Potters Bar Synchronised Swimming Club

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Health & Safety and Medical Advice

Synchronised Swimming with a Cold

Swimmers with a heavy cold should not enter the water.  The pressures in the nasal passages encountered when under water are enormous. The mucus and other "nasties" associated with a cold and which are found in the nasal passages, can lead to ear, mastoid, and other problems if forced through the other passages in the head due to a build up of pressure. As Synchro involves taking the head to considerable depths, complications may arise.  However, should a swimmer be suffering from a heavy cold they should inform their Coach, and then the Coach may be able to give the swimmer alternative activities, which will not put the swimmer at risk? BE WARNED! Don't take a risk! It is far better to miss a training session, or even a competition than to become deaf for the rest of your life.


Food Intake

All swimmers, particularly those involved in heavy training and competitions, must ensure that their intake of both solids and liquids is adequate. At a recent event,  a competitor who had undergone heavy training in the morning and who was involved in a competition in the afternoon, almost collapsed at the Medal Presentation due to low blood sugar levels. This competitor had only consumed half a salad sandwich and a glass of water since getting up in the morning.  This was obviously inadequate and it is important that all swimmers seek appropriate advice on dietary considerations connected with training and competing.


Fluid Intake

Sufficient fluid intake is the most important aspect of sports nutrition. In children, core body temperature increases faster than in adults, therefore it is essential to help prevent dehydration in children.  They need to drink frequently even when they are not thirsty.  


Symptoms of dehydration include:

Heartburn, stomach ache

Decreased concentration

Muscle cramping

Non-infectious recurring or chronic pain

Low back pain


Mental irritation and depression

Water retention (ironic but true!)


Further problems often develop when fizzy drinks, coffee or tea are taken to quench the thirst.  While these beverages contain water, they are actually dehydrating fluids.


What prevents adequate fluid intake?

Sense of thirst is reduced immediately after a sip of beverage moistens our mouths - therefore thirst is not a good indication of fluid needs

Uncomfortable sensation of fluid in the stomach

Poor access to drinks during exercise and /or poor quality of available drinks

Lack of education about the need to drink before, during and after exercise


What can you do to ensure your child drinks enough?

Actively encourage your child to drink more and provide a flavored beverage rather than water if preferred

Provide a cold drink as this is more palatable and more likely to be consumed

Provide your child with a large water bottle containing their favorite, non– fizzy, diluted, chilled beverage

The night before a training session freeze the drink so that whilst active the beverage remains cool

Encourage your child to drink smaller volumes more frequently before and during exercise to minimize stomach discomfort - every 15 minutes is good

Pre-hydrate - drink 1-2 cups of fluid 2 hours before exercise

If your child exercises for more than 60 minutes, they may benefit from a sports drink containing carbohydrate



If you are taking any regular medication e.g. asthma inhalers or epi-pens these need to be given to your coach at the beginning of a session. Also, please ensure that you have informed the club on your membership application form and that you keep the club up to date with any changes. Please be sure that any drugs you take are not on the banned list.  In most cases your Doctor is aware. Below is a Drugs List although it is not comprehensive and if you are in any doubt concerning the drugs prescribed or even "over the counter" medicines please check with your coach who will check with the ASA.. Care must be taken in ensuring that swimmers know the PRECISE names of drugs and their contents. Remember if tested POSITIVE for a banned substance this can result in a swimmer and TEAM disqualification.


Drug Testing at Competitions

This is generally a random test, and may occur at any competition. It involves a swimmer being selected by the Doctor, and being requested to provide a urine sample for testing purposes. A Female Team Manager/Coach will always be present for these occasions.  The swimmer will sign the vessel as proof.  Testing is likely at ALL national competitions. At a recent event, an asthma sufferer, on the request of a medical practitioner checking on the drugs being used by participants stated that she was using INTAL. This is widely used and is not a BANNED DRUG.  On looking at the inhaler it was discovered that the contents were INTAL CO (also known as INTAL COMPOUND)  THIS IS A BANNED DRUG!!! There is no written list of banned drugs.  If you need medication prior to a competition (especially National events) it is essential to check with your doctor with the medicine you are taking is likely to be on a banned list. These items are listed as banned substances for your guidance:  

STIMULANTS: Cold remedies (e.g. night nurse), ephedrine, caffeine, salbutomol (ventolin inhaler). NARCOTICS: Any medicine with morphine – although codeine is now permitted. ASNABOLIC AGENTS – Testosterone, androstenediol, beta2 agonists – salbutormol, salmeterol (some inhalers are now permitted with verification and declaration but these must be obtained before a competition) BETA BLOCKERS – diving & synchronized swimming only DIURETICS – furosemide etc (water pills) GLUCOCORTICOSTEROIDS – cortisone drugs – inhaled, skin, nasal sprays etc. LOCAL ANESTHETICS – These drugs must be declared with a legitimate verification of necessity