Swimming!

Hello everyone :smiley:
So i have a question (im just REALLY curious lol and thought my tud family could help)
I am a competitive swimmer (well as competitive as the high school swim team can get)
I am a Really good swimmer and my coach said he wanted me to be the starter this year. (YEY!)
But i just got put on the MiniMed 722 pump and am kinda afraid to swim lol
i know i should bolus before i get in and then take off my pump.
But… my practices (and such) are going to be 3-4 hours long.
So. Should i just get in and out or wait untill the practice (or swim meet) is done?
My coach knows im diabetic and is really supportive of anything i do. So he said he would hold the pump while i was in the water and if i needed anything to tell him.
Another thing ive been thinking is when my BG is high or low and i can’t get in the pool…
everyone is going to think im using it as an excuse.
(which i don’t) && the fact they think that just makes me mad and self concious about it.
So i don’t usually say anything about it.
Any help?

Hi Maddy — I commend you for sticking with something you love and figuring out how to deal with the diabetes part! Good for you!!! I don’t swim, but I have the same hi/low issues with distance running and team track workouts. I tell people who don’t understand that their pancreas works automatically to regulate their blood sugars, carbs, and exercise…and that I just happen to have my ‘pancreas’ on the outside of my body, that it’s not a big deal, and I just pay some extra attention to it. :slight_smile: Tell them about the hi/low thing up front (before you have one and have to stay out of the pool) so that it’s known before you need to do it. Remember that every one of them would do the exact same thing if they were in your shoes. Go get 'em, girl!! :slight_smile:

That is great news! Swimming is a great sport and it sounds like you have some real promise. You ask some really good questions, and unfortunately there are no real simple answers. Mostly because you as an individual are very different from anybody else, so there is no general answer. But be assured, there are lots of ways for you to be very successful with your swimming. Some of what you will just need to do is experiment. Since your practice is 3-4 hours long, if you just take off your pump you may by the end of practice be running out of active insulin (insulin on board). I believe you have been given advice before to read up on what Sheri Colberg has written, both at her website (www.shericolberg.com) and her books like “Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook”. Theres lots of ways of going about this, but first you will need to get more experience to know how you react. Here are some things to do.

Get a little alarm and ask your coach to prompt you to “check” every hour for the first practice or so. Check your blood sugar, and either reattach and bolus or have a glucose tab if needed

Try some combinations of small and medium snacks before practice with appropriate boluses to see if that helps.

See if you need a “snack/bolus” break in the middle of practice

As you get more comfortable, you might even consider a modified pumping regime. Some diabetics go “un-tethered” by using a basal like lantus and then they can just disconnect without concern that their basal needs won’t be met. Google “untethered diabetes”

I am sure you know the basic guidelines for starting exercise, probably best to not start with your blood sugar below 100 mg/d nor above 250 mg/dl. And certainly the best preparation for exercise is to have pre workout nutrition, probably with your blood sugar in the mid 100s and rising and insulin on board to cover the carbs. Do remember that exercise can drop you basal and bolus needs markedly, both during and after your workout.

Good for you on the swimming, I hope it goes well.

ps. If you are concerned about whether the rest of the team will think that you are being favored, then tell your coach to “penalize” you for each break with an additional lap or something. Everyone will sympathize with you until you whip them all in competition.

Hey Maddy!
I swim at the University of Evansville and was diagnosed with T1 last Christmas. I recently started using the pump and have been working to keep my sugars regulated during meets and practices. I suspend my pump during practices in the pool, but will continue to wear it for dryland and weights (it sometimes gets in the ways during abs though). As far as bolusing/keeping your BG up during practices, I have yet to go high during these times so my Endo and I have been more focused on keeping my BG up at theses times. She recommends 7-10g of protein and about 20g of carbs per half hour of practice. I always keep a protein bar and bottle of Accelerade (its a powdered sports drink like gatorade/powerade with protein in it–taste like chalk but keeps the BG up), and usually a small bottle of gatorade in case of lows). With this regiment, my Endo says I only need to check if I feel 'off" (I’m pretty aware of when my BGs are up or down) I’ll sip on the accelerade whenever i’m at the wall and eat the protein bar (I prefer Zone Bars) about halfway through practice in between sets. During meets I’ll reattach my pump after warm-up and in between events and check my BG levels when I reattach or if I feel ‘off’. I also keep my bottle of accelerade and protein bar handy on deck for if I need it.
As far as people thinking you are using diabetes as an excuse, they have no idea how much harder it is to deal with diabetes while swimming. It is more important to make sure everything is okay than to go too low or too high in the water and risk drowning. I’m lucky in that my team and coaches are extremely supportive (its usually obvious that BG levels are dropping because my performance rapidly deteriorates), but people’s misunderstanding can be frustrating. Hope this helps and good luck with your next swim season!