Berger, B. G., Grove, J. R., Prapavessis, H., & Butki, B. D. (1997). Relationship of swimming distance, expectancy, and performance to mood states of competitive athletes. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 84, 1199-1210.

The relationships between training stresses, normal and abbreviated distances, and mood (POMS) was evaluated in trained swimmers (M = 23; F = 25).

The greater the training distance, the greater were the changes in Total Mood Disturbance. Normal demanding training experiences produced greater changes in mood particularly on the factors of Fatigue and Vigor. Abbreviated training sessions did not alter Total Mood scores but there were positive changes in Depression, Confusion, and Tension scores. Mood changes were not influenced by expectancy or performance times.

"Even for highly trained competitive swimmers, exercising at or near maximal physical capability is associated with few positive changes in mood scores. Shorter-distance swims that do not tax endurance are preferable, if mood enhancement is a goal."

Implication. If swimmers are excessively stressed and their mood is affected, shorter-distance less-demanding training sessions are likely to allow restoration of mood. At least, such training will not worsen the athlete's "attitude."

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.