Background: Coaches in elite swimming carefully design the training programs of their swimmers and are keen on achieving strict adherence to those programs by their athletes. At present, coaches usually monitor the compliance of their swimmers to the training program with a[...] Read more.
: Coaches in elite swimming carefully design the training programs of their swimmers and are keen on achieving strict adherence to those programs by their athletes. At present, coaches usually monitor the compliance of their swimmers to the training program with a stopwatch. However, this measurement clearly limits the monitoring possibilities and is subject to human error. Therefore, the present study was designed to examine the reliability and practical usefulness of tri-axial accelerometers for monitoring lap time, stroke count and stroke rate in swimming. Methods
: In the first part of the study, a 1200 m warm-up swimming routine was measured in 13 elite swimmers using tri-axial accelerometers and synchronized video recordings. Reliability was determined using the typical error of measurement (TEM) as well as a Bland-Altman analysis. In the second part, training compliance both within and between carefully prescribed training sessions was assessed in four swimmers in order to determine the practical usefulness of the adopted accelerometric approach. In these sessions, targets were set for lap time and stroke count by the coach. Results
: The results indicated high reliability for lap time (TEM = 0.26 s, bias = 0.74 [0.56 0.91] with limits of agreement (LoA) from −1.20 [−1.50 −0.90] to 2.70 [2.40 3.00]), stroke count (TEM 0.73 strokes, bias = 0.46 [0.32 0.60] with LoA from −1.70 [−1.94 −1.46] to 2.60 [2.36 2.84]) and stroke rate (TEM 0.72 str∙min−1
, bias = −0.13 [−0.20 −0.06] with LoA from −2.20 [−2.32 −2.08] to 1.90 [1.78 2.02]), while the results for the monitoring of training compliance demonstrated the practical usefulness of our approach in daily swimming training. Conclusions
: The daily training of elite swimmers can be accurately and reliably monitored using tri-axial accelerometers. They provide the coach with more useful information to guide and control the training process than hand-clocked times.