Savage, M. V., Brown, S. L., Savage, P., & Bannister, E. W. (1981, October). Physiological and performance correlates of training in swimmers. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Sport Sciences, Halifax.

Swimmers on a very successful college team were measured before, during, and after 75 days of serious training. Tests for VO2max, hemoglobin, ferritin, and lactate at rest and post-exercise were conducted.

The following conclusions were reached.

  1. Group training produced different individual profiles of training responses within the group for ostensibly the "same" workouts and overall program.
  2. Physiological and performance criteria reflected the training profile, that is, measures improved as the volume of training increased up to a point. Then towards the end, physiological and performance criteria improved again as the volume of training lessened.
  3. There were phase differences between physiological measures. Some measures peaked and declined before others (e.g., Hb changes crested and declined earlier than those in VO2max during peaking).
  4. Individuals in groups following the same peaking profile demonstrated different concomitant physiological and performance profiles.

Implications. Swimmers have different levels of physiological capacities, different reactivity to training stimuli, and different patterns of physiological response to standard training programs. That individuality guarantees that under a group training formula, quite a number of swimmers will not benefit fully from the training because it is not appropriate for their needs. Individual training programs are essential for maximizing individuals' swimming performances.

This has serious implications for coaching groups, particularly at the higher levels. Unless individual programming can be provided, a considerable number of swimmers are destined to not perform their best despite the intentions of the coaching staff.

Unless representative teams are measured and trained according to their specific requirements, the performance of representative teams will always include disappointments and "unexplained" performances.

Modern coaching requires the greatest amount of individualized training and programming possible.

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