Swimming Energy Calculator

OttrLoggr: Energy Use Calculator

Swim Energy Usage


RER Value Guide

Slow (0.7)
A1 band - warm-up, recovery, cool-down sets
Moderate (0.85)
A2 band - aerobic capacity sets
Intense (1.00)
A3 band - aerobic power, VO2max sets

Data Source: Zamparo P, Bonifazi M (2013). Bioenergetics of cycling sports activities in water.

Coded for Swimming Science by Cameron Yick

Freestyle data

Total Cost

Quick Food Reference

48g Carbs
25g Carbs
Peanut Butter
16g (2 tablespoons) *

VO2max is not Important for Competitive Swimmers

On my vacation, I had the luxury of reading and came to the conclusion, measuring VO2max is not important for competitive swimmers. I know this is a bold, hellish statement and one which is not perfectly supported. Moreover, it is never smart to say something is useless, well at least in the world of science. However, the more I learn about VO2max, the more I realize it is only applicable in high volume swimming practice, not a meet, practice. As we all know, no medals (at least important ones) are handed out in practice.

Two readings specifically to swimming have supported this thought that VO2max is not important to swimmers:

Dr. Rushall has been dismissing VO2max for sometime. Dr. Rushall has radical views in the minds of many traditional swim coaches, but let's think about it. The majority of swim races last for approximately :20 – 2:00. However, reaching VO2max takes approximately 10 minutes in most testing procedures. As a result, the metabolic demands of VO2 max testing aren't related to the metabolic demands of races. Also, the cyclic nature of swimming (alternating resting and moving body segments) and lack of gravity in the sport of swimming decrease it's demands, making VO2max occur even later. Instead, Dr. Rushall advocates the importance of race pace and motor programming, an important aspect of training.

To confirm, Dr. Maglischo, another pioneer in the sport, also questions the use of VO2max. His argues, VO2max is not the limiting factor of success as there is always oxygen in the circulating blood. However, Dr. Maglischo discusses the importance of mitochondrial density as the limiting factor in his great paper on Lactic acid and muscular fatigue. His point confirms the importance of oxygen, however, oxygen itself is not the limiting factor, instead the ATP-generating mitochondria that prevent further oxygen from reaching the muscles.

Overall, it is hard to completely dismiss the importance of oxygen for exercise, especially in anaerobic races. However, it does seem VO2max is not as vital as once thought, therefore it is time to question previous facts in the sport. Too long have myths in exercise science been passed along the swimming community, for these reasons it seems that improving VO2max should not be a goal of competitive swimmers!

By G. John Mullen founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, head strength coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.