SWIMMING ECONOMY IS INFERIOR IN CHILDREN WHEN COMPARED TO ADULTS
Kjendie, P. L., Stallman, R. K., & Stray-Gundersen, J. (2003). Swimming economy should be normalized to body length. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(5), Supplement abstract 117.
In running, workload is normally related to body mass. A question was asked of swimming. Instead of body mass, in swimming should swimming economy be related to body length? Differences in swimming economy at submaximal speeds were determined in subjects (adults = 13; children = 10) with a wide range of sizes normalized to body length and surface area.
There were no differences in swimming economy between children and adults when scaled for body length. Children have inferior swimming economy when scaled for body surface area. Absolute oxygen uptake is lower in children than in adults at any swimming speed.
Implication. Swimming economy is inferior in children than when compared to adults. A major determinant of swimming economy is body surface area. [Since children have relatively larger body surface areas than adults (that is why they cool quicker), this relationship is not surprising.]
Return to Table of Contents for this issue.