Interpretation of the physiological monitoring of an international swimmer

Kevin Thompson, Stephen Garland, Fiona Lothian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It remains contentious whether improvements in the swimming speed at various lactate concentrations coincide with improvements in competitive performances. A lack of longitudinal data exists to confirm this premise. This case study presents data for a world-class 200-m male breaststroke swimmer from a sports science support programme over a three-year period. Eleven (7 × 200-m) Step tests were undertaken during this period. Seven of the Step tests occurred within two-three weeks of a competition performance. Rank order correlation demonstrated that higher race speeds coincided significantly (P <0.1) with higher speeds at blood lactate concentrations of 4 mM (? = 0.95), 6 mM (? = 1), 8 mM (? = 0.95). Data were observed to fluctuate following periods of overreaching, detraining and also due to poor nutritional practice. It was concluded that changes in the speed at various blood lactate concentrations can inform the coaching process, but only when measured alongside other parameters and where an in-depth knowledge of the swimmer's health and training status is available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-124
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Science & Coaching
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


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