Best Performance Boosting Supplements for Swimmers

Supplements are a key factor in providing swimmers with an extra edge, not only in terms of speed and endurance but also for injury prevention and recovery.

Here is a list of supplements that swimmers should consider taking to boost their performance:

  • Carbohydrate supplements such as energy bars and drinks
  • Protein supplements such as whey protein
  • Pre-workouts such as beta-alanine or BCAAs
  • Muscle building supplements like 100% pure creatine monohydrate
  • Hydration/electrolyte supplements to replenish yourself after a swim
  • Probiotics supplements for gut health
  • Vitamins, such as vitamin C, D, and E or a multivitamin
  • Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil.

In this article, we’re going to cover in more detail each of the best supplements for swimmers (the natural kind), so let’s get to it.

The Benefits of Taking Supplements for Swimming

best supplements for swimmers
Santeri Viinamäki, CC BY-SA 4.0

Supplements, as the name implies, are meant to supplement — not replace — a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. They are designed to fill in the nutritional gaps and provide additional nutrients that you may not be getting in adequate amounts from your food. But remember, they’re not miracle workers. They cannot compensate for poor dietary habits or lack of exercise.

In the context of swimming, supplements can offer several advantages. They can support enhanced energy and endurance, promote faster recovery, and aid in the maintenance and growth of muscles — all crucial elements for a swimmer’s performance.

Convenient Way to Meet Specific Nutritional Demands

For instance, protein powders can be an easy and convenient way to meet elevated protein needs for muscle repair after intense swimming sessions.

Carbohydrate supplements can provide a quick source of energy, and electrolyte supplements can help replenish lost minerals during workouts.

Supplements can also cater to individual dietary restrictions or preferences. For instance, plant-based athletes might struggle to get enough protein or certain vitamins like B12 from their diet. In these cases, specific supplements can ensure they’re not missing out on these essential nutrients.

Improves Overall Health and Fitness

Besides performance-related benefits, supplements can also help improve overall health and wellness. Vitamins and minerals are essential for various bodily functions, including supporting immune health, bone strength, and cardiovascular health.

Sometimes, it may be challenging to get all these nutrients from diet alone, especially for swimmers with high nutritional demands. Here, supplements like multivitamins or omega-3 fatty acids can come in handy.

However, it’s important to remember that not all supplements are created equal. Quality matters, and so does individual need. Always opt for high-quality products from reputable brands, and if you have any existing medical conditions, then consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before starting any new supplement regimen.

Supplements that Boost Energy Levels and Performance

Carbohydrate Supplements

HydraCarb | #1 Rated Pre, Intra, Post Workout Carb Powder with Electrolytes, Maltodextrin & Dextrose...
  • FAST ACTING ENERGY - Loaded with carbohydrates stemming from Maltodextrin and Dextrose which provide rapid and steady energy without any crash. Your...
  • MUSCLE AND GLYCOGEN RECOVERY - Following intense workouts, we drain much of our reserves. The fastest way to refuel your glycogen after workouts is to...
  • ENDURANCE AND LONGEVITY - Carbohydrates increases both endurance and intermittent high-intensity performance because of the extra store of...

Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy, especially for endurance athletes like swimmers. Consuming carb-rich supplements can help you maintain energy levels during long training sessions and high-intensity workouts.

If you have trouble getting enough carbs, or you’re a bit on the skinny side and want to bulk up, consider taking carbohydrate supplements.

Some popular options include:

  • Sports drink supplements
  • Energy gels and drink supplements
  • Energy bars

Apart from providing fuel, carbohydrate supplements can also help maintain energy and hydration levels, promoting overall athletic performance.

Protein Supplements

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound (Packaging...
207,517 Reviews
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound (Packaging...
  • Packaging May Vary - New look, with the same trusted quality
  • GOLD STANDARD 100% WHEY BLEND – 24g blended protein consisting of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides to support lean...
  • OVER 5G OF BCAAS – help build lean and strong muscles with naturally occurring BCAAs

Protein is essential for muscle recovery and growth, which is why swimmers need to prioritize their protein intake.

While whole foods like chicken breast and egg whites remain an excellent source of protein, supplements such as whey protein can be convenient and reliable options for covering your daily protein needs. They are especially useful for maintaining muscle mass and supporting recovery after intense swim sessions.

Some popular options include:

  • Whey protein
  • Casein protein
  • Plant-based protein


Gorilla Mode Pre Workout - Massive Pumps · Laser Focus · Energy · Power - L-Citrulline, Creatine,...
  • GORILLA MODE 2.0: Please note any item that shows "Sold by Gorilla Mind, LLC" will be the new and improved, 2.0 version of Mode. Anything else is sold...
  • 10000 MG PURE L-CITRULLINE - The ONLY pre-workout in the entire industry featuring the maximum effective dosage of PURE L-Citrulline that IS NOT...
  • 5000 MG CREATINE MONOHYDRATE, 4000 MG BETAINE, 4000 MG HYDROPRIME, 1000MG PINK HIMALAYAN SEA SALT - Supersaturates the muscle with blood and induces a...

Pre-workout supplements are designed to enhance your energy levels, focus, and endurance before training. Many pre-workout supplements for swimmers contain ingredients that can benefit your swimming performance, such as:

  • Nitric oxide precursors like L-citrulline and L-arginine
  • Beta-alanine
  • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
  • Caffeine (alternatively, you can just take caffeine tablets instead of pre-workout if you prefer)

Look for a pre-workout supplement that’s specifically designed for swimmers and doesn’t contain any banned substances. Also if you feel like you have the jitters or anxiety after taking the pre-workout, then drop the dosage or just forgo taking it altogether.

Creatine Monohydrate

NAKED nutrition Pure Micronized Creatine Monohydrate - 100 Servings - 500 Grams, 1.1Lb Bulk, Vegan,...
11,116 Reviews
NAKED nutrition Pure Micronized Creatine Monohydrate - 100 Servings - 500 Grams, 1.1Lb Bulk, Vegan,...
  • ONLY ONE INGREDIENT: 100% Pure Micronized Creatine Monohydrate. Certified Vegan, Non-GMO, Soy Free and Gluten Free.
  • HIGHEST QUALITY: Naked Creatine is the highest grade creatine monohydrate supplement available.
  • FAST DISSOLVING: Unlike other brands, Naked Creatine dissolves quickly in water or your juice of choice.

Creatine is a popular supplement among swimmers due to its ability to boost energy production and enhance muscle strength during short, high-intensity bursts of activity.

Some studies suggest that creatine improves power development in energy-demanding swimming styles like butterfly and breaststroke.

You may find creatine in some pre-workouts or from eating meat, but you can also just buy 100% pure creatine monohydrate and take 5g of it with a cup of water daily.

Electrolyte Supplements

KEY NUTRIENTS Multivitamin Electrolytes Powder No Sugar for Recovery - Refreshing Lemonade...
26,136 Reviews
KEY NUTRIENTS Multivitamin Electrolytes Powder No Sugar for Recovery - Refreshing Lemonade...
  • Deliciously Refreshing Lemonade - Our bodies need more than just water to get pumped up, and an electrolytes powder is the key! It has no calories or...
  • Loaded with Key Nutrients - Refuel with our lemonade electrolyte powder, powered by 6 key electrolytes, including magnesium, potassium sorbate, and...
  • Combat Dehydration - When you sweat, you lose electrolytes: the minerals that keep you energized. And even too much drinking can be hard on your...

Replacing lost electrolytes is crucial for swimmers to prevent dehydration, muscle cramps, and fatigue.

Electrolytes—including sodium, potassium, and magnesium—are essential minerals that maintain proper fluid balance in your body. When you sweat during your swimming sessions, you lose these essential minerals, which need to be replenished.

One option for replenishing electrolytes is by consuming electrolyte-enhanced drinks. They usually contain a balance of sodium, potassium, and magnesium, along with other essential nutrients.

When choosing an electrolyte supplement, consider the following:

  • Opt for products with a balance of essential electrolytes
  • Avoid supplements with artificial sweeteners, colorings, or excessive sugar content

As a swimmer, staying properly hydrated is essential to your health and swimming performance.

Drink plenty of water and be careful when using products containing caffeine or other stimulants which may lead to increased dehydration.

Supplements that Enhance Recovery and Reduce Inflammation

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Sports Research Triple Strength Omega 3 Fish Oil - Burpless Fish Oil Supplement w/EPA & DHA Fatty...
  • Always Fresh, Never Fishy: We strive to deliver exceptional quality - that means a fish oil supplement without the aftertaste or fish burps that often...
  • Just 1 Capsule a Day: Just one (1) of our pescatarian-friendly fish oil liquid softgels contain a minimum of 1,040mg of essential Omega-3 fatty acids...
  • Sustainably Sourced From Alaska Pollock: Single-sourced from only Wild Alaska Pollock located in the bearing sea. Our Omega-3 fish oil 1250mg is...

As a swimmer, you know the importance of proper nutrition for performance and recovery. One essential component of your diet should be Omega-3 fatty acids.

These fats can help reduce inflammation, support your immune system, and promote quicker muscle recovery.

One great source of Omega-3s is fish oil capsules, which you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. By taking these capsules, you’ll boost your stamina and train at full capacity and be less likely to overtrain or risk injury.

Antioxidant Supplements

Amazing Grass Greens Superfood Antioxidant: Greens Powder with Organic Spirulina, Beet Root Powder,...
  • PROMOTES HEALTHY DIGESTION: Our Greens Blend are thoughtfully crafted with a nutritious blend of alkalizing greens, antioxidants, fiber & pre and...
  • CLEAN AND GREEN: Made with ingredients you can trust, our Greens Blend are Certified Organic by CCOF, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Plant Based, Kosher and...
  • SUPPORTS IMMUNITY AND GUT HEALTH: Packed with 2 full servings of wholesome fruits, vegetables, vitamins & minerals in every scoop, our Greens Blend...

In addition to Omega-3s, incorporating antioxidant supplements into your nutrition plan can help improve recovery and reduce inflammation.

Vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, vitamin C, and others play a significant role in your body’s ability to bounce back after rigorous swimming workouts.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. However, it can be challenging to eat enough through your diet alone. That’s where supplements come in handy.

To support your immune system and energy production, consider taking vitamin C supplements. This nutrient has a vital role in muscle recovery and boosts your overall health.

  • Vitamin E: This antioxidant may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress post-workout.
  • Vitamin C: As mentioned earlier, vitamin C is crucial for muscle recovery and immune system support.
  • Multivitamins: If you’re looking for additional antioxidant support, consider taking a multivitamin to ensure you’re getting a variety of essential nutrients in adequate amounts.

Supplements that Support Overall Health and Immunity

Multivitamin Supplements

Multivitamin for Men - Daily Mens Multivitamins & Multiminerals Supplement for Energy, Focus and...
  • COMPLETE MEN'S MULTIVITAMIN & MULTIMINERAL. Packed with 20 Mens Vitamins, Minerals & Essential Nutrients to Support Overall Health & Wellness....
  • BOOST YOUR CLARITY & FOCUS. Specially formulated Multi Vitamin with Magnesium & Vitamins B1, B2, B6, & B12. Vimerson’s Daily Multi Vitamins for Men...
  • FUEL YOUR ENERGY. Men’s Daily Multivitamins are made to meet the demands of a busy lifestyle & help Maintain Healthy Energy Levels. With Essential...
OLLY Ultra Women's Multi Softgels, Overall Health and Immune Support, Omega-3s, Iron, Vitamins A, D,...
5,212 Reviews
OLLY Ultra Women's Multi Softgels, Overall Health and Immune Support, Omega-3s, Iron, Vitamins A, D,...
  • OLLY ULTRA WOMEN’S MULTI + OMEGA-3 SOFTGELS: This nutrient-packed powerhouse serves up the essentials you need to thrive on the daily, like support...
  • THE GOODS INSIDE: B12 is essential for the production of cellular energy. Omega-3s provide support for your brain, nervous system and eye function,...
  • HOW TO TAKE: Take 2 softgels with food daily. Swallow whole with water, do not chew. Comes with 60 capsules per bottle for a 30 day supply

Incorporating a daily multivitamin into your routine can help fill any gaps in your diet and provide essential vitamins and minerals for swimmers. Some key nutrients to look for in a multivitamin include:

  • Vitamin D: Supports bone health, immune system function, and muscle performance. You can find Vitamin D in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna.
  • B vitamins: Important for energy production and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels during exercise. Look for B vitamins in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Electrolytes: Sodium and potassium help maintain proper fluid balance, essential for endurance swimming. Good sources include bananas, coconut water, and sports drinks.

Remember, a multivitamin should not replace a balanced diet, but rather augment your intake of necessary nutrients. You can also just take those supplements alone if you feel that you are deficient in them.

Probiotic Supplements

Garden of Life, Dr. Formulated Women's Probiotics Once Daily, 16 Strains, 50 Billion, 30 Capsules
52,916 Reviews
Garden of Life, Dr. Formulated Women's Probiotics Once Daily, 16 Strains, 50 Billion, 30 Capsules
  • THE GUT STUFF: Once Daily Women’s is formulated for her unique needs with 50 Billion CFU of 16 diverse probiotics for optimal digestive and immune...
  • HIT REPHRESH: Girls just want to have pHun; Our doctor formulated daily probiotic has clinically studied strains, L. reuteri and L. fermentum, to help...
  • BACKED BY SCIENCE: As a 4x Award Winning #1 Probiotic Brand, our probiotic is made with a great deal of research to ensure you are receiving the...

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that promote gut health and may support healthy immune function.

Including probiotic-rich foods in your diet, such as yogurt, kefir, or fermented vegetables, may help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

If you’re considering taking a probiotic supplement, make sure to look for a reputable product with a variety of strains and a sufficient colony-forming unit (CFU) count.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do swimmers need supplements?

While a balanced diet should always be the primary source of nutrients, supplements can be a valuable tool for swimmers. They can help fill nutritional gaps, boost energy levels, support muscle recovery, and improve overall performance. However, it’s important to remember that supplements should be personalized to the individual’s needs and taken under professional guidance to ensure optimal benefits and safety.

What supplements do Olympic swimmers take?

Olympic swimmers often take a range of supplements tailored to their specific needs and training goals. Common ones include protein powders for muscle recovery, creatine for enhanced strength and power, carbohydrate supplements for sustained energy, and omega-3 fatty acids for inflammation and recovery. Electrolyte and hydration supplements are also crucial to maintain fluid balance and prevent cramps. However, they ensure these supplements are safe and comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines.

Do supplements for swimmers have side effects?

Like any product consumed, supplements can potentially have side effects, which can vary depending on the type of supplement and the individual taking them. Common side effects can include gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, bloating, or diarrhea. Certain supplements, like creatine, may cause water retention, while others can lead to nutrient imbalances if taken excessively. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen to ensure it’s safe and suitable for your needs.


Last update on 2024-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API