Energy contributions in swimmers with physical impairments in an all-out 200-m front crawl test



In competitive swimming, performance is associated with swimming a certain distance in the shortest possible time. Specifically, in an all-out 200-m front crawl test (T200), the intensity and duration of effort represent a challenge for coaches and swimmers to balance swimming speed with the ability to use different energy sources (aerobic and anaerobic) with lower energy cost (C). In the case of swimmers with physical impairments, physiological parameters are still little explored, and their monitoring may allow a better understanding of performance.


The aim of this study was to assess the total metabolic energetic contribution (Etot) and C of swimmers with physical impairments in a T200.


Eleven swimmers (7 males and 4 females; age: 32.3 ± 12.3 years) with physical impairments performed a T200 with the use of a snorkel and respiratory valve system. Measurements were performed for peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), blood lactate concentration (La), Etot and C.


The performance was 210.2 ± 48.1 s (swimming speed 0.99 ± 0.14im·s−1). The aerobic, anaerobic lactic and anaerobic alactic contributions were 70.1%, 17.1% and 12.8%, respectively. C was 1.22 ± 0.52 kJ m−1.


Swimmers with physical impairment of different sport classes presented, predominately, high aerobic metabolism contribution to the Etot and different values of C, with a certain tendency of C being lower in those faster swimmers than in slower swimmers. Possible divergences in this trend seem to be explained by the different competitive levels, body position and upper limb impairment.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



Aerobic contribution


Anaerobic alactic contribution


Anaerobic lactic contribution

C :

Energy cost


Total metabolic energy contribution


Blood lactate concentration

Larest :

Resting lactate




Respiratory exchange rate


Sport classes (from S1 to S10)


An all-out 200-m front crawl test

v :

Mean swimming speed

VO2peak :

Peak oxygen uptake

VO2max :

Maximal oxygen uptake

VO2rest :

Resting oxygen uptake

βLab :

Difference between the post-test lactate and the resting lactate


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To CAPES/Brazilian Ministry of Education for their support in this research.


The study is part of a MSc project and the first author was funded by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

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Correspondence to Wellington G. Feitosa.

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This study was approved by the research ethics committee of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, respecting the guidelines of the Helsinki Declaration.

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All swimmers signed a written consent form in which the protocol was explained in detail.

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Ongaratto, D., Feitosa, W.G., Correia, R.d.A. et al. Energy contributions in swimmers with physical impairments in an all-out 200-m front crawl test. Sport Sci Health (2021).

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  • Physiological profile
  • Evaluation
  • Swimming performance
  • Paralympic