THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH 100 m SWIMMING PERFORMANCE ARE OTHER SWIMMING PERFORMANCES

Aspenes, S. T., & Kjendlie, P.-L. (2010). 100 m freestyle: Factors affecting performance. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 1619, 2010.

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This study investigated performance determining factors in 100 m freestyle. Norwegian national-level swimmers (M = 11; F = 13), aged 15 to 24 were analyzed for sprint velocities, time trials, oxygen uptake, and in-water force measurements. After controlling for normality, distributions were calculated as mean standard deviation, linear regressions, and p-values with 100 m performance as the dependent variable.

Mean 100 m time was 65.5 3.7 seconds for females and 58.7 2.1 seconds for males. In order of significance for females, maximal 50 m freestyle performance, maximal velocity in 25 m sprint, maximal 400 m freestyle performance, maximal swimming force, velocity at VO2peak, and VO2peak were associated with 100 m performance. In males, maximal 50 m and 400 m freestyle performance, maximal swimming force, maximal velocity in 25 m sprint, supine reaching height, weight, and height were associated with 100 m performance. Factors that did not associate with 100 m performance in either gender were age, maximal land strength, swimming economy, and stroke length and stroke rate during maximal swimming.

Implication. The strongest associated factors of 100 m swimming performance were performance in other swimming events, and surprisingly, 400m freestyle was the second strongest associate. Other studies have shown that performance to a high degree relies on favorable anthropometric features, but in this small sample this was only valid for males. In contrast to established beliefs, there was no association between stroke length or stroke rate and performance in any gender. [Land strength was not associated with 100 m performance supporting further the scientific principle of Specificity of Training. The common and often scheduled practice of participating in gym work motivated by the belief that it is beneficial for swimming is ill-informed and a futile activity.]

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