Lemyre, P.-N., Stray-Gundersen, J., Treasure, D. C., Matt, K., & Roberts, G. (2004). Physiological and psychological markers of overtraining and burnout in elite swimmers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 1024.

Collegiate swimmers (M = 32; F = 21) were assessed for blood markers at 6 AM on two days. On day 1, two hard training sessions of 6 x 200 m intervals were performed. On day 2, questionnaires were used to assess motivation and perceived energy levels. This testing was conducted three times in the collegiate swimming season (September - easy, November - very hard, and March - peaking). Performance, total training loads, and intensity were recorded. A subgroup with high (N = 8) and low (N = 8) performances was selected for further investigation.

In the opinion of the coaches, no swimmers were overtrained or burned-out. No physiological differences were found between the performance groups. However, psychological variables did differ. Season satisfaction, goal accomplishment, and perceived burnout were significantly different between the two performance groups at the very hard and peaking stages of training.

Implication. Psychological factors best indicate overtraining or burnout in collegiate swimmers. Physiological variables and response were particularly varied and hormonal values could not distinguish stages of training.

Return to Table of Contents for Psychology of Swimming.