinach in it before a competition. Another thing that works for me is pancakes on the day of the competition. Of course, not the pancakes with bacon or other things that won’t make your stomach happy, but just pancakes, with some sugar or with cheese. In general, I would say just eat something that is kind of healthy, no pizza or fries, just a normal meal.
During the competition, it is important to eat and drink something. I would say just eat and drink what you like. You can just drink water, or something with some sugar in it, although I would not recommend soda or beer! You can have plenty of that during the party after the competition! When I want to eat something during a competition I eat usually a sandwich or a small bar (muesli or fruit).