Purpose: Although pacing is considered crucial for success in individual swimming events, there is a lack of research examining pacing in relays. The authors investigated the impact of start lap and pacing strategy on swimming performance and whether these strategies differ between relays and the corresponding individual event. Methods: Race data for 716 relay (4 × 200-m freestyle) finals from 14 international competitions between 2010 and 2018 were analyzed retrospectively. Each swimmer’s individual 200-m freestyle season’s best time for the same year was used for comparison. Races were classified as a fast, average, or slow start lap strategy (lap 1) and as an even, negative, or positive pacing strategy (laps 2–4) to give an overall race strategy, for example, average start lap even pacing. Results: A fast start lap strategy was associated with slower 200-m times (range 0.5–0.9 s, P ≤ .04) irrespective of gender, and positive pacing led to slower 200-m (0.4–0.5 s, P ≤ .03) times in females. A fast start lap strategy led to positive pacing in 71% of swimmers. Half of the swimmers changed pacing strategy, with 13% and 7% more female and male swimmers, respectively, displaying positive pacing in relays compared with individual events. In relays, a fast start lap and positive pacing was utilized more frequently by swimmers positioned on second to fourth relay legs (+13%) compared with lead-off leg swimmers (+3%). Conclusion: To maximize performance, swimmers should be more conservative in the first lap and avoid unnecessary alterations in race strategy in relay events.
Katie E. McGibbon, Megan E. Shephard, Mark A. Osborne, Kevin G. Thompson and David B. Pyne
Kirstin S. Morris, Mark A. Osborne, Megan E. Shephard, David G. Jenkins and Tina L. Skinner
The contributions of the limbs to velocity and metabolic parameters in front-crawl swimming at different intensities have not been identified considering both stroke and kick rate. Consequently, velocity, oxygen uptake (V̇O2), and metabolic cost of swimming with the whole body (swim), the upper limbs only (pull), and lower limbs only (kick) were compared with stroke and kick rate controlled.
Twenty elite swimmers completed six 200-m trials: 2 swim, 2 pull, and 2 kick. Swim trials were guided by underwater lights at paces equivalent to 65% ± 3% and 78% ± 3% of participants’ 200-m-freestyle personal-best pace; paces were described as low and moderate, respectively. In the pull and kick trials, swimmers aimed to match the stroke and kick rates, respectively, recorded during the swim trials. V̇O2 was measured continuously, with velocity and metabolic cost calculated for each 200-m effort.
The velocity contribution of the upper limbs (mean ± SD; low 63.9% ± 6.2%, moderate 59.6% ± 4.2%) was greater than that of the lower limbs to a large extent at both intensities (low ES = 4.40, moderate ES = 4.60). The V̇O2 used by the upper limbs differed between the intensities (low 55.5% ± 6.9%, moderate 51.4% ± 4.0%; ES = 0.74). The lower limbs were responsible for a greater percentage of the metabolic cost than the upper limbs at both intensities (low 56.1% ± 9.5%, ES = 1.30; moderate 55.1% ± 6.6%, ES = 1.55).
Implementation of this testing protocol before and after a pull- or kick-training block will enable sport scientists to determine how the velocity contributions and/or metabolic cost of the upper- and lower-limb actions have responded to the training program.
Kellie R. Pritchard-Peschek, David G. Jenkins, Mark A. Osborne and Gary J. Slater
The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of 180 mg of pseudoephedrine (PSE) on cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Six well-trained male cyclists and triathletes (age 33 ± 2 yr, mass 81 ± 8 kg, height 182.0 ± 6.7 cm, VO2max 56.8 ± 6.8 ml ⋅ kg−1 ⋅ min−1; M ± SD) underwent 2 performance trials in which they completed a 25-min variable-intensity (50–90% maximal aerobic power) warm-up, followed by a cycling TT in which they completed a fixed amount of work (7 kJ/kg body mass) in the shortest possible time. Sixty minutes before the start of exercise, they orally ingested 180 mg of PSE or a cornstarch placebo (PLA) in a randomized, crossover, double-blind manner. Venous blood was sampled immediately pre- and postexercise for the analysis of pH plus lactate, glucose, and norepinephrine (NE). PSE improved cycling TT performance by 5.1% (95% CI 0–10%) compared with PLA (28:58.9 ± 4:26.5 and 30:31.7 ± 4:36.7 min, respectively). There was a significant Treatment × Time interaction (p = .04) for NE, with NE increasing during the PSE trial only. Similarly, blood glucose also showed a trend (p = .06) for increased levels postexercise in the PSE trial. The ingestion of 180 mg of PSE 60 min before the onset of high-intensity exercise improved cycling TT performance in well-trained athletes. It is possible that changes in metabolism or an increase in central nervous system stimulation is responsible for the observed ergogenic effect of PSE.
Nicola Furlan, Mark Waldron, Kathleen Shorter, Tim J. Gabbett, John Mitchell, Edward Fitzgerald, Mark A. Osborne and Adrian J. Gray
To investigate temporal variation in running intensity across and within halves and evaluate the agreement between match-analysis indices used to identify fluctuations in running intensity in rugby sevens.
Data from a 15-Hz global positioning system (GPS) were collected from 12 elite rugby sevens players during the IRB World Sevens Series (N = 21 full games). Kinematic (eg, relative distance [RD]) and energetic (eg, metabolic power [MP]) match-analysis indices were determined from velocity–time curves and used to investigate between-halves variations. Mean MP and RD were used to identify peak 2-minute periods of play. Adjacent 2-minute periods (prepeak and postpeak) were compared with peak periods to identify changes in intensity. MP and RD were expressed relative to maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) and speed at V̇O2max, respectively, and compared in their ability to describe the intensity of peak periods and their temporal occurrence.
Small to moderate reductions were present for kinematic (RD; 8.9%) and energetic (MP; 6%) indices between halves. Peak periods (RD = 130 m/min, MP =13 W/kg) were higher (P < .001) than the match average (RD = 94 m/min, MP = 9.5 W/kg) and the prepeak and postpeak periods (P < .001). RD underestimated the intensity of peak periods compared with MP (bias 16%, limits of agreement [LoA] ± 6%). Peak periods identified by RD and MP were temporally dissociated (bias 21 s, LoA ± 212 s).
The findings suggest that running intensity varies between and within halves; however, the index used will influence both the magnitude and the temporal identification of peak periods.