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Gregory Shaw and Iñigo Mujika

Reports detailing the physiques of open-water (OW) swimmers are limited. Data from anthropometric screening around competition provides a unique opportunity to describe the current physical attributes of elite OW swimmers peaking for international competition. Anthropometric screening was undertaken on a group of Australian and French OW swimmers as part of performance monitoring within 2 wk of the 2015 FINA World Championships. Height, mass, and sum of 7 skinfolds were measured using ISAK standardized measurement techniques by 2 trained anthropometrists. Data were collated and compared with previously published data on OW and pool swimmers. French swimmers had lower skinfolds (57.3 ± 6.1 vs 80.5 ± 21.3 mm, P = .0258), were lighter (64.7 ± 10.8 vs 74.6 ± 11.8 kg, P = .013), and had lower lean-mass index (LMI) (34.7 ± 7.3 vs 38.2 ± 8.8, P = .035) than Australian swimmers. Male and female OW swimmers had skinfolds similar to their contemporary OW swimmers but were lower than earlier reports of OW swimmers; however, they were higher than those of pool swimmers. Male and female OW swimmers had 9% and 6% lower LMI, respectively, than pool swimmers. Lower body mass and LMI were correlated with better World Championships finishing positions (R 2 = .46, P = .0151, and R 2 = .45, P = .0177, respectively). These data are a unique report of elite OW swimmers’ physiques around international competition and demonstrate a potential morphological optimization in OW swimmers that warrants further investigation in larger populations.

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Gregory Shaw, Gary Slater and Louise M. Burke

This study examined the influence the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Sport Supplement Program had on supplement practices of elite Australian swimmers, comparing those guided by the Program with others in the same national team. Thirty-nine elite swimmers (13 AIS, 26 Other; 20 female, 19 male; age 21.8 ± 3.3 y) completed a questionnaire investigating supplement use. Ninety-seven percent of swimmers reported taking supplements or sports foods over the preceding 12 months. AIS swimmers reported using more total brands (p = .02) and supplements considered Ergogenic (p = .001) than Other swimmers who used more supplements considered to be lacking scientific support (p = .028). Swimmers rated the risk of a negative outcome from the use of supplements available in Australia (Mdn = 3.0) as less than the risk of supplements from international sources (Mdn = 4.0; p < .001). AIS swimmers were more likely to report dietitians (p < .001) and sports physicians (p = .017) as advisors of their supplement use. Other swimmers more frequently reported fellow athletes as a source of supplement advice (p = .03). AIS swimmers sourced a greater percentage of their supplements from an organized program (94 ± 16%) compared with Other (40 ± 32%; p < .001) who sourced a greater percentage (30 ± 30%) of their dietary supplements from supermarkets. These findings suggest that swimmers influenced by this sport supplement program more frequently use supplements that are recommended by allied health trained individuals, classified as evidence based and provided by the program.

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Gregory Shaw, Gary Slater and Louise M. Burke

Thirty nine elite Australian swimmers (13 AIS, 26 OTHER) completed a standardized questionnaire regarding their supplement use during a pre competition camp. The data were compared with a similar study conducted 11 years earlier (11 AIS, 23 OTHER) and framed around the classification system of the Sport Supplement Program of the Australian Institute of Sport. The prevalence of supplement use remained constant over time (2009: 97%, 1998: 100%). However, the current swimmers used a greater number of dietary supplements (9.2 ± 3.7 and 5.9 ± 2.9; p = .001), accounted for by an increase in the reported use of supplements with a greater evidence base (Sports Foods, Ergogenics, and Group B supplements). In contrast, fewer supplements considered less reputable (Group C and D) were reported by the 2009 cohort (0.7 ± 1.0 and 1.6 ± 1.3; p = .003). AIS swimmers reported a greater use of Ergogenics (4.3 ± 1.8 and 3.1 ± 1.7; p = .002), and less use of Group C and D supplements overall (0.8 ± 1.2 and 1.3 ± 1.2; p = .012), which was explained primarily by a smaller number of these supplements reported by the 2009 group (1998 AIS: 1.5 ± 1.4, 2009 AIS: 0.2 ± 0.6; p = .004). Although the prevalence of supplement use has not changed over time, there has been a significant increase in the number and type of products they are using. The potential that these changes can be attributed to a Sports Supplement Program merit investigation.

