Front Crawl Sprint Performance: A Cluster Analysis of Biomechanics, Energetics, Coordinative, and Anthropometric Determinants in Young Swimmers

in Motor Control
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the determinants of front crawl sprint performance of young swimmers using a cluster analysis. 103 swimmers, aged 11- to 13-years old, performed 25-m front crawl swimming at 50-m pace, recorded by two underwater cameras. Swimmers analysis included biomechanics, energetics, coordinative, and anthropometric characteristics. The organization of subjects in meaningful clusters, originated three groups (1.52 ± 0.16, 1.47 ± 0.17 and 1.40 ± 0.15 m/s, for Clusters 1, 2 and 3, respectively) with differences in velocity between Cluster 1 and 2 compared with Cluster 3 (p = .003). Anthropometric variables were the most determinants for clusters solution. Stroke length and stroke index were also considered relevant. In addition, differences between Cluster 1 and the others were also found for critical velocity, stroke rate and intracycle velocity variation (p < .05). It can be concluded that anthropometrics, technique and energetics (swimming efficiency) are determinant domains to young swimmers sprint performance.

Figueiredo is with the School of Physical Education, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Silva, Sampaio, Vilas-Boas, and Fernandes are with the Centre of Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.

Address author correspondence to Pedro Figueiredo at pedfig@me.com.