Swimming Specific Testing
Of the hundreds of fitness tests on Topend Sports, there are a few tests designed specifically to assess the fitness and swimming ability of swimmers.
While field tests are important to identify which areas of fitness may need improvement and to monitor changes in fitness with training, it is also important to make sure the tests are specific to the sport of swimming. The best way to do this is to conduct tests while swimming in a pool.
There are extra challenges for testing swimmers in the water, for example measuring oxygen consumption, measuring heart rate and taking blood samples are much harder than collecting this data in the laboratory or in the field on land.
Tests for Swimmers
These tests can be used for assessing the fitness of swimmers, in combination with other generic fitness tests. See our discussion of fitness testing for swimming with some example protocols.
- Swimming Beep Test — a water-based version of the multi-stage beep test to measure aerobic fitness. The test is conducted in a 25m pool, starting at a speed of 1 m/sec and increasing by 0.05 m/sec every two minutes. There are a couple of similar tests that could also be used to assess aerobic swimming, such as the Swimming Beep (Williams) and the Shuttle swim test (water polo).
- Swimming 7 x 200m Step Test — a very comprehensive swimming-specific physiological test, in which heart rate, blood lactate, split times, stroke rate and perceived exertion are recorded, used to monitor changes in swimming specific aerobic conditioning.
- Critical Swim Speed — a test to determine the theoretical swimming speed that can be maintained continuously without exhaustion. This test can be used by coaches and swimmers as a measure of aerobic capacity and also to determine swimming training intensities.
- SWOLF — a simple and general measure of swimming efficiency, calculated by adding the time (in seconds) to the stroke count, for a given distance.
- VO2max Swimming Test — a progressive and maximal VO2max test conducted in a pool.
There are other fitness tests using swimming as the primary exercise mode, but not specifically for fitness testing swimming athletes. There are tests for water polo players and triathletes, as well as general tests using the pool and swimming as the exercise mode.
- Fitness testing protocols for Swimming
- About swimming endurance tests
- List of Fitness Tests involving Swimming
- Sport Specific Fitness Testing
- Guide to Fitness Testing — all you need to know about conducting fitness testing
- About the Sport of Swimming