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How Confident Can We Be in Modelling Female Swimming Performance in Adolescence?

University of Exeter, Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, St Luke’s Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter EX1 2LU, UK
Victoria University, Institute of Sport, Exercise & Active Living, Melbourne 3011, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Eling Douwe de Bruin
Sports 2016, 4(1), 16;
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 16 February 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
PDF [354 KB, uploaded 3 March 2016]


The purpose of this research was to determine the expected progression of adolescent female swimming performances using a longitudinal approach. The performances of 514 female swimmers (12–19 year olds) who participated in one or more FINA-regulated annual international schools’ swimming championships over an eight-year period were analysed. Quadratic functions for each of the seven individual events (50, 100, 200 m freestyle, 100 m backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, 200 m individual medley) were determined using mixed linear models. The predicted threshold of peak performance ranged from 16.8 ± 0.2 (200 m individual medley) to 20.6 ± 0.1 (100 m butterfly) years of age, preceded by gradual rates of improvement (mean rate of 1.6% per year). However, following cross validation, only three events (100 m backstroke, 200 m individual medley and 200 m freestyle) produced reliable models. Identifying the factors that contribute to the progression of female performance in this transitory period of life remains challenging, not least since the onset of puberty is likely to have occurred prior to reaching 12 years of age, the minimum competition age for this championship. View Full-Text
Keywords: puberty; tracking; talent-development; sub-elite; competition puberty; tracking; talent-development; sub-elite; competition

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Dormehl, S.J.; Robertson, S.J.; Williams, C.A. How Confident Can We Be in Modelling Female Swimming Performance in Adolescence? Sports 2016, 4, 16.

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