Advertisement

European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp 811–820 | Cite as

Tracking the performance, energetics and biomechanics of international versus national level swimmers during a competitive season

  • Mário J. CostaEmail author
  • José A. Bragada
  • Jean E. Mejias
  • Hugo Louro
  • Daniel A. Marinho
  • António J. Silva
  • Tiago M. Barbosa
Original Article

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to track and compare the changes of performance, energetic and biomechanical profiles of international (Int) and national (Nat) level swimmers during a season. Ten Portuguese male swimmers (four Int and six Nat level subjects) were evaluated on three different time periods (TP1, TP2, TP3) of the 2009–2010 season. Swimming performance was assessed based on official time’s lists of the 200-m freestyle event. An incremental set of 7 × 200 m swims was applied to assess the energetic and biomechanical data. Measurements were made of: (1) velocity at the 4 mmol of lactate levels (V4), stroke index at V4 (SI@V4) and propelling efficiency at V4 (η p@V4), as energetic estimators; (2) stroke length at V4 (SL@V4) and stroke frequency at V4 (SF@V4), as biomechanical variables. The results demonstrated no significant variations in all variables throughout the season. The inter-group comparison pointed out higher values for Int swimmers, with statistical differences for the 200 m performance in all time periods. Near values of the statistical significance were demonstrated for the SI@V4 in TP1 and TP3. The tracking based on K values was high only for the SI@V4. It is concluded that a high stability can be observed for elite swimmers performance, energetic and biomechanical profiles throughout a single season. Int swimmers are able to maintain a higher energetic and biomechanical