The 12-Minute Swim Test (Cooper, 1982) is an aerobic swimming fitness test, in which the participants attempt to cover as much distance as possible in 12 minutes. This is the pool version of the Cooper 12-minute walk/run test. There is also a cycling version. The test requires proficiency in swimming technique to adequately estimate aerobic fitness. Conley et al. (1991) found it was not a valid alternative to the 12-min run, and in male junior swimmers it was only moderately reliable and does not appear to be a valid field test of aerobic capacity (Huse et al., 2000)
purpose: This test measures aerobic fitness and swimming ability.
equipment required: standard 25 or 50 meter swimming pool is preferred, marker cones, stopwatch.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Warm up with a few laps easy swimming. Place marker cones every 10 meters/yards to assist in measuring the swimming distance covered. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: The aim of this test is to swim for 12 minutes and cover the maximum distance as possible. Any swim stroke and turn may be used, but freestyle is preferable and expected to maximize speed. Swimmers begin the test in the water at one end of the pool. On the command ‘ready, go’ the clock will start, and they will begin swimming at their own steady pace. The participant stops swimming when 12 minutes has been elapsed, and the total distance completed is recorded.
scoring: The total distance swam is recorded, to the nearest meter. If a pool other than a standard 50 swimming pool is used, the pool length should be recorded with the results.
TABLE: 12-minute Swimming Test ratings for MALES. Distance in yards for different age groups
source: Cooper (1982)
TABLE: 12-minute Swimming Test ratings for FEMALES. Distance in yards for different age groups
source: Cooper (1982)
comments: A maximum of three swimmers per lane is ideal (try to space them 15 seconds apart at the start), and no drafting off other swimmers is allowed.
- Cooper, K. H. 1982. The Aerobics Program for Total Well-Being. New York: Bantam Books.
- Conley DS, Cureton KJ, Dengel DR, Weyand PG. Validation of the 12-min swim as a field test of peak aerobic power in young men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991 Jun;23(6):766-73.
- Dawn Huse, Patricia Patterson & Jeanne Nichols (2000) The Validity and Reliability of the 12-Minute Swim Test in Male Swimmers Ages 13-17, Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 4:1, 45-55
- Aslan, Ummuhan & Ergun, Nevin & Aslan, Şehmus. (2004). Evaluation of the 12 minute swim and the 12 minute run test performances in swimmers ages 10 to 15 years. Fizyoterapi Rehabilitasyon. 15. 77-81.
- 1km Swim Test — swim for 1 km as fast as possible.
- Swimming Beep Test — an aerobic swimming test conducted in a 25m pool, starting at a speed of 1 m/sec and increasing by 0.05 m/sec every two minutes
- 500yd / 450m Swim Test — part of the PRT, swim 500 yards as fast as you can.
- Cooper 12-minute walk/run test
- Cycle 12-minute test — cycle for maximum distance in 12 minutes
- About swimming endurance tests
- List of Fitness Tests involving Swimming
- Fitness testing protocols for swimmers
- List of Fitness Tests for Swimmers
- Other aerobic tests
- About the sport of swimming