Stewart, A. M., & Hopkins, W. G. (1997). Swimmers' compliance with training prescription. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29, 1389-1392.

The training squads of 24 coaches were divided into two groups: a high-intensity, low-distance program, and a control (usual) program. Each was observed for one session. Swim distances, rest durations, and swim durations for at least one set of prescribed repetitions were recorded for 47 swimmers in an experimental group and 49 in a control group.

Ss in both conditions complied with completing distances and holding rest intervals to a very high degree. However, there was very little relationship between the prescribed intensity of the swimming and the intensity displayed by Ss (r = .30).

Implication. The study authors recommend that coaches pay more attention to the intensity of training efforts as they are prescribed. That would only be justified if the training intensities were exact and appropriate for each individual. However, given the physical capacity diversity of individuals within swimming groups it is more likely that a singular prescribed training intensity for a whole squad would be more harmful for a greater proportion of the group than beneficial. This study can be interpreted as revealing that the "wisdom" of the swimmers overrides prescribed training intensities as a way of protecting Ss from harmful training stress.

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