Swim England

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Low energy availability guidance welcomed by Olympic medallist Cassie

Olympic medallist Cassie Patten has hailed ‘important’ guidance which details the signs, symptoms and implications of training with low energy availability.

Two documents have been published by Swim England to help raise awareness about the potential health and performance consequences of low energy availability – and where athletes can get help and support.

One is aimed at coaches, team managers, support staff and club welfare officers and contains information on how to spot the warning signs and suggested questions to ask if they suspect an athlete is struggling and needs additional support.

The other is specific to athletes and parents and includes details on where to get help from plus resources from the UK’s eating disorder charity, Beat.

Low energy availability occurs when athletes don’t eat enough calories to meet their training demands, resulting in the body not having enough energy to support all physiological functions needed to maintain optimal health.

It can be the first sign of an eating disorder or disordered eating.

Cassie has spoken honestly about how she suffered with disordered eating after winning a bronze medal in the 10k open water event at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Extremely beneficial

She told of how it took her ‘years getting over it’ and how she had to work on her ‘relationship with food’.

Cassie has welcomed the new guidance and said: “It is important for swimmers, coaches and parents to know the signs, symptoms and implications of training with low energy availability.

“I know first-hand how difficult it can be training when you do not have enough energy. To perform to the best of your ability, we need to be fuelling our bodies appropriately.

“The guidance published by Swim England is a great way to inform all members of the swimming community on the importance of this.

“I wholeheartedly believe that education on this subject is vital for both enjoyment and performance.

“This guidance is going to be extremely beneficial if it helps coaches, athletes and parents recognise the warning signs so people can get the support they need.”

To view the low energy availability guidance, please click here.