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  • Author: Jorge E. Morais x
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Jorge E. Morais, António J. Silva, Daniel A. Marinho, Vítor P. Lopes and Tiago M. Barbosa

Purpose:

To develop a performance predictor model based on swimmers’ biomechanical profile, relate the partial contribution of the main predictors with the training program, and analyze the time effect, sex effect, and time × sex interaction.

Methods:

91 swimmers (44 boys, 12.04 ± 0.81 y; 47 girls, 11.22 ± 0.98 y) evaluated during a 3-y period. The decimal age and anthropometric, kinematic, and efficiency features were collected 10 different times over 3 seasons (ie, longitudinal research). Hierarchical linear modeling was the procedure used to estimate the performance predictors.

Results:

Performance improved between season 1 early and season 3 late for both sexes (boys 26.9% [20.88;32.96], girls 16.1% [10.34;22.54]). Decimal age (estimate [EST] –2.05, P < .001), arm span (EST –0.59, P < .001), stroke length (EST 3.82; P = .002), and propelling efficiency (EST –0.17, P = .001) were entered in the final model.

Conclusion:

Over 3 consecutive seasons young swimmers’ performance improved. Performance is a multifactorial phenomenon where anthropometrics, kinematics, and efficiency were the main determinants. The change of these factors over time was coupled with the training plans of this talent identification and development program.

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Jorge E. Morais, António J. Silva, Daniel A. Marinho, Ludovic Seifert and Tiago M. Barbosa

Purpose:

To apply a new method to identify, classify, and follow up young swimmers based on their performance and its determinant factors over a season and analyze the swimmers’ stability over a competitive season with that method.

Methods:

Fifteen boys and 18 girls (11.8 ± 0.7 y) part of a national talent-identification scheme were evaluated at 3 different moments of a competitive season. Performance (ie, official 100-m freestyle race time), arm span, chest perimeter, stroke length, swimming velocity, speed fluctuation, coefficient of active drag, propelling efficiency, and stroke index were selected as variables. Hierarchical and k-means cluster analysis were computed.

Results:

Data suggested a 3-cluster solution, splitting the swimmers according to their performance in all 3 moments. Cluster 1 was related to better performances (talented swimmers), cluster 2 to poor performances (nonproficient swimmers), and cluster 3 to average performance (proficient swimmers) in all moments. Stepwise discriminant analysis revealed that 100%, 94%, and 85% of original groups were correctly classified for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd evaluation moments, respectively (0.11 ≤ Λ ≤ 0.80; 5.64 ≤ χ2 ≤ 63.40; 0.001 < P ≤ .68). Membership of clusters was moderately stable over the season (stability range 46.1–75% for the 2 clusters with most subjects).

Conclusion:

Cluster stability is a feasible, comprehensive, and informative method to gain insight into changes in performance and its determinant factors in young swimmers. Talented swimmers were characterized by anthropometrics and kinematic features.

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Jorge E. Morais, Sérgio Jesus, Vasco Lopes, Nuno Garrido, António Silva, Daniel Marinho and Tiago M. Barbosa

The aim of this study was to develop a structural equation model (i.e., a confirmatory technique that analyzes relationships among observed variables) for young swimmer performance based on selected kinematic, anthropometric and hydrodynamic variables. A total of 114 subjects (73 boys and 41 girls of mean age of 12.31 ± 1.09 years; 47.91 ± 10.81 kg body mass; 156.57 ± 10.90 cm height and Tanner stages 1–2) were evaluated. The variables assessed were the: (i) 100 [m] freestyle performance; (ii) stroke index; (iii) speed fluctuation; (iv) stroke distance; (v) active drag; (vi) arm span and; (vii) hand surface area. All paths were significant (p < .05). However, in deleting the path between the hand surface area and the stroke index, the model goodness-of-fit significantly improved. Swimming performance in young swimmers appeared to be dependent on swimming efficiency (i.e., stroke index), which is determined by the remaining variables assessed, except for the hand surface area. Therefore, young swimmer coaches and practitioners should design training programs with a focus on technical training enhancement (i.e., improving swimming efficiency).

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Tiago M. Barbosa, Wan Xiu Goh, Jorge E. Morais and Mário J. Costa

The aim was to examine the variation of linear and nonlinear proprieties of the behavior in participants with different levels of swimming expertise among the four swim strokes. Seventy-five swimmers were split into three groups (highly qualified experts, experts and nonexperts) and performed a maximal 25m trial for each of the four competitive swim strokes. A speed-meter cable was attached to the swimmer’s hip to measure hip speed; from which speed fluctuation (dv), approximate entropy (ApEn) and fractal dimension (D) variables were derived. Although simple main effects of expertise and swim stroke were obtained for dv and D, no significant interaction of expertise and stroke were found except in ApEn. The ApEn and D were prone to decrease with increasing expertise. As a conclusion, swimming does exhibit nonlinear properties but its magnitude differs according to the swim stroke and level of expertise of the performer.

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Tiago M. Barbosa, Jorge E. Morais, Mário J. Costa, José Goncalves, Daniel A. Marinho and António J. Silva

The aim of this article has been to classify swimmers based on kinematics, hydrodynamics, and anthropometrics. Sixty-seven young swimmers made a maximal 25 m front-crawl to measure with a speedometer the swimming velocity (v), speed-fluctuation (dv) and dv normalized to v (dv/v). Another two 25 m bouts with and without carrying a perturbation device were made to estimate active drag coefficient (CD a). Trunk transverse surface area (S) was measured with photogrammetric technique on land and in the hydrodynamic position. Cluster 1 was related to swimmers with a high speed fluctuation (ie, dv and dv/v), cluster 2 with anthropometrics (ie, S) and cluster 3 with a high hydrodynamic profile (ie, CD a). The variable that seems to discriminate better the clusters was the dv/v (F = 53.680; P < .001), followed by the dv (F = 28.506; P < .001), CD a (F = 21.025; P < .001), S (F = 6.297; P < .01) and v (F = 5.375; P = .01). Stepwise discriminant analysis extracted 2 functions: Function 1 was mainly defined by dv/v and S (74.3% of variance), whereas function 2 was mainly defined by CD a (25.7% of variance). It can be concluded that kinematics, hydrodynamics and anthropometrics are determinant domains in which to classify and characterize young swimmers’ profiles.