The Multistage Shuttle Swim Test

The Multistage Shuttle Swim Test (MSST) is a modification of the running beep test, though conducted in a swimming pool and designed to specifically test the aerobic capacity of water polo players. This test was developed by sport scientists in Western Australia (Rechichi et al., 2000). Participants are required to swim between lane ropes set up 10 meters part, in time to progressively faster audio signals. There is another water-based beep test, the Progressive Swim Test for swimmers, with 25m shuttles.

Equipment Required: swimming pool, audio cd, speakers that are audible underwater (maybe using underwater speakers, or even a waterproof mp3 player), 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: lane ropes set up in the water 10m apart, so that the participants cannot push off against the wall at each turn.

Procedure: All participants should line up along one of the lane ropes. The participants begin swimming when instructed by the audio recording. The swimmers shuttle bewteen the lane ropes, using a front crawl swimming stroke. Each stage lasts approximately one minute and the shuttles are signalled by an audio cue. The athletes continue swimming in time with the audio signals with no rest period. They must continue for as long as they can - the test is ceased when the athlete falls two or more meters short of the lane rope, or when the subject feels they cannot continue. Strong verbal encouragement should be given to provoke maximal effort.

Test Timing: The one-minute levels start at a swimming speed of 0.9 m/s, and increase by 0.05 m/sec every level.

Scoring: The athlete's score is the level and number of shuttles reached before they were unable to keep up with the recording.


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