Zoeller, R. F., Nagle, E. F., Moyna, N. M., Goss, F. L., Lephart, S. M., & Robertson, R. J. (1998). Anaerobic indices of freestyle swimming performance in trained adult female swimmers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 30(5), Supplement abstract 280.

The relationships between the following were determined:

  1. peak post-exercise blood lactate (Lapeak) and freestyle swimming performance;
  2. Lapeak determined in a swimming flume and at poolside;
  3. Lapeak and accumulated oxygen deficit (AOD); and
  4. AOD and freestyle swimming performance.

Well-trained female swimmers (N = 12) who were capable of swimming 50 yards in <30 seconds and/or 500 yards in <7 minutes served as Ss. Five tests were conducted each at least one week apart.

  1. A discontinuous multi-stage submaximal flume test to enable extrapolation and prediction of supramaximal oxygen demand;
  2. a multi-stage continuous test to measure maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max);
  3. a single-stage supraximal swim test to measure Lapeak and AOD;
  4. two swimming trials (50 and 500 yards) in the pool to measure Lapeak and performance times

Statistically significant but low correlations were revealed.

  1. Lapeak after a 50 yard swim correlated with 50-yd performance (r = -0.53);
  2. Lapeak after a flume test correlated with 50-yd performance (r = -0.52);
  3. Lapeak measured after a swim or flume test correlated with 500-yd performance; and
  4. AOD did not correlate with any performance measure.

Implication. Lapeak measured in a flume or after a 50-yd test may display a statistically significant relationship with 50-yd performance time but the size of the relationship is such that in practical terms it is not meaningful. If such a test was used as a predictor of sprint capacity it could be wrong in three out of four predictions.

Both Lapeak and AOD have little value for predicting swimming performance over 50 or 500 yards. There is no practical value for such tests.

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