Douda, H., Toubekis, A., Georgiou, C., & Gourgoulis, V., & Tokmakidis, S. (2010). Predictors of performance in pre-pubertal and pubertal male and female swimmers. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 1619, 2010.

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This study identified the anthropometric characteristics, body composition, and strength factors that might be predictors of performance of 50 m front-crawl swimming in pre-pubertal and pubertal male and female swimmers. Swimmers were divided into two groups, pre-pubertal (N = 30) aged ~10.5 years, and pubertal (N = 42) aged ~13.7 years. Ss underwent a battery of anthropometric, body composition, and muscle strength measurements. The Principal Components Analysis extracted three components, Component-1: Anthropometric- Tethered Swimming Force, Component-2: Body Composition, and Component-3: Body Dimension. These components were then used in a simultaneous multiple regression procedure to determine which components best explained the variance in swimming performances.

Component-1 explained 65.1% of the total variance, Component-2 14.6% and Component-3 8.2% respectively. In the total sample, the anthropometric factors and tethered swimming force were significantly correlated with performance (r = -0.71). When the multiple regression models were applied to the pre-pubertal swimmers, 90.9% of the variation was explained by the average tethered swimming force (83.7%) and arm circumference (7.2%) while in pubertal swimmers 70.4% of the variation was explained only by the average tethered swimming force.

Implication. Of all the anthropometric, body composition, and strength factors, tethered swimming force explained the greatest amount of variance in 50 m swimming performances. The amount diminished from pre-pubertal to pubertal swimmers. The lack of association between the structural factors of swimmers with their 50 m performances, and the diminishing relationship attributable to tethered swimming strength, indicates that other factors influence sprint performance in swimmers with increasing age.

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