Siegler, J. C., & Gleadall-Siddall, D. (2010). Sodium bicarbonate ingestion and repeated swim sprint performance. Journal of Strength and conditioning Research, 24, 3105-3111.

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This study observed the ergogenic potential of 0.3 g/kg of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) in competitive, non-elite swimmers (M = 6; F = 8) using a repeated swim sprint design that eliminated the technical component of turning. Ss completed two trial conditions; sodium bicarbonate and a salt (sodium chloride) placebo. Treatments were separated by one week. Ss were paired according to ability and completed 8 x 25 m front crawl maximal effort sprints each separated by five seconds. Blood acid-base status was assessed pre-ingestion, pre-, and post-swim via capillary finger sticks. Total swim time was calculated as a performance measure.

Total swim time was significantly decreased in the sodium bicarbonate group compared to placebo, with the bicarbonate condition resulting in a 2% decrease in total swim time. Blood analysis revealed significantly elevated blood buffering potential pre-swim along with a significant decrease in extracellular potassium.

Implication. Sodium bicarbonate (0.3 g/kg) ingested 2.5 hours before swimming exercise enhances the blood buffering potential and likely will positively influence swim performance.

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