Saturday, 22 Jun 2024

Swimming 7 x 200m Step Test

The 7 x 200m swim step test is a comprehensive swimming-specific physiological test used to monitor training and improvements in aerobic conditioning. In this article, we will explore the purpose of the test, the equipment required, the procedure, and the measurements. We will also discuss its advantages, disadvantages, and provide some related tests for swimmers.


Are you a swimmer looking to improve your aerobic conditioning? The 7 x 200m swim step test might be just what you need. This test is designed specifically for swimmers and can provide valuable insights into your fitness parameters during a standard swimming session. In this article, we will dive deep into the details of this test and how it can benefit you.


The purpose of the 7 x 200m swim step test is to assess your aerobic conditioning and monitor your training progress. By performing this test, you can track changes in your fitness levels and make adjustments to your training regimen accordingly.

Equipment Required

To perform the test, you will need the following equipment:

  • A swimming pool (25m or 50m in length)
  • Pool pace clock
  • Stopwatch
  • Equipment for blood lactate testing
  • Heart rate monitor


The test consists of swimming 7 sets of 200m at an even pace. Each set starts exactly six minutes after the previous one. You can choose your specialist stroke, whether it’s freestyle, backstroke, or breaststroke. The target time for each swim is based on your age or intensity level.

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For example, if you’re a senior swimmer, the last 200m should be swum at a pace to elicit your maximum heart rate. Each preceding 200m should be 10 beats per minute below the previous one. For younger swimmers, each swim is related to their personal best time. The target times gradually decrease with each set.


During the test, it’s essential to record various measurements to track your progress accurately. These include:

  • Splits and total times for each set
  • Stroke rate
  • Rate of perceived exertion (RPE) after each set
  • Heart rate immediately after each set
  • Blood lactate levels three minutes after each set

Results and Analysis

Once you’ve completed the test and recorded all the necessary measurements, you can analyze the data to gain valuable insights into your aerobic conditioning. Calculate average pace, heart rate, stroke rate, and strokes per length. Use these results to plot heart rate/velocity curves or lactate/velocity curves. Changes in these curves over time can help you monitor changes in your swimming-specific aerobic conditioning. Additionally, you can determine your anaerobic threshold from these graphs.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The 7 x 200m swim step test offers several advantages for swimmers and coaches. The comprehensive measurements gathered during the test provide valuable feedback that can help fine-tune your training program. However, it’s important to note that this test can be costly and time-consuming due to the equipment and assistants required.

Related Tests

If you’re interested in exploring more swimming tests, here are some related options:

  • Swimming Beep Test: Conducted in a 25m pool, starting at a speed of 1 m/sec and increasing gradually.
  • Critical Swim Speed: Determines the theoretical swimming speed that can be maintained continuously without exhaustion.
  • Swimming VO2max Test: A progressive and maximal VO2max test conducted in a pool.
  • Swim 12-minute Test: Measures the maximum distance swum in 12 minutes.
  • SWOLF: A measure of swimming efficiency.
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Q: Who is the 7 x 200m swim step test suitable for?
A: The test is appropriate for experienced swimmers of all genders who have good pacing ability.

Q: How reliable is the 7 x 200m swim step test?
A: The test’s reliability depends on the swimmer’s pacing ability. With practice, both pacing ability and test reliability can improve.


The 7 x 200m swim step test is a valuable tool for swimmers looking to enhance their aerobic conditioning. By incorporating this test into your training regimen, you can monitor your progress and make informed adjustments to optimize your performance. Remember to consult with a qualified coach or trainer to ensure you perform the test correctly and safely.

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Reference: Pyne, D., Maw, G., & Goldsmith W. (2000), Protocols for the Physiological Assessment of Swimmers. In: Gore C (ed) “Physiological Tests for Elite Athletes”, Published for the Australian Sports Commission by Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign Illinois pp. 372-382.