Had to get a little swim in in my childhood pool.  #feelingnostalgic

Swimming and Nausea

When I first started training for triathlons, I remember swimming and getting really nauseous. Sometimes I wouldn’t eat anything before my swim workouts, and sometimes I maybe ate too much or too close to my swim workouts. I remember trying to figure out the best time to eat pre-swim, and what the best pre-swim meal would be. Fueling workouts is one of the toughest things to figure out when it comes to endurance sports, but especially swimming and running, in my opinion.

I suffer from motion sickness which also made it tough to feel great when swimming, too! After 7yrs of training and racing in triathlon, I learned that a lot of it, is just my body getting used to the training and simply swimming. Prior to starting triathlon, I was not swimming regularly. I swam on a swim team when I was in elementary school and middle school, but high school and college, not so much. So, if you are just starting out, and you are getting nauseous, just stick with it, and play around with your nutrition and how long you eat before a swim, or if you don’t like eating at all. You may find out that once you get in “swimming shape” you become less and less nauseous. But, here are some tips to help you combat the nausea you may be feeling when you go for your swim workouts.

Last weekend after cheering at the @cafoundation triathlon, I realized something...I ᒪOᐯE  triathlon. I've always known this, but I became aware of my love even more. I love the community, the people, the inspiration, the love, the physical challenge, the mental challenge. I played soccer growing up and in college, and I absolutely loved it, but there is something truly special about TᖇIᗩTᕼᒪOᑎ. It is a personal journey, full of personal growth and yet we are surrounded by people who are on that tri journey as well, that support us and grow with us. Triathlon is at the core of my heart and soul. I truly love this sport and can't wait to start training and racing again!  ✌️ by @topho
Photo by Topher Riley

Tips for Getting Rid of Nausea When Swimming

  • Eat 100-200 calories about 30min before your swim (banana, a bowl of oatmeal (no sugar), 1 piece of toast with almond butter, 1/2 of a bar – bobo’s oat bar, jojé, rxbar, phivebar)
  • Is your pool on the warm side? If you have pool options, find a pool that keeps the water temp cooler rather than warmer. Heated water can really increase nausea while swimming.
  • Make sure your goggles aren’t on too tight. Wearing goggles really tight can cause a headache, and therefore cause you to feel nauseous.
  • Be hydrated. If you are swimming in the morning – drink an 8oz glass of water first thing in the morning, before you even have your cup of jo. Swimming at night? Just make sure you are drinking all day long and that you are peeing light yellow or clear. Doesn’t hurt to drink an 8oz glass of water at night, too, right before you hop in.
  • Take some tums.

Have you ever been nauseous while swimming? Have any tips to add?

Happy Swimming!



  • Katie Morse

    Interesting! Yea, I don’t get nauseous anymore, unless the water temp is too warm. I prefer swimming in cold water. 🙂

  • I get really dizzy when I do backstroke for more than a length or two, and I’m not sure why. I’m totally fine if I stick to freestyle and/or breast stroke (I’m just re-learning how to do butterfly, so I’m not sure how that will affect me!), so it’s kind of weird. I never really got nauseous from swimming, but I do occasionally get headaches from my swim cap and/or googles. I even got a special swim cap that’s made for long hair, but I haven’t found it’s made much of a difference.

  • Ashley

    So interesting that you have struggled with swimming nausea too!
    I had it for a couple of months last year, and since I swim first thing in the mornings I actually worried for a bit there that I might be pregnant again haha. For myself, I found that switching up my goggles made the biggest difference AND keeping my eyes open while swimming! When I would first get nauseous my response was always to close my eyes as I swam, but that just made the motion sickness intensify. Downwards spiral! Also, I had started training on a masters swim team and found the practices REALLY tough so my response to pushing hard while doing any kind of activity is close my eyes (I do the same thing when running!) but that does not work for swimming 🙂