Groups of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri, Richardson) were continuously swum at 20 cm s-1 (1.0 body lengths s-1) for 0, 3, 30, and 200 days. No significant changes in fish condition factor, combined red and white muscle mass, muscle fibre size or fibre size distribution were observed. After 200 days of swimming there was a significant 2.2 fold increase in red muscle mass. Number of capillaries per red muscle fibre increased significantly in each group by a maximum of 27% after 200 days exercise. Number of capillaries per white muscle fibre increased significantly by 95% after 200 days exercise. Blood lactate, haemoglobin (Hb) concentration haematocrit, erythrocyte adenosine triphosphate, and whole blood oxygen affinity P50 were unchanged by swimming. After 30 and 200 days swimming there was a shift in expression of white muscle lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) isozymes from LDH-A to LDH-B. Within the duplicated LDH-B isozyme complex, there was a shift in expression from LDH-B to LDH-B' subunits. These results suggest that sustained swimming at 1(-1) bl s-1 increased the aerobic capacity of red and particularly white (fast) muscle of rainbow trout but did not alter the gas transport characteristics of the blood.