The Progressive Swim Test

The Progressive Swim Test is a modification of the running beep test, designed to test the aerobic capacity of for nonexpert swimmers. A swimming version of the beep test was first described by Lavoie et al. (1985), a team which included Luc Léger which developed the running beep test. This test design was further refined by Veronese da Costa et al., (2012) to create the Progressive Swim Test. There is another water-based beep test, the Multistage Shuttle Swim Test for water polo players.

Equipment Required: 25m swimming pool, audio cd, speakers that are audible underwater (maybe using underwater speakers, or even a waterproof mp3 player), marker cones, recording sheets and pen.

Preparations: Make sure the participants are adequately prepared: well-rested, hydrated and fueled, and familiar with the test procedure and motivated to perform maximally. Give clear instructions about the test and what is expected of them.

Course layout: 25m pool. Cones are placed 5m from either end, and at the midpoint of the pool. Markers can also be placed on the floor of the pool at the same points.

Procedure: All participants should line up at one end of the 25m pool. The participants begin swimming with a front-crawl technique when instructed by the audio recording. The athletes continue swimming in time with the audio signals with no rest period. There is an audio signal to indicate when the swimmers should be at the midpoint of the pool. Assistants can stand along the pool side to help indicate to the swimmer if they not at the required pace. The swimming time is decreased by one second for each performed lap (see table below). Swimmers are allowed to perform tumble turns at each end if they wish to. They must continue for as long as they can - the test is ceased when the athlete falls five or more meters short of the pool end for two laps in a row, or when the subject feels that they cannot continue. Strong verbal encouragement should be given to elicit maximal effort.

Scoring: The participant's score is the total distance covered in meters or the number of laps completed.

Timing: The test timings are based on the short course (25m pool) 400m world record for men, which at the time was 3′32″57. The total time to complete this test (400m) would be 3′35″30. The table below has the time required to complete each 25m lap.

Lap distance (m) Time (min:sec) Speed (m/sec)
1 25 28″30 0.88
2 50 27″30 0.92
3 75 26″30 0.50
4 100 25″30 0.99
5 125 24″30 1.03
6 150 23″30 1.07
7 175 22″30 1.12
8 200 21″30 1.17
9 225 20″30 1.23
10 250 19″30 1.30
11 275 18″30 1.37
12 300 17″30 1.45
13 325 16″30 1.53
14 350 15″30 1.63
15 375 14″30 1.75
16 400 13″30 1.88


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