Turner, A., Smith, T., & Coleman, S. G. (2008). Use of an audio-paced incremental swimming test in young national-level swimmers. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 3, 68-70.

This study evaluated the reliability and sensitivity to training of an audio-paced incremental swimming test. Young national-level male swimmers (N = 8) performed a seven-step 200-m incremental swimming test (velocities 1.19, 1.24, 1.28, 1.33, 1.39, and 1.45 m/s and maximal sprint pace) using an audio-pacing device. The test was performed four times by each S, one week apart to assess reliability and after nine and twenty weeks of training. Blood lactate concentration and heart rate were recorded after each stage. Outcome measures were the velocity and heart rate at the lactate markers of 2 mmol, 4 mmol, and the highest lactate value.

Velocities at the lactate markers proved to be more reliable than heart rate, with typical errors ranging from 0.66% to 2.30% and 1.28% to 4.50%, respectively (shifts in mean ranged -0.91% to 0.73% and -0.84% to 1.79%, respectively). Across WK1, WK9, and WK20 there were significant improvements in peak velocity and each of the velocities was associated with the lactate markers. Only heart rate at the highest lactate value improved.

Implication. An audio-paced incremental swimming test is reliable for use with junior swimmers and is sensitive to changes in lactate observed after training. The post-swimming measurement of heart rate in the pool was comparatively less reliable.

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