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Context:

Body-composition assessments of high-performance athletes are very important for identifying physical performance potential. Although the relationship between the kinanthropometric characteristics and performance abilities of Olympic swimmers is extremely important, this subject is not completely understood for Paralympic swimmers.

Objective:

To investigate the relationship between body composition and sport performance in Brazilian Paralympic swimmers 6 mo after training.

Design:

Experimental pre/posttest design.

Setting:

Research laboratory and field evaluations of swimming were conducted to verify the 50-m freestyle time of each athlete.

Participants:

17 Brazilian Paralympic swim team athletes (12 men, 5 women).

Main Outcome Measures:

Body-composition assessments were performed using a BOD POD, and swimming performance was assessed using the 50-m freestyle, which was performed twice: before and after 6 mo of training.

Results:

Increased lean mass and significantly reduced relative fat mass and swimming time (P < .05) were observed 6 mo after training. Furthermore, a positive correlation between body-fat percentage and performance (r = .66, P < .05) was observed, but there was no significant correlation between body density and performance (r = –.14, P > .05).

Conclusions:

After a 6-mo training period, Paralympic swimmers presented reduced fat mass and increased lean body mass associated with performance, as measured by 50-m freestyle time. These data suggest that reduced fat-mass percentage was significantly correlated with improved swimming performance in Paralympic athletes.

M.V. Medeiros is with the Dept of Biosciences, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Santos, Brazil. S. Alves, A. Lemos, and Tufik are with the Dept of Psychobiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. A. Schwingel, da Silva, Vital, S. Vieira, Barreto, and A. Rocha are with the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, Brasilia, Brazil. T. de Mello is with the School of Physical Education, Physiotherapy, and Occupational Therapy, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Address author correspondence to Marco Túlio de Mello at tmello@demello.net.br.