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Ana I. Sousa, Rui Corredeira and Ana L. Pereira

This study reports on a comparison of how two different groups of people with an amputation view their bodies and perceive how others view them. One group has a history of sport participation, while the other has not. The analysis is based on 14 semistructured interviews with people with amputations: 7 were engaged in sport and 7 were not. The following themes emerged: Body, Prosthesis, Independence, Human Person, and Social Barriers. One could conclude that participation in sport influences how people with an amputation perceive their body as they live with their body in a more positive way and they better accept their new body condition and their being-in-the-world. The social barriers that people with an amputation have to face daily were evident, and one of the most significant ideas was the importance of being recognized and treated as a person and not as a person with a disability.

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Eva Piatrikova, Ana C. Sousa, Javier T. Gonzalez and Sean Williams

Purpose: To assess the concurrent and predictive validity of the 3-minute all-out test (3MT) against conventional methods (CM) of determining critical speed (CS) and curvature constant (D′) and to examine the test–retest reliability of the 3MT in highly trained swimmers. Methods: Thirteen highly trained swimmers (age 16 [2] y, weight 64.7 [8.5] kg, height 1.76 [0.07] m) completed 4 time trials and two 3MTs over 2 wk. The distance–time (DT) and speed–1/time (1/T) models were used to determine CS and D′ from 4 time trials. CS3MT and D3MT were determined as the mean speed in the final 30 s of 3MT and as the speed–time integral above CS, respectively. Results: CS3MT (1.33 [0.06] m·s−1) did not differ from CSCM (1.33 [0.06] m·s−1, P > .05) and correlated nearly perfectly with CSCM (r = .95, P < .0001). D3MT (19.50 [3.52] m) was lower than DDT (23.30 [6.24] m, P < .05) and D1/T (22.15 [5.75] m, P = .09). Correlations between D3MT and DCM were very large (r = .79, P = .002). CS and D′ between the two 3MT trials were not different (CS mean change = −0.009 m·s−1, P = .102; D′ mean change = 0.82 m, P = .221). Correlations between the two 3MT trials were nearly perfect and very large for CS (r = .97) and D′ (r = .87, P < .05), respectively, with coefficients of variation of 0.9% for CS and 9.1% for D′. Conclusion: The 3MT is a valid protocol for estimation of CS and produces high test–retest reliability for CS and D′ in highly trained swimmers.

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Ana Sousa, Pedro Figueiredo, David Pendergast, Per-Ludvik Kjendlie, João P. Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Swimming has become an important area of sport science research since the 1970s, with the bioenergetic factors assuming a fundamental performance-influencing role. The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical evaluation of the literature concerning oxygen-uptake (VO2) assessment in swimming, by describing the equipment and methods used and emphasizing the recent works conducted in ecological conditions. Particularly in swimming, due to the inherent technical constraints imposed by swimming in a water environment, assessment of VO2max was not accomplished until the 1960s. Later, the development of automated portable measurement devices allowed VO2max to be assessed more easily, even in ecological swimming conditions, but few studies have been conducted in swimming-pool conditions with portable breath-by-breath telemetric systems. An inverse relationship exists between the velocity corresponding to VO2max and the time a swimmer can sustain it at this velocity. The energy cost of swimming varies according to its association with velocity variability. As, in the end, the supply of oxygen (whose limitation may be due to central—O2 delivery and transportation to the working muscles—or peripheral factors—O2 diffusion and utilization in the muscles) is one of the critical factors that determine swimming performance, VO2 kinetics and its maximal values are critical in understanding swimmers’ behavior in competition and to develop efficient training programs.

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Ana Sousa, João Paulo Vilas-Boas, Ricardo J. Fernandes and Pedro Figueiredo


To establish appropriate work intensity for interval training that would elicit maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) for well-trained swimmers.


Twelve male competitive swimmers completed an incremental protocol to determine the minimum velocity at VO2max (νVO2max) and, in randomized order, 3 square-wave exercises from rest to 95%, 100%, and 105% of νVO2max. Temporal aspects of the VO2 response were examined in these latter.


Swimming at 105% of νVO2max took less (P < .04) absolute time to achieve 90%, 95%, and 100% of VO2max intensities (35.0 ± 7.7, 58.3 ± 15.9, 58.3 ± 19.3 s) compared with 95% (72.1 ± 34.3, 106.7 ± 43.9, 151.1 ± 52.4 s) and 100% (55.8 ± 24.5, 84.2 ± 35.4, 95.6 ± 29.8 s) of VO2max. However, swimming at 95% of νVO2max resulted in longer absolute time (P < .001) at or above the desired intensities (90%: 268.3 ± 72.5 s; 95%: 233.8 ± 74.3 s; 100%: 173.6 ± 78.2 s) and more relative time at or above 95% of VO2max than 105% of νVO2max (68.6% ± 13.5% vs 55.3% ± 11.5%, P < .03), and at or above 100% of VO2max than 100% and 105% of νVO2max (52.7% ± 16.3% vs 28.2% ± 10.5% and 34.0% ± 11.3%, P < .001). At 60 s of effort, swimmers achieved 85.8% ± 11.2%, 88.3% ± 5.9%, and 94.7% ± 5.5% of the VO2max when swimming at 95%, 100%, and 105% of νVO2max, respectively.


When training to elicit VO2max, using higher swimming intensities will promote a faster VO2 response but a shorter time spent above these intensities. However, lower intensities allow maintaining the desired response for a longer period of time. Moreover, using the 60-s time period seem to be a more adequate stimulus than shorter ones (~30-s), especially when performed at 105% of νVO2max intensity.