LACTATE VALUES DO NOT DIFFERENTIATE FEMALE ENDURANCE AND SPRINT SWIMMERS

Lite, R., Hammerstrom, K., Michelsen, K., & Patel, P. (2014). Lactate testing of Division III collegiate women swimmers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(5), Supplement abstract number 235.

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This study observed the use of blood lactate testing as part of an athlete profile of female Division III Collegiate Swimmers (N = 12). Ss were tested aerobically and anaerobically. Swimmers were classified as either sprinters or endurance swimmers based on a questionnaire. Swimmers indicating races over 200m were classified as endurance swimmers. The aerobic test consisted of finding a 400m freestyle swim time that elicited a blood lactate level of between 2.5-3.9 mmol/L and a 400m freestyle time that produced a blood lactate level over 4.0 mmol/L. Heart rate was measured immediately after each swim and blood lactate was sampled one minute after each swim. The 4.0 mmol/L onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) was found by interpolation of the two data points. The anaerobic test consisted of an all-out 100m swim in a swimmerís preferred stroke. Blood lactate was measured 1, 3, and 5 minutes after the swim. %max La, %HR at the OBLA, and swim time at the OBLA were calculated.

There were four endurance and eight sprint swimmers. The average swim speed at 4.0 mmol/L OBLA was 71.6 + 7.7 m/min. The average heart rate at 4.0 mmol/L OBLA was 163.4 + 20.0 bpm. This was at 81.9% of a Sís age-predicted maximum heart rate. The average 100-m sprint maximum blood lactate was 10.2 + 2.5 mmol/L and the OBLA was at 41.3 + 11.0% of the maximum blood lactate value. There was no significant difference between sprint and endurance swimmers in any variable.

Implication. Lactate testing failed to differentiate female endurance from sprint swimmers. The use of a 100-m swim to indicate anaerobic capacity is questionable. Troup (http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/swim/bullets/icar8990/icar12.htm) reported that 100-m freestyle events were 55% anaerobic and 45% aerobic. Consequently, the measures used and lactate values tell nothing about the type of event favored by female swimmers.

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