Reliability and validity of a modified 3-minute all-out swimming test in elite swimmers

Lachlan J G Mitchell, David B Pyne, Philo U Saunders, Ben Rattray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Critical speed (CS) testing is useful in monitoring training in swimmers, however, completing a series of time trials (TTs) regularly is time-consuming. The 3-minute test may be a solution with positive initial findings. This investigation examined whether a modified 3-minute test (12 × 25 m) could assess CS and supra-CS distance capacity (D') in swimmers. A series of 12 × 25 m intervals were completed unpaced at maximal effort, interspersed with 5 s rest periods. The model speed = aebt + c was fitted to the data and integrated to calculate D'. The slowest two of the last four efforts were averaged to calculate CS. To assess reliability, 15 highly trained swimmers (9 females, 6 males) completed the 12 × 25 m twice within 72 h. Four measures were deemed reliable: peak velocity (0.01 m s-1; 0.5%, typical error and % coefficient of variation), CS (0.02 m s-1; 1.2%), D' (1.22 m; 5.7%) and drop off % (0.70% points; 4.5%). To assess criterion validity, 21 swimmers (9 from reliability, 12 other) completed two competition races within 2 weeks of a 12 × 25 m in the same stroke. Traditional CS and D' measures were calculated from competition performances (TT method). TT CS and 12 × 25 m CS were highly correlated (adj. R2 = 0.92, p < .001). D' values were moderately correlated (adj. R2 = 0.60, p < .01). Two TTs may have been too few to estimate D' accurately. The 12 × 25 m all-out swimming test is a reliable method for assessing CS and D' in swimmers, however, the validity of D' requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-314
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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