Short-track speed skating involves pack-style racing where five to seven skaters may be on the ice at once. Since average speed for a 3000-m event may exceed 35 km·-1, drafting may be beneficial. However, the short(111 m) oval track could limit effective drafting space, and high forces required in cornering may compromise potential benefits. We evaluated heart rate (HR)-lactate (LA) responses and post-drafting 3-lap sprint performance using 18 National Team and developmental skaters. Two 4-min trials, one drafting and one leading at 8.8 m·s-1, were performed. In addition, six skaters performed three 3-lap sprints, rested, immediately after a 4-min drafting trial at 9.2 m·s-1, and immediately after an unaided 4-min trial at 9.2 m·s-1. Results demonstrated lower HR and LA responses during drafting (174.0 ± 9.0 and 5.56 ± 2.18 vs 180.4 ± 8.7 and 7.75, P < 0.05) at 8.8 m·s-1. After 4-min trials at 9.2 m·s-1, HR deltas were 6 bpm, lactate values were 9.00 ± 1.84 and 5.22 ± 1.18 for unaided and drafting, respectively. Sprint performance was better following drafting (33.46 ± 1.19 vs 34.03 s, P < 0.05). HR and LA deltas during the 8.8 m·s-1 trials ranged from 0.8 to 12.4 and-0.18 to 5.37, respectively, indicating that some skaters were more effective drafters than others. These results suggest that drafting could be an important strategy in short-track speed skating, and drafting technique should be emphasized in training.