The immune response in open water swimmers during training and long-distance swims (LDS) as well as their resistance to respiratory illnesses has not been investigated. The immune, metabolic and hematological response was determined in experimental and control groups of swimmers (7 and 8 athletes, respectively) during 6 months of training, as well as in the experimental group during each one of three LDS (>6 h) carried out during this training period. At the end of six months of training, the average pre-exercise levels of serum IgG, IgA, IgM and salivary IgA, decreased significantly: 48, 34, 64 and 45%, respectively. The average serum antibodies levels did not change during the first LDS, and increased significantly between the second and fourth hours of the other two swims. Salivary IgA decreased drastically in the first two hours (80%) of all swims. LDS carried out during training in open waters significantly suppressed pre-exercise serum and salivary antibody levels, although these changes did not affect the resistance of the swimmers to respiratory illnesses. The adaptation of the immune response was expressed in a significant increase of antibodies during consequent LDS.
Key words: Antibodies, metabolic and hematological parameters, adaptation.
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