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Modelling the Progression of Male Swimmers’ Performances through 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
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eling Douwe de Bruin
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 4 January 2016 / Accepted: 8 January 2016 / Published: 14 January 2016
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Insufficient data on adolescent athletes is contributing to the challenges facing youth athletic development and accurate talent identification. The purpose of this study was to model the progression of male sub-elite swimmers’ performances during adolescence. The performances of 446 males (12–19 year olds) competing in seven individual events (50, 100, 200 m freestyle, 100 m backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, 200 m individual medley) over an eight-year period at an annual international schools swimming championship, run under FINA regulations were collected. Quadratic functions for each event were determined using mixed linear models. Thresholds of peak performance were achieved between the ages of 18.5 ± 0.1 (50 m freestyle and 200 m individual medley) and 19.8 ± 0.1 (100 m butterfly) years. The slowest rate of improvement was observed in the 200 m individual medley (20.7%) and the highest in the 100 m butterfly (26.2%). Butterfly does however appear to be one of the last strokes in which males specialise. The models may be useful as talent identification tools, as they predict the age at which an average sub-elite swimmer could potentially peak. The expected rate of improvement could serve as a tool in which to monitor and evaluate benchmarks. View Full-Text
Keywords: adolescent; specialisation; quadratic functions; talent-identification; sub-elite adolescent; specialisation; quadratic functions; talent-identification; sub-elite

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Dormehl, S.J.; Robertson, S.J.; Williams, C.A. Modelling the Progression of Male Swimmers’ Performances through Adolescence. Sports 2016, 4, 2.

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