TECHNIQUE IS THE MAJOR DETERMINANT OF 100 m PERFORMANCES IN ADOLESCENT MALES

Lätt, E., Jürimäe, J., Mäestu, J., Purge, P., Rämson, R., Keskinen, K. L., Haljaste, K., & Jürimäe, T. (2010). Biomechanics and bioenergetics of 100-m front crawl swimming in young male swimmers. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 16–19, 2010.

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This study analyzed possible relationships between swimming performance and anthropometrical, physiological, and biomechanical parameters in male adolescent swimmers (N = 25; ~15.2 years). Ss performed a 100 m maximal front crawl swim in the 25 m pool. Oxygen uptake (VO2), swimming speed, stroke rate, stroke length, and stroke index were assessed. Blood samples for lactate were taken at the 3rd and 5th minute of recovery and energy cost was calculated.

The average 100 m performance time was significantly related to height, body mass, and arm span values; to swimming speed, stroke length, stroke rate, and stroke index values; and to oxygen uptake (VO2), lactate, and energy cost. Biomechanical factors accounted for 79% of the 100 m performance, while somatic features accounted for 49% and physiological factors 32%.

Implication. In these adolescent male swimmers, biomechanical factors embracing propelling effectiveness were the major variables that accounted for 100 m swimming performances. The swimming index was the best single predictive factor. The most important finding was that biomechanical parameters characterized best the 100m swimming performance, while the stroke index was the best predictor of sprint performance in adolescent male swimmers. Training programs should emphasize technique development more than physiological training. To ignore the instruction of technique that increases effective stroke length, stroking rate, and incorporating them into fast swimming would result in less than optimal swimming velocities over 100 m.

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