If a training pace is too fast or too slow, then the adaptation of the energy systems will be different to that required for a particular paced race (i.e., swimmers will be training for inappropriate effects that will not transfer specifically to a race). A variety of all-out steady state swims can be performed to establish that adaptation responsiveness of the energy systems. Distance swum is the dependent variable. Tests can be repeated periodically to indicate if the work of training is improving the capacities.

  1. 40 min swim for distance indicates the lowest level of stimulation necessary for aerobic adaptation to occur (EN-1 - anaerobic threshold).
  2. A 20 min swim for distance indicates the level for maximum endurance stimulation (EN-2 - VO2max).
  3. A 4 min swim for distance indicates the level for race-specific speed development (AN-1 lactate peak).
  4. A 1 min swim for distance indicates the level for power development (AN-2 anaerobic power).
  5. A test for 200 m prediction is as follows: 5 x 100 m on a 1:4 work:recovery ratio. When the 100 m times are averaged and multiplied by 2 a predication for a 200 m time is obtained.
  6. A test for 400 m prediction is as follows: 5 x 200 m on a 1:1 work:recovery ratio. When the 200 m times are averaged and multiplied by 2 a prediction for a 400 m time is obtained.

The reason that these predictions should work is the sets of repetitions reflect the energy requirements for the single, longer duration effort.

Implications. These tests allow performance to be used as the dependent variable rather than some technical or physiological measure. They can be used to establish reasonable race goals. If they are repeated periodically, they can be used to evaluate training progress.

The tests for energy adaptation should be used only in the basic preparatory phase of training. The more specific-event oriented tests should be used in the specific preparatory phase of training when race-pace and energy system balance need to be carefully combined to produce effects which will be demonstrated in competitions.

[The determination of the distance a swimmer travels in a particular time period is easy to make in a swimming flume but difficult in a long-course pool. I suggest that swimmers be timed for distance because that is easier and more accurate for coaches and swimmers. The swimming tests cited above should be altered as follows:

  1. a 4,000 m swim for time should be substituted for the 40 min swim;
  2. a 2,000 m for time for the 20 min swim;
  3. a 400 m for time for the 4 min swim; and
  4. a 100 m for time for the 1 min swim.

Return to Table of Contents for ICAR 1990-91 Report.