Cornett, A. C., White, J. C., & Stager, J. M. (2009). Ability of competitive swimmers to modify start depth is not dependent upon age. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington. Presentation number 2779.

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This study examined the ability of competitive swimmers of different ages to modify on request the maximum head depth achieved during a competitive swimming start. Swimmers aged 10 years and under (N = 14), 11-12 years (N = 10), and 13-14 years (N = 18) were filmed underwater during execution of two competitive starts. Swimmers completed one start and a subsequent freestyle sprint without instruction. Prior to the second start Ss were asked to make the start as shallow as possible while still completing the sprint. For each start, the maximum depth of the center of the head was determined.

There was no interaction between instruction and age group, but significant main effects for both instruction and age group. When instructed to dive shallowly, the maximum head depth of all Ss combined decreased significantly. The maximum head depth was significantly greater for the 13-14 year olds than for 10 years and under Ss, but neither group was different to the 11-12 year old Ss.

Implication. Swimmers 14 years of age and younger possess the ability to modify competitive start depth on command.

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