Dynamics of the Metabolic Response During a Competitive 100-m Freestyle in Elite Male Swimmers

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To compare the dynamics of maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2), blood lactate ([La]b), total energy expenditure (Etot), and contributions of the aerobic (Eaer), alactic anaerobic (Ean,al), and lactic anaerobic (Ean,lac) metabolic energy pathways over 4 consecutive 25-m laps (L0–25, L25–50, etc) of a 100-m maximal freestyle swim. Methods: Elite swimmers comprising 26 juniors (age = 16 [1] y) and 23 seniors (age = 24 [5] y) performed 100 m at maximal speed and then 3 trials (25, 50, and 75 m) at the same pace as that of the 100 m. [La]b was collected, and V˙O2 was measured 20 s postexercise. Results: The estimated energetic contributions for the 100-m trial are presented as mean (SD): Eaer, 51% (8%); Ean,al, 18% (2%); Ean,lac, 31% (9%). V˙O2 increased from L0–25 to L25–50 (mean = 3.5 L·min−1; 90% confidence interval [CI], 3.4–3.7 L·min−1 to mean = 4.2 L·min−1; 90% CI, 4.0–4.3 L·min−1) and then stabilized in the 2nd 50 m (mean = 4.1 L·min−1; 90% CI, 3.9–4.3 L·min−1 to mean = 4.2 L·min−1; 90% CI, 4.0–4.4 L·min−1). Etot (juniors, 138 [18] kJ; seniors, 168 [26] kJ), Ean,al (juniors, 27 [3] kJ; seniors, 30 [3] kJ), and Ean,lac (juniors, 38 [12] kJ; seniors, 62 [24] kJ) were 11–58% higher in seniors. Faster swimmers (n = 26) had higher V˙O2(4.6L·min1, 90% CI 4.4–4.8 L·min−1 vs 3.9 L·min−1, 90% CI 3.6–4.2 L·min−1), and Eaer power was associated with fast performances (P < .001). Conclusion: Faster swimmers were characterized by higher V˙O2 and less time to reach the highest V˙O2 at ∼50 m of the 100-m swim. Anaerobic qualities become more important with age.

Hellard, Pla, and Simbana are with the Research Dept, French Swimming Federation, Pantin, France. Hellard is also with the Inst of Research of Medicine and Epidemiology of Sports (IRMES), Paris, France. Pla is also with the National Inst of Sport, Expertise, and Performance (INSEP), Paris, France. Rodríguez is with the Barcelona Sport Sciences Research Group and National Inst of Physical Education of Catalonia (INEFC), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. Simbana is with the Center for the Study of Transformations in Physical Activities and Sports (CETAPS)—EA 3832, University of Rouen Normandy, Mont Saint Aignan, France. Pyne is with the Research Inst for Sport and Exercise, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Hellard (hellard.ph@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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