Aerobic cost in elite female adolescent swimmers

V. Unnithan, J. Holohan, B. Fernhall, J. Wylegala, T. Rowland, D.R. Pendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Maximal performance in swimming depends on metabolic power and the economy of swimming. Thus, the energy cost of swimming (economy=V˙O 2/V, Cs) and maximal aerobic power (V˙O 2max) in elite young female swimmers (n=10, age: 15.3±1.5 years) and their relationships to race times (50–1 000 m) and national ranking were examined. V˙O 2 increased exponentially with velocity (V), (V˙O 2=5.95+(−10.58 V)+5.84 V2) to a maximal V˙O 2 of 2.71±0.50 L·min−1 (46.7±8.2 mL·kg−1·min−1) at a free swimming velocity of 1.37±0.07 m·s−1. Cs was constant up to 1.2 m·s−1 (21.5 mL·m−1), however was significantly higher at 1.36 m·s−1 (27.3 mL·m−1). Peak [La] was 5.34±2.26 mM. Cs expressed as a percentage of Cs at maximal swimming velocity was significantly correlated with race times and ranking across a number of distances. The data for these elite females demonstrate that the energy cost of swimming is a good predictor of performance across a range of distances. However, as swimming performance is determined by a combination of factors, these findings warrant further examination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-199
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • swimming economy
  • elite female athletes


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