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Jeanne Dekerle and James Paterson

Purpose:

To examine muscle fatigue of the shoulder internal rotators alongside swimming biomechanics during long-duration submaximal swimming sets performed in 2 different speed domains.

Methods:

Eight trained swimmers (mean ± SD 20.5 ± 0.9 y, 173 ± 10 cm, 71.3 ± 10.0 kg) raced over 3 distances (200-, 400-, 800-m races) for determination of critical speed (CS; slope of the distance–time relationship). After a familiarization with muscle isokinetic testing, they subsequently randomly performed 2 constant-speed efforts (6 × 5-min blocks, 2.5-min recovery) 5% above (T105) and 5% below CS (T95) with maximal voluntary contractions recorded between swimming blocks.

Results:

Capillary blood lactate concentration ([La]), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), peak torque, stroke length, and stroke rate were maintained throughout T95 (P < .05). [La], RPE, and stroke rate increased alongside concomitant decreases in maximal torque and stroke length during T105 (P < .05) with incapacity of the swimmers to maintain the pace for longer than ~20 min. For T105, changes in maximal torque (35.0 ± 14.9 to 25.8 ± 12.1 Nm) and stroke length (2.66 ± 0.36 to 2.23 ± 0.24 m/cycle) were significantly correlated (r = .47, P < .05).

Conclusion:

While both muscle fatigue (shoulder internal rotators) and task failure occur when swimming at a pace greater than CS, the 2.5-min recovery period during the sub-CS set possibly alleviated the development of muscle fatigue for the pace to be sustainable for 6 × 5 min at 95% of CS. A causal relationship between reduction in stroke length and loss of muscle strength should be considered very cautiously in swimming.

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Patrick Pelayo, Morgan Alberty, Michel Sidney, François Potdevin and Jeanne Dekerle

The purposes of this review were (1) to review the recent studies conducted in swimming on the assessment of aerobic potential and establishment of exercise-intensity domains (it is important that exercise-intensity domains be accurately defined and their physiological underpinnings well understood to optimize and evaluate training programs); (2) to analyze changes in traditionally measured stroke rate and stroke length during exhaustive swims, particularly in relation to the predetermined intensity domains (introduction of an “optimal swimming technique speed”); and (3) to introduce the latest swimming research on arm coordination that might help us better understand the technical adaptations of swimmers under physical stress.

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Kerry McGawley, Erwan Leclair, Jeanne Dekerle, Helen Carter and Craig A. Williams

The Wingate cycle test (WAnT) is a 30-s test commonly used to estimate anaerobic work capacity (AWC). However, the test may be too short to fully deplete anaerobic energy reserves. We hypothesized that a 90-s all-out isokinetic test (ISO_90) would be valid to assess both aerobic and anaerobic capacities in young females. Eight girls (11.9 ± 0.5 y) performed an exhaustive incremental test, a WAnT and an ISO_90. Peak VO2 attained during the ISO_90 was significantly greater than VO2peak. Mean power, end power, fatigue index, total work done and AWC were not significantly different between the WAnT and after 30 s of the 90-s test (i.e., ISO_30). However, 95% limits of agreement showed large variations between the two tests when comparing all anaerobic parameters. It is concluded that an ISO-90 may be a useful test to assess aerobic capacity in young girls. However, since the anaerobic parameters derived from the ISO_30 did not agree with those derived from a traditional WAnT, the validity of using an ISO_90 to assess anaerobic performance and capacity within this population group remains unconfirmed.