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Nutritional Advice for Swimmers

You are what you eat! Elijah Wright is an up and coming diver who was named Coastal Collegiate Sports Association’s Diver of the Week FIVE times in just six weeks.

Salome and Elijah at his high school graduation

Salome and Elijah at his high school graduation

Elijah also swam competitively for years with Loyola Blakefield High School and the Central Maryland Swim League. We knew Black Kids Swim readers would want to know his nutrition regimen. Elijah took a break from his studies at University of Maryland Baltimore Campus to sit down with Black Kids Swim and tell us what swimmers should eat.

When did you get serious about your nutrition as an athlete?

In 2007 my favorite place to eat was McDonald’s. My usual was a double cheese burger with french fries. Then I saw an Oprah show about nutrition and that’s when I really started to change. My discipline has developed over the years. I can say no at times to foods that I usually enjoy. I can choose to have a salad instead of fries. Even though swimmers burn a lot of calories we still need to find a balance.

Which foods do you avoid?

About 2 years ago I stopped drinking soda. Soda doesn’t hydrate you and as a swimmer it can slow you down. I also avoid candy and sweets in general because they are empty carbohydrates and athletes have to think of food as a way to rebuild your body; to replace energy and build muscle.

What valuable health advice have you learned from coaches and teammates?

The importance of sleep and water. I used to go to bed at 11:30 or midnight. Now, I’m in bed by 9:30 or 9:45 at the latest. Athletes need sleep to rebuild and we need water to stay hydrated. I try to drink a gallon of water a day. I used to walk around with a gallon, but now I just use a water bottle that I re-fill throughout the day.Elijah dives4a

What do you eat in a typical day?

Swimmers burn more calories than divers. So, if a swimmer eats 2 plates a diver should only eat 1 plate. And swimmers need more carbs than divers. When I was swimming I would eat eggs, hash browns, sausage, and try to add even more carbs. Now, as a diver, a typical breakfast is cheerios, eggs, sausage, a bagel and 3 cups of water. But I pay attention to my body and don’t eat until I’m overly full. If I’ve done a dry land work out I’ll try to replenish my carbs with a burrito with meat and rice and then as much water as I can drink.

What do you recommend as a great swimmer’s meal?

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk. It builds bones and muscle.

Black Kids Swim readers want to know what to pack for their children at swim meets. What do you suggest?

For swim meets, fresh fruit is a better energy source than sweets.

For swim meets, fresh fruit is a better energy source than sweets.

Divers typically don’t eat as much during swim meets as swimmers but it’s good for them to have granola bars, fruit and water.

For swimmers;

  • Granola bars
  • Fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe)
  • Fruit cups or fruit cocktail
  • Lots of water
  • Sandwiches (turkey or peanut butter and jelly)
  • Absolutely NO CANDY.


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