A group of serious age-group swimmers was compared to a group of adolescents of similar age distributions who did not participate in any regular physical activity.
Non-athletes ate more sweets and candy as snacks. This habit could be associated with the higher percentage of body fat in the older age-group in the study. [Residual and relatively permanent increased body fat takes several years to develop.]
Swimmers had better developed muscles and could generate almost twice as much power in swim-bench tests.
The cardiovascular system of swimmers was far superior to and supported a higher fitness level than that of the non-athletes. As age increased, the swimmers' fitness levels rose even higher. The long term health effects of this grounding in fitness can be hypothesized as being beneficial. While swimmers are fit, they are unlikely to suffer any cardiovascular related diseases.
Swimming was shown to enhance physical, cardiovascular, mental, and social skills. Studied swimmers were fitter, taller, leaner, and physically more sound than non-athletes.
Implication. The results of this study can be used to verify the health, fitness, and character benefits of competitive swimming when compared to participating in no formal sporting activity. It is a rebuff to individuals who claim or propose negative effects of and connotations about competitive swimming.
Return to Table of Contents for ICAR 1991-92 Report.