Psychophysiological and ergogenic effects of music in swimming

R. L. Olson, C. J. Brush, D. J. O'Sullivan, B. L. Alderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We investigated the effects of listening to medium-to-fast tempo asynchronous music on performance, heart rate (HR), perceived exertion, and affect during an acute bout of swimming at a self-selected pace. Healthy college-aged recreational swimmers (n=20; Mage=20.3±2.0 years) were studied on two occasions in randomised order: swimming 1,200 m while listening to music (125-140 beats per minute) or during a no-music control trial. Following a period of habituation to the SwiMP3 audio player, HR, rating of perceived exertion, feeling scale responses and performance time trials were assessed for each 200 m during the 1,200 m freestyle swimming trial, each interspersed with a one min rest period. Participants swam significantly faster during the asynchronous music condition relative to control (P<0.01, η2 p=0.32). Although music had no significant influence on perceived exertion, the music condition was associated with more favourable arousal (P<0.01, η2 p=0.40) and affective (P<0.05, η2 p=0.19) responses. These findings suggest that both recreational and competitive swimmers may benefit from the use of underwater MP3 players and music.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Physiology (medical)


  • Affect
  • Asynchronous music
  • Attention
  • Exercise psychology
  • Performance


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