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David B. Pyne, Megan E. Anderson and Will G. Hopkins

Purpose:

To characterize within-subject changes in anthropometric characteristics of elite swimmers within and between seasons.

Methods:

The subjects were 77 elite swimmers (31 females, 46 males, age 15 to 30 years) monitored over 0.4 to 9.2 years. One anthropometrist recorded their body mass (M) and sum of 7 skin-fold thicknesses (S) on 2042 occasions over 14 years from phase to phase within a season and over consecutive seasons. We estimated change in lean mass using a newly derived index (LMI) that tracked changes in M controlled for changes in S.

Results:

The LMI is M/Sx, where x = 0.16 ± 0.04 for females and 0.15 ± 0.05 for males (mean ± SD). The LMI of males increased 1.1% (95% confidence limits ± 0.2%) between preseason and taper phases, almost twice as much as that of females (0.6% ± 0.3%). During the same period, M and S fell by ~1% and ~11%, respectively. From season to season LMI increased by 0.9% (0.8% to 1.0%) for males and 0.5% (0.3% to 0.7%) for females. All these within-subject effects on LMI were well defined (±~0.3%). The typical variation (SD) of an individual’s LMI was 1.2% for assessments within a season and 1.9% between seasons, with a short-term technical error of measurement of ~0.5%.

Conclusion:

Coaches and conditioners should typically expect a twofold greater increase in lean mass in male swimmers within and between seasons than in females. An LMI of the form M/Sx should be useful for monitoring individual swimmers and athletes in other sports in which body composition affects performance.

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Megan E. Anderson, Clinton R. Bruce, Steve F. Fraser, Nigel K. Stepto, Rudi Klein, William G. Hopkins and John A. Hawley

Eight competitive oarswomen (age, 22 ± 3 years; mass, 64.4 ± 3.8 kg) performed three simulated 2,000-m time trials on a rowing ergometer. The trials, which were preceded by a 24-hour dietary and training control and 72 hours of caffeine abstinence, were condueted 1 hour after ingesting caffeine (6 or 9 mg kg ’ body mass) or placebo. Plasma free fatty acid concentrations before exercise were higher with caffeine than placebo (0.67 ± 0.34 vs. 0.72 ± 0.36 vs. 0.30±0.10 mM for 6 and 9 mg · kg−1; caffeine and placebo, respectively; p <.05). Performance lime improved 0.7% (95% confidence interval [Cf] 0 to 1.5%) with 6 mg kg−1 caffeine and 1.3$ (95% CI 0.5 to 2.0%) with 9 mg · kg−1 caffeine. The first 500 m of the 2,000 m was faster with the higher caffeine dose compared with placebo or the lower dose (1.53 ± 0.52 vs. 1.55 ± 0.62 and 1.56 ± 0.43 min; p = .02). We concluded that caffeine produces a worthwhile enhancement of performance in a controlled laboratory setting, primarily by improving the first 500 m of a 2,000-m row.