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Gregory Shaw, Kevin T. Boyd, Louise M. Burke and Anu Koivisto

Swimming is a sport that requires considerable training commitment to reach individual performance goals. Nutrition requirements are specific to the macrocycle, microcycle, and individual session. Swimmers should ensure suitable energy availability to support training while maintaining long term health. Carbohydrate intake, both over the day and in relation to a workout, should be manipulated (3–10g/kg of body mass/day) according to the fuel demands of training and the varying importance of undertaking these sessions with high carbohydrate availability. Swimmers should aim to consume 0.3g of high-biological-value protein per kilogram of body mass immediately after key sessions and at regular intervals throughout the day to promote tissue adaptation. A mixed diet consisting of a variety of nutrient-dense food choices should be sufficient to meet the micronutrient requirements of most swimmers. Specific dietary supplements may prove beneficial to swimmers in unique situations, but should be tried only with the support of trained professionals. All swimmers, particularly adolescent and youth swimmers, are encouraged to focus on a well-planned diet to maximize training performance, which ensures sufficient energy availability especially during periods of growth and development. Swimmers are encouraged to avoid rapid weight fluctuations; rather, optimal body composition should be achieved over longer periods by modest dietary modifications that improve their food choices. During periods of reduced energy expenditure (taper, injury, off season) swimmers are encouraged to match energy intake to requirement. Swimmers undertaking demanding competition programs should ensure suitable recovery practices are used to maintain adequate glycogen stores over the entirety of the competition period.

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Rebekah D. Alcock, Gregory C. Shaw and Louise M. Burke

Intake of dietary sources of collagen may support the synthesis of collagen in varying tissues, with the availability of key amino acids being a likely contributor to its effectiveness. This study analyzed commonly consumed preparations of bone broth (BB) to assess the amount and consistency of its amino acid content. Commercial and laboratory-prepared samples, made with standardized and variable (nonstandardized) protocols, were analyzed for key amino acids (glycine, lysine, proline, leucine, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine). The main finding of this study was that amino acid concentrations in BB made to a standardized recipe were significantly lower for hydroxyproline, glycine, and proline (p = .003) and hydroxylysine, leucine, and lysine (p = .004) than those provided by a potentially therapeutic dose (20 g) of reference collagen supplements (p > .05). There was a large variability in the amino acid content of BB made to nonstandardized recipes, with the highest levels of all amino acids found within the café-prepared varieties. For standardized preparations, commercial BBs were lower in all amino acids than the self-prepared varieties. There were no differences (p > .05) in the amino acid content of different batches of BB when prepared according to a standardized recipe. If the intake of collagen precursors is proven to support the synthesis of new collagen in vivo, it is unlikely that BB can provide a consistently reliable source of key amino acids. Research on the provision of key amino acids from dietary sources should continue to focus on the standard sources currently being researched.

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Gregory Shaw, Anu Koivisto, David Gerrard and Louise M. Burke

Open-water swimming (OWS) is a rapidly developing discipline. Events of 5–25 km are featured at FINA World Championships, and the international circuit includes races of 5–88 km. The Olympic OWS event, introduced in 2008, is contested over 10 km. Differing venues present changing environmental conditions, including water and ambient temperatures, humidity, solar radiation, and unpredictable tides. Furthermore, the duration of most OWS events (1–6 hr) creates unique physiological challenges to thermoregulation, hydration status, and muscle fuel stores. Current nutrition recommendations for open-water training and competition are either an extension of recommendations from pool swimming or are extrapolated from other athletic populations with similar physiological requirements. Competition nutrition should focus on optimizing prerace hydration and glycogen stores. Although swimmers should rely on self-supplied fuel and fluid sources for shorter events, for races of 10 km or greater, fluid and fuel replacement can occur from feeding pontoons when tactically appropriate. Over the longer races, feeding pontoons should be used to achieve desirable targets of up to 90 g/hr of carbohydrates from multitransportable sources. Exposure to variable water and ambient temperatures will play a significant role in determining race nutrition strategies. For example, in extreme environments, thermoregulation may be assisted by manipulating the temperature of the ingested fluids. Swimmers are encouraged to work with nutrition experts to develop effective and efficient strategies that enhance performance through appropriate in-competition nutrition.

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Gregory Roe, Joshua Darrall-Jones, Christopher Black, William Shaw, Kevin Till and Ben Jones


The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of timing gates and 10-Hz global positioning systems (GPS) units (Catapult Optimeye S5) against a criterion measure (50-Hz radar gun) for assessing maximum sprint velocity (Vmax).


Nine male professional rugby union players performed 3 maximal 40-m sprints with 3 min rest between efforts with Vmax assessed simultaneously via timing gates, 10-Hz GPSOpen (Openfield software), GPSSprint (Sprint software), and radar gun. Eight players wore 3 GPS units, while 1 wore a single unit during each sprint.


When compared with the radar gun, mean biases for GPSOpen, GPSSprint, and timing gates were trivial, small, and small, respectively. The typical error of the estimate (TEE) was small for timing gate and GPSOpen while moderate for GPSSprint. Correlations with radar gun were nearly perfect for all measures. Mean bias, TEE, and correlations between GPS units were trivial, small, and nearly perfect, respectively, while a small TEE existed when GPSOpenfield was compared with GPSSprint.


Based on these findings, both 10-Hz GPS and timing gates provide valid measures of 40-m Vmax assessment compared with a radar gun. However, as error did exist between measures, the same testing protocol should be used when assessing 40-m Vmax over time. Furthermore, in light of the above results, it is recommended that when assessing changes in GPS-derived Vmax over time, practitioners should use the same unit for each player and perform the analysis with the same software, preferably Catapult Openfield.

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Rebekah D. Alcock, Gregory C. Shaw, Nicolin Tee, Marijke Welvaert and Louise M. Burke

The urinary excretion of hydroxyproline (Hyp), abundant in collagen protein, may serve as a biomarker of habitual collagen intake, assisting with investigations of current interest in the role of dietary collagen intake in supporting the synthesis of collagenous body tissues. This study investigated the time course of urinary Hyp excretion in “free-living,” healthy, active males following the ingestion of a standardized bolus (20 g) of collagenous (gelatin and a hydrolyzed collagen powder) and dairy (calcium caseinate and hydrolyzed casein) proteins. The excretion of Hyp was assessed over a 24-hr period, separated into three collection periods: 0–6, 6–12, and 12–24 hr. Hyp was elevated for 0–6 hr after the consumption of collagen-containing supplements (gelatin 31.3 ± 8.8 mmol/mol and hydrolyzed collagen 33.7 ± 22.0 mmol/mol vs. baseline: gelatin 2.4 ± 1.7 mmol/mol and hydrolyzed collagen 2.8 ± 1.5 mmol/mol; p < .05), but not for the dairy protein supplements (calcium caseinate 3.4 ± 1.7 mmol/mol and hydrolyzed casein 4.0 ± 3.7 mmol/mol; p > .05). Therefore, urinary Hyp reflects an acute intake of collagenous protein, but is not suitable as a biomarker for quantifying habitual collagen intake, provided through regular dietary practices in “free-living,” healthy, active males.

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Ben Desbrow, Joanna McCormack, Louise M. Burke, Gregory R. Cox, Kieran Fallon, Matthew Hislop, Ruth Logan, Nello Marino, Susan M. Sawyer, Greg Shaw, Anita Star, Helen Vidgen and Michael Leveritt

It is the position of Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) that adolescent athletes have unique nutritional requirements as a consequence of undertaking daily training and competition in addition to the demands of growth and development. As such, SDA established an expert multidisciplinary panel to undertake an independent review of the relevant scientific evidence and consulted with its professional members to develop sports nutrition recommendations for active and competitive adolescent athletes. The position of SDA is that dietary education and recommendations for these adolescent athletes should reinforce eating for long term health. More specifically, the adolescent athlete should be encouraged to moderate eating patterns to reflect daily exercise demands and provide a regular spread of high quality carbohydrate and protein sources over the day, especially in the period immediately after training. SDA recommends that consideration also be given to the dietary calcium, Vitamin D and iron intake of adolescent athletes due to the elevated risk of deficiency of these nutrients. To maintain optimal hydration, adolescent athletes should have access to fluids that are clean, cool and supplied in sufficient quantities before, during and after participation in sport. Finally, it is the position of SDA that nutrient needs should be met by core foods rather than supplements, as the recommendation of dietary supplements to developing athletes over-emphasizes their ability to manipulate performance in comparison with other training and dietary strategies.

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Alan J. McCubbin, Bethanie A. Allanson, Joanne N. Caldwell Odgers, Michelle M. Cort, Ricardo J.S. Costa, Gregory R. Cox, Siobhan T. Crawshay, Ben Desbrow, Eliza G. Freney, Stephanie K. Gaskell, David Hughes, Chris Irwin, Ollie Jay, Benita J. Lalor, Megan L.R. Ross, Gregory Shaw, Julien D. Périard and Louise M. Burke

It is the position of Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) that exercise in hot and/or humid environments, or with significant clothing and/or equipment that prevents body heat loss (i.e., exertional heat stress), provides significant challenges to an athlete’s nutritional status, health, and performance. Exertional heat stress, especially when prolonged, can perturb thermoregulatory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. Heat acclimation or acclimatization provides beneficial adaptations and should be undertaken where possible. Athletes should aim to begin exercise euhydrated. Furthermore, preexercise hyperhydration may be desirable in some scenarios and can be achieved through acute sodium or glycerol loading protocols. The assessment of fluid balance during exercise, together with gastrointestinal tolerance to fluid intake, and the appropriateness of thirst responses provide valuable information to inform fluid replacement strategies that should be integrated with event fuel requirements. Such strategies should also consider fluid availability and opportunities to drink, to prevent significant under- or overconsumption during exercise. Postexercise beverage choices can be influenced by the required timeframe for return to euhydration and co-ingestion of meals and snacks. Ingested beverage temperature can influence core temperature, with cold/icy beverages of potential use before and during exertional heat stress, while use of menthol can alter thermal sensation. Practical challenges in supporting athletes in teams and traveling for competition require careful planning. Finally, specific athletic population groups have unique nutritional needs in the context of exertional heat stress (i.e., youth, endurance/ultra-endurance athletes, and para-sport athletes), and specific adjustments to nutrition strategies should be made for these population groups.