TRAINING BLOOD FACTORS ARE NOT ASSOCIATED WITH EVENTUAL COMPETITION MEASURES
Bonifazi, M., Sardella, F., & Lupo, C. (2000). Preparatory versus main competitions: differences in performances, lactate responses and pre-competition plasma cortisol concentrations in elite male swimmers. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 82, 368-373.
Two groups of elite male swimmers were studied using a similar protocol during the winter training seasons of two consecutive years. In the first season (September 1997-January 1998), male swimmers (N = 8) of the Italian National Team participated and were assessed at various times; after 12 weeks of increased training volume; in a preparatory national competition in a 50-m pool and then, after a further six weeks of specific training, in the Long Course World Championships (the main competition at the end of the 18-week-long 1997-8 winter season). In the second season (September 1998-December 1998), high-level male swimmers (N = 8) were assessed at various times; after eight weeks of increased training volume; in a preparatory short-course national competition; and after a further six weeks of specific training, in the Italian Short Course Championships (the main competition at the end of the 14-week-long winter season). A tapering period lasting 1-3 weeks was observed before the main competition in both seasons. All Ss competed at distances of up to 400 m. Two Ss participated in both studies.
The swimming velocities and post-competition blood lactate concentrations were higher in the main competitions than in the preparatory competitions in both seasons. Pre-competition plasma cortisol concentrations were higher than the initial values at the beginning of the season, reaching maximal values at the preparatory competitions and then decreasing before the main competitions in both seasons. The percentage increase in individual swimming velocity from the preparatory to the main competition was positively correlated with the corresponding increase in post-competition blood lactate in the 1997 World Championship season, and negatively correlated with the corresponding decrease in pre-competition plasma cortisol concentration in the 1998 short-course season competition.
Implication. The relationships of swimming training to eventual important-competition measures of post-competition blood lactate and pre-competition plasma cortisol concentrations were significant in one year of serious training and competitions but were not replicated in another year of observations on different Ss. The differences might be attributable to the different Ss in each study or might reflect a general inconsistent association between the measured variables and training-competition variations. The influence of the taper experience also could have confounded the observations.
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