The purpose of the current study was to assess the impact of three recovery protocols on blood lactate clearance following maximal intensity swimming. Thirty three regional standard swimmers were tested throughout the course a year and were required to complete a race paced 200-m swim in their main stroke or individual medley. Following the race paced swim swimmers were assigned either a self-paced continuous steady rate swim of 20 minutes (self-prescribed), a 20 minute coach administered modified warm-up consisting of various swimming modes, intensities and rest intervals (coach-prescribed), or a 20 minute land-based recovery consisting of light intensity walking, skipping and stretching (land-based). Blood lactate concentration was measured from the fingertip before and after the race paced swim and following the recovery activity. The concentration of blood lactate was higher (p < 0.01) after race paced swimming (range of 10.5 to 11.0 mmol.L-1) compared to baseline (range 1.3 to 1.4 mmol.L-1). However, there were no differences (p > 0.05) between the groups (recovery protocols) at these time points. Conversely, differences were observed between groups after the recovery activities (p < 0.01). Specifically, blood lactate concentration was higher following the land-based activity (3.7 +/- 1.8 mmol.L-1) than either the self-prescribed (2.0 +/- 1.2 mmol.L-1) or coach-prescribed (1.8 +/- 0.9 mmol.L-1) swimming protocols. The results of the current study suggest that it does not matter whether a self-paced continuous steady rate swimming velocity or a swimming recovery consisting of various strokes, intensities and rest intervals, is adopted as a recovery activity. As both swimming recoveries removed more blood lactate than the land-based recovery, swimmers should therefore be advised to undertake a swimming based recovery rather than a land-based recovery.