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Shaun D’Auria and Tim Gabbett

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological demands of field players in international women’s water polo match play.

Methods:

Video footage was collected at the 13th FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup in Perth in 2002. Video recordings were analyzed using a simple hand-based notation system to record predefined activity durations, frequencies, and corresponding subjective intensities.

Results:

Average exercise bout duration was 7.4 ± 2.5 s and exercise to rest ratio within play 1:1.6 ± 0.6. The average pattern of exercise was represented by 64.0 ± 15.3% swimming, 13.1 ± 9.2% contested swimming, 14.0 ± 11.6% wrestling, and 8.9 ± 7.1% holding position. Significant differences existed between outside and center players for percentage time swimming (67.5 ± 14.0% vs 60.2 ± 13.3%, P = .002) and wrestling (9.9 ± 9.3% vs 18.4 ± 11.1%, P = .000). A significant difference was found in the number (P = .017) and duration (P = .010) of high-intensity activity (HIA) bouts performed each quarter for outside (1.8 ± 2.2 bouts, 7.0 ± 3.4 s) and center players (1.2 ± 1.5 bouts, 5.2 ± 3.4 s). Positional differences in HIA were the result of a significant difference (P = .000) in the number of maximal/near maximal swims (outside 1.2 ± 1.5 and center 0.5 ± 0.9 per quarter).

Conclusions:

This study characterizes international women’s water polo match play as a highly intermittent activity. Swimming, particularly high intensity, has greater significance to outside players, whereas wrestling has greater significance to center players.

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Jamie Stanley, Shaun D’Auria and Martin Buchheit

The authors examined whether changes in heart-rate (HR) variability (HRV) could consistently track adaptation to training and race performance during a 32-wk competitive season. An elite male long-course triathlete recorded resting HR (RHR) each morning, and vagal-related indices of HRV (natural logarithm of the square root of mean squared differences of successive R−R intervals [ln rMSSD] and the ratio of ln rMSSD to R−R interval length [ln rMSSD:RR]) were assessed. Daily training load was quantified using a power meter and wrist-top GPS device. Trends in HRV indices and training load were examined by calculating standardized differences (ES). The following trends in week-to-week changes were consistently observed: (1) When the triathlete was coping with a training block, RHR decreased (ES −0.38 [90% confidence limits −0.05;−0.72]) and ln rMSSD increased (+0.36 [0.71;0.00]). (2) When the triathlete was not coping, RHR increased (+0.65 [1.29;0.00]) and ln rMSSD decreased (−0.60 [0.00;−1.20]). (3) Optimal competition performance was associated with moderate decreases in ln rMSSD (−0.86 [−0.76;−0.95]) and ln rMSSD:RR (−0.90 [−0.60;−1.20]) in the week before competition. (4) Suboptimal competition performance was associated with small decreases in ln rMSSD (−0.25 [−0.76;−0.95]) and trivial changes in ln rMSSD:RR (−0.04 [0.50;−0.57]) in the week before competition. To conclude, in this triathlete, a decrease in RHR concurrent with increased ln rMSSD compared with the previous week consistently appears indicative of positive training adaptation during a training block. A simultaneous reduction in ln rMSSD and ln rMSSD:RR during the final week preceding competition appears consistently indicative of optimal performance.

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Naroa Etxebarria, Shaun D’Auria, Judith M. Anson, David B. Pyne and Richard A. Ferguson

Purpose:

The patterns of power output in the ~1-h cycle section of Olympic-distance triathlon races are not well documented. Here the authors establish a typical cycling-race profile derived from several International Triathlon Union elite-level draftinglegal triathlon races.

Methods:

The authors collated 12 different race power profiles from elite male triathletes (N = 5, age 25 ± 5 y, body mass 65.5 ± 5.6 kg; mean ± SD) during 7 international races. Power output was recorded using SRM cranks and analyzed with proprietary software.

Results:

The mean power output was 252 ± 33 W, or 3.9 ± 0.5 W/kg in relative terms, with a coefficient of variation of 71% ± 13%. Normalized power (power output an athlete could sustain if intensity were maintained constant without any variability) for the entire cycle section was 291 ± 29 W, or 40 ± 13 W higher than the actual mean power output. There were 34 ± 14 peaks of power output above 600 W and ~18% time spent at >100% of maximal aerobic power.

Conclusion:

Cycling during Olympic-distance triathlon, characterized by frequent and large power variations including repeat supramaximal efforts, equates to a higher workload than cycling at constant power.