The Potato Chip Feedings By John Muenzer

The Potato Chip Feedings By John Muenzer

Courtesy of WOWSA, English Channel.

In the channel swimming community, many topics are discussed. Perhaps few draw such heated discussions as one’s diet during training and what foods and drinks should you use during your swim. There are the scientifically-oriented swimmers who base their feeding on specific protein, fat and carbohydrate percentages. There are those who swear by Maxim. There are those who primarily drink with an occasional gel pack, banana or piece of chocolate.

And then there are the outliers.

They just want to complete their swim and they know what works for them. Sometimes, their selection was easy. Sometimes, their selection took months of trial and error. John Muenzer explains, “I actually stumbled across what foods and drinks have a positive effect on my stomach by accident during the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. The conditions for the Tampa Bay 24-mile Swim were less than favorable.

Just underway by about an hour or so, the winds picked up and with Tampa Bay a relatively shallow body of water, the waves were 3-4 feet. Then the waves settled in at 4 feet. The angle of the waves were coming directly at my side making it difficult to breathe on the right side. Near the five hour mark, I became quite sick, vomiting several times before the dry heaves entered the picture. I swam for another hour and for the first time I actually thought to call it a day. It was at this moment that I tried my new diet.

I ate potato chips and drank some Coca Cola. I was surprised to experience my stomach cramps and vomiting disappeared. For the remainder of the swim I continued to eat 10 or so chips and drink 5-6 oz of Coca Cola. Upon my return to Chicago, I implemented this into my training for my attempt to swim the English Channel in July. What I found was every time, I felt sick I ate the potato chips and drank the Coca Cola. Every time it worked. It settled my stomach and I was able to go back to my regular training diet.

That year during my swim across the English Channel, I ate potato chips and drank Coca Cola twice. It settled my stomach both times. Many people will dismiss this as foolish, but you want every advantage to help you accomplish your marathon swim.”

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Steven Munatones