Wells, G. D., Falenchuk, O., Gannon, G., & Vescovi, J. D. (2010). Factors affecting blood lactate accumulation and clearance in elite competitive swimmers during competition. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 1619, 2010.

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The objectives of this field-based observational study were 1) to examine how sex, age, race distance, and swim stroke influenced blood lactate concentrations after competitive swimming events and 2) to develop a practical model based on recovery swim distance to help optimize blood lactate removal. Swimmers (M = 50; F = 50) competing in the Canadian National Swim Championships had post-race blood lactates determined after completing finals races. Blood lactate concentration was also assessed repeatedly during warm-downs. Generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate the relationship between post-race lactate concentrations with age and sex of the swimmers as well as the swim stroke and race distance. To evaluate the influence of warm-down distance on blood lactate disappearance an exploratory model building approach was used.

The highest post-race lactate concentrations were observed following 100 and 200 m events, the lowest after 50 and 1,500 m races. A sex effect for post-race lactate concentration was observed for freestyle events, but not for any other strokes. There was no effect of age on post-race lactate concentrations.

Implication. Elite male and female swimmers competing at a national championships display similar post-race blood lactate concentrations. There is no notable effect of age on post-race lactate concentrations in competitive swimmers 14-29 years old. Additionally, 50-m events, regardless of swim stroke, appear to place less emphasis on anaerobic glycolysis than do 100-400 m events.

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