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Logo of brjsmedBritish Journal of Sports MedicineCurrent TOCInstructions for authors
Br J Sports Med. Dec 2005; 39(12): 960–964.
PMCID: PMC1725096

Effect of swimming intensity on subsequent cycling and overall triathlon performance


Objectives: To investigate the effects of different swimming intensities on subsequent cycling and overall triathlon performance.

Methods: Nine highly trained, male triathletes completed five separate laboratory sessions comprising one graded exercise test, a swim time trial (STT), and three sprint distance triathlons (TRI). The swimming velocities of the three TRI sessions were 80–85% (S80), 90–95% (S90), and 98–102% (S100) of the STT velocity. Subsequent cycling and running were performed at a perceived maximal intensity. Swimming stroke mechanics were measured during the swim. Plasma lactate concentration and ratings of perceived exertion were recorded at the conclusion of the swim and over the course of subsequent cycling and running. Oxygen consumption was recorded during the cycle.

Results: The S80 and S90 cycle times were faster than the S100 cycle time (p<0.05). The overall triathlon time of S80 was faster than that of S100 (p<0.05). The S100 swim was characterised by a greater stroke rate than S80 and S90 (p<0.05) and a greater plasma lactate concentration than S80 (p<0.01).

Conclusion: A swimming intensity below that of a time trial effort significantly improves subsequent cycling and overall triathlon performance.

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Selected References

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