How to Shave Down for a Swim Meet: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Swimming is a sport that requires not only physical strength and endurance, but also careful attention to technique and preparation. One aspect of preparation that often goes unnoticed is the process of “shaving down” before a swim meet. Shaving down refers to the practice of removing body hair to reduce drag in the water and improve overall performance. In this article, we will explore various techniques and tips for achieving the best results when shaving down for a swim meet.

Shaving down for a swim meet

Why is Shaving Down Important for Swimmers?

Shaving down is a common practice among swimmers because it has been proven to provide noticeable improvements in performance. When swimmers shave their body hair, they reduce the amount of drag they experience while swimming, allowing them to move more efficiently through the water. This can lead to faster times and better overall results in competitions.

Techniques for Shaving Down Effectively

While the act of shaving down may seem simple, there are certain techniques that can help swimmers achieve optimal results. Here are some key techniques to consider:

  1. Timing: It is important to time your shaving session strategically. It is recommended to shave down a day or two before the swim meet to allow any skin irritation to subside.
  2. Preparation: Before shaving, it is crucial to properly prepare your skin. Take a warm shower or soak in a bath to soften the hair follicles and open the pores. This will make shaving easier and help prevent irritation.
  3. Tools: Invest in a high-quality razor or electric shaver specifically designed for body hair. This will ensure a closer shave and minimize the risk of cuts or nicks.
  4. Technique: When shaving, it is important to use gentle, downward strokes in the direction of hair growth. Applying excessive pressure or shaving against the grain can cause irritation and ingrown hairs.
  5. Moisturize: After shaving, apply a moisturizing lotion or oil to soothe the skin and prevent dryness. This will help maintain the smoothness of your skin and reduce the risk of irritation.
  6. Maintenance: To prolong the benefits of shaving down, it is important to maintain a regular shaving routine. This may involve shaving the night before a swim meet or using alternative hair removal methods, such as waxing or depilatory creams.

Tips for Achieving Optimal Performance

In addition to the shaving down process itself, there are several other tips that can help swimmers achieve optimal performance in a swim meet. Here are some key tips to consider:

  1. Hydration: Staying properly hydrated is essential for peak performance. Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the swim meet to ensure your body is well-hydrated.
  2. Nutrition: Fuel your body with a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. This will provide the necessary energy for your muscles to perform at their best.
  3. Warm-up: Prior to the swim meet, engage in a thorough warm-up routine to prepare your muscles and joints for the demands of the competition. This may include dynamic stretches, light cardiovascular exercises, and specific drills.
  4. Mental Preparation: Swimming is not only a physical sport but also a mental one. Practice visualization techniques and positive self-talk to boost your confidence and focus before the swim meet.
  5. Rest and Recovery: Give your body ample time to rest and recover between training sessions and swim meets. This will allow your muscles to repair and prevent overuse injuries.
  6. Race Strategy: Develop a race strategy based on your strengths and weaknesses. Work with your coach to identify key areas for improvement and develop a plan to maximize your performance.

Mistakes to Avoid when Shaving Down

While shaving down can be beneficial for swimmers, there are certain mistakes that should be avoided to prevent any negative effects. Here are some common mistakes to be aware of:

  1. Shaving too close to the swim meet: Shaving immediately before a swim meet can cause skin irritation and discomfort, affecting your performance. Give your skin time to recover by shaving a day or two before the competition.
  2. Using a dull razor: Using a dull razor can lead to a rough shave, resulting in skin irritation and potential cuts. Ensure that your razor is sharp and in good condition for a smoother shave.
  3. Shaving against the grain: Shaving against the grain may provide a closer shave, but it can also increase the risk of ingrown hairs and skin irritation. Always shave in the direction of hair growth to minimize these issues.
  4. Neglecting moisturization: After shaving, it is important to moisturize your skin to prevent dryness and maintain its smoothness. Neglecting this step can lead to discomfort and potential skin problems.
  5. Not maintaining a regular shaving routine: Shaving down once may provide temporary benefits, but to consistently improve performance, it is important to maintain a regular shaving routine. This may involve shaving the night before each swim meet or using alternative hair removal methods.


Shaving down is a technique that many swimmers use to enhance their performance in swim meets. By following the right techniques, tips, and avoiding common mistakes, swimmers can maximize the benefits of shaving down. Remember, shaving down is just one aspect of preparation for a swim meet, and it should be combined with proper hydration, nutrition, warm-up, and mental preparation for optimal results in the water.