The development of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss strains that are resistant to whirling disease has shown promise as amanagement tool for populationsin areas where Myxobolus cerebralisis present. However, the physiological effects of the disease on characteristics necessary for fish survival in natural river conditions have not been tested in many of these strains. Five rainbow trout strains were evaluated for their swimming ability and growth characteristics in relation to M. cerebralis exposure: the resistant German rainbow trout (GR) strain (Hofer strain), the susceptible Colorado River rainbow trout (CRR) strain, and three intermediate (hybrid) strains (F1 = GR ?? CRR; F2 = F1 ?? F1; B2 = backcross of F1 ?? CRR). Three broad response patterns among strain and exposure were evident in our study. First, exposure metrics, growth performance, and swimming ability differed among strains. Second, exposure to the parasite did not necessarily produce differences in growth or swimming ability. Exposure to M. cerebralis did not affect batch weight for any strain, and critical swimming velocity did not differ between exposed and unexposed families. Third, although exposure did not necessarily affect growth or swimming ability, individuals that exhibited clinical deformities did show reduced growth and swimming performance; fish with clinical deformities were significantly smaller and had lower critical swimming velocities than exposed fish without clinical deformities. Research and management have focused on GR ?? CRR hybrid strains; however, given the performance of the GR strain in our study, it should not be discounted as a potential broodstock. Additional field trials comparing the GR and F1 strains should be conducted before wholesale adoption of the GR strain to reestablish rainbow trout populations in Colorado. ?? American Fisheries Society 2011.