This piece is brought to you by A3 Performance BA Blogging – Bad Ass Blogging by Bad Ass Brand Ambassadors. This piece was written by athlete and ambassador Matt Hutchins, a 2016 Rio Olympian and University of Wisconsin Badger.

Traveling away to swim meets is one of the best parts of being a competitive swimmer. You get to go to towns, cities, and sometimes countries you never thought you would visit. You get to travel with some of your closest friends, and you usually get to eat out at restaurants for a few days. With all of the fun that comes along with travel meets, there are also some stressors. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to remove stress and prepare for when things may not go as planned. Long travel days can feel longer with travel delays, being unfamiliar with your new surroundings, or even just being removed from your typical schedule back home. All of these things can tire you out mentally. Being able to plan ahead is important, so here are three tips to help you prepare for your next away meet and crush the competition.


Do your homework before you leave: Being stress-free is all about balancing the multiple aspects of your life. Being stress-free is also key to performing well in the pool. So, when you are traveling, especially during the school year, do not worry your mind about homework that you have procrastinated for the past month. The best way to do this is to not procrastinate and get it done before you leave for the meet! Plan ahead. If you know you have a meet in three weeks and you’re going to miss a week of school, start getting ahead now. Go talk to your teachers. Let them know you will be missing some class, and they can definitely help you out. Teachers don’t just want to see you succeed in the classroom. They want their students to excel in and out of the classroom. Plus, if you excel outside of the classroom, your teacher has something to brag about in the break room.


Find Travel Hobbies: Everyone has had that trip where everything seems to go wrong. Your flight is delayed, you miss a connection, the car breaks down, or you forget your headphones and have to sit there staring at the back of a seat for four hours. THE WORST! No matter how much you try to distract yourself, every 10 minutes feels like it takes an hour. Being bored in a confined space, like a bus or a plane, can be mentally draining, and when you’re competing you need your mind and body to be fresh. This is where travel hobbies come in handy. Travel hobbies can be anything, and I mean anything. My friends and I used to arrive at our bus trips with one or two debate topics that we thought would last the entire trip. Some people plan out playlists knowing how many hours of music they have. Other people like to read books. Of course, having a phone is nice, but you don’t want to sit on your phone for hours on end. Time spent traveling is the perfect time to bond with teammates. There are so many ridiculous conversations, arguments, and jokes that come with being surrounded by your friends and trapped in a vehicle. Make the most of those good times.


Make a List, Pack, Unpack, and Pack again: As much as everyone won’t admit it, we can all be very forgetful people, especially when traveling. It is hard to have travel routines because it’s not something you do every week. So, having a few, simple steps to follow before every travel trip will mean you’ll never have the “Did I forget something feeling” ever again. Just like with all these points, eliminating extra stress from your travels is what we are trying to do. When it comes to packing your bags:

  1. Don’t leave it until the last minute. The worst way to pack is to stand in your room an hour before you are meant to leave and just throw everything in a bag. If you do this, you will forget something important. Set aside at least 90 minutes the night before to do your packing. This way, you won’t feel panicked or pressured, and you won’t be running around the house wondering where your extra socks are.
  2. Write a list of all the things you will need. This is by far the most stress relieving thing you can do before you travel. Write a list of everything you will need for your trip. Everything you need to swim fast, toothbrush, clothes, phone, laptop charger, etc. Everyone’s list is different, so make sure you pack what YOU need. Once you have your list, make your way through ticking it off as you go. This way you will confidently know what you have in your bag.
  3. Once you’ve packed everything, do a quick repack to make sure: Don’t zip up your suitcase just yet. Now it’s time to take everything out and do the ole Aaron Rodgers double check because you can never be too sure. Once you’ve unpacked everything, go back down your checklist. It should still all be there, but as you start ticking things off you may realize you were missing something on your list.

Not only will being confident in your packing stop you from freaking out mid-flight that you forgot your racing suit, it will also save you from extra costs when you get to the hotel and you realize you left your entire toiletry bag right next to your bathroom sink.


This piece is brought to you by A3 Performance BA Blogging – Bad Ass Blogging by Bad Ass Brand Ambassadors. This piece was written by athlete and ambassador Matt Hutchins, a 2016 Rio Olympian and University of Wisconsin Badger.

December 14, 2017 — A3 Performance


Bridget said:

Just a post that I actually needed . glad I was able to read this.

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