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Reliability and Validity of a Pool-Based Maximal Oxygen Uptake Test to Examine High-Intensity Short-Duration Freestyle Swimming Performance

Nagle, Elizabeth F.1; Nagai, Takashi2; Beethe, Anne Z.2; Lovalekar, Mita T.2; Zera, Jacquelyn N.3; Connaboy, Christopher2; Abt, John P.4; Beals, Kimberly2; Nindl, Bradley C.2; Robertson, Robert J.1; Lephart, Scott M.4

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 5 - p 1208–1215
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003113
Original Research

Nagle, EF, Nagai, T, Beethe, AZ, Lovalekar, MT, Zera, JN, Connaboy, C, Abt, JP, Beals, K, Nindl, BC, Robertson, RJ, and Lephart, SM. Reliability and validity of a pool-based maximal oxygen uptake test to examine high-intensity short-duration freestyle swimming performance. J Strength Cond Res 33(5): 1208–1215, 2019—A modality-specific swimming protocol to assess maximal oxygen uptake (VO2maxsw) is essential to accurately prescribe and monitor swimming conditioning programs. Consequently, there is a need for a reliable and valid graded intensity swimming pool test to accurately assess VO2maxsw using indirect calorimetry. The purpose of this study was to assess (a) reliability of an intensity self-regulated swimming pool test of VO2maxsw and (b) validity of a VO2maxsw test using performance swim (PS) time as the criterion. Twenty-nine men (n = 15) and women (n = 14) (age, 23 ± 6.4 years; body mass index, 23.5 ± 3.0 kg·m−2) performed 2 swimming pool VO2maxsw trials (VO2maxsw A and VO2maxsw B), and 2 PS tests (45.7 m [31.20 ± 4.5 seconds] and 182 m [159.2 ± 25.5 seconds]). For test-retest reliability (trials A vs. B), strong correlations (p < 0.05) were found for VO2maxsw (ml·kg−1·min−1) (r = 0.899), O2 pulse (ml O2·beat−1) (r = 0.833), and maximum expired ventilatory volume (L·min−1) (r = 0.785). For performance validity, moderately strong correlations (p < 0.05) were found between VO2maxsw A and 45.7-m (r = −0.543) and 182-m (r = −0.486) swim times. The self-regulated graded intensity swimming pool protocol examined presently is a reliable and valid test of VO2maxsw. Studies should consider the suitability of a VO2maxsw test for military personnel, clinical populations, and injured athletes.

Departments of 1Health and Physical Activity, and

2Sports Medicine and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;

3Department of Exercise Science, John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio; and

4College of Health Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

Address correspondence to Dr. Elizabeth F. Nagle,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.