The effect of time of day on all-out swim performances was examined. Fourteen subjects performed maximal front crawl swim tests on separate days over 100 m. and 400 m. at 5 different times of day between 06.30 h. and 22.00 h. Performance showed a significant linear trend with time of day in close though not exact association with the circadian rhythm in oral temperature: a goodness of fit test confirmed that the values predicted from linear trend analysis coincided with the measured values (p less than 0.05). The steady improvement throughout the day was 3.5% for 100 m. and 2.5% for 400 m. swims. Trunk flexibility displayed a time of day variation with a trough in the morning and a peak in the afternoon. No significant rhythm was observed in ankle and shoulder flexibility, grip strength or peak expiratory flow rate (p greater than 0.05). It was concluded that maximal swimming trials are best scheduled for the evening and worst in the early morning. Specific fitness factors cannot clearly account for the higher exercise capability in the evening which is strongly related to the circadian curve in body temperature.
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