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We have previously reported that sequential common artery sectioning (SCAS) in mice produces a reproducible pattern of mortality, extensive brain damage and a wide range of measurable neurobehavioral alterations that include motor incoordination and forelimb flexion. The present study describes a comprehensive method to assess motor functional outcome after brain ischemia produced by SCAS using swimming behavior. We found that after the second artery occlusion the time for completion of the swimming task significantly increased and the swimming pattern alterations observed in the ischemic mice showed no evidence of recovery (up to 96 h). We view the swimming performance strategy described here as a sensitive, simple and economic procedure to assess motor performance after brain ischemia.