Tethered Swimming Test: Reliability and the Association With Swimming Performance and Land-Based Anaerobic Performance

Jacquelyn Nagle Zera, Elizabeth F. Nagle, Takashi Nagai, Mita Lovalekar, John P. Abt, Scott M. Lephart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was 3-fold: (a) to examine the test-retest reliability of a 30-second maximal tethered freestyle swimming test (TST), (b) to assess the validity of the TST by examining the association with sprint swimming performance, and (c) to examine the associations between a swim-specific and land-based measure of anaerobic performance. A total of 29 male and female swimmers were recruited to participate in the study. Each subject completed a Wingate Anaerobic cycling test (WAnT), 2 or 4 TST, and a 22.9 m (25 yd), 45.7 m (50 yd), and 91.4 m (100 yd) maximal freestyle performance swims (PS). Mean and peak force (Fmeanand Fpeak) were recorded for both the WAnT and TST, and average swimming velocity and time were recorded for the PS. In addition, physiological and perceptual measures were recorded immediately postexercise for all tests. The results of the present investigation showed strong intersession and intrasession reliability (R = 0.821-0.975; p < 0.001) for force parameters of the TST. Moderate correlations were found between Fmeanand PS time and velocity of all distances, with slightly weaker correlations between Fpeakand the 22.9 m (time and velocity) and 45.7 m (velocity) PS. Finally, moderate correlations were found for Fmeanand Fpeakof the TST and WAnT. This study demonstrated that the TST is a reliable measure, with moderate association with swimming performance, producing similar physiological responses compared with free swimming. Therefore, future research should focus on investigating the potential benefits of using the TST as a regular assessment tool as a part of a competitive swimming training program to track adaptations and inform training decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-220
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by ONR: N00014-14-1-0022/N00014-15-0069.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 NSCA National Strength and Conditioning Association. All rights reserved.


  • anaerobic
  • exercise testing
  • force production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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