When you're behind the blocks waiting in the marshaling area, what are you doing back there to keep your cool; what are you thinking about to get yourself relaxed and ready, without stress?
Here are some things other swimmers have used to keep the butterflies at bay:
Tunes. Music can always bring your mind to great places that are full of energy and optimism. Happy swimmers swim harder.
Activation. Get yourself warmed up, jump, skip, stretch, all of this is a great way to get your muscles ready and your mind clear.
Words. Sometimes swimmers like to recite a word or phrase that helps them stay relaxed and in a positive headspace.
Cheering. Teammates can always help get the adrenaline going and you pumped up with excitement for your race. Team spirit is contagious.
The important thing is to find what works for you.
And remember...you’ve put in thousands of kilometers of practice. You've worked on your strokes, walls, underwater, turns and dive. You've worked with your coach and taught yourself some new skills. Now, behind the blocks is not the time to think about all of this, it's time to let your body remember and SWIM.
Take a breath! Swim Faster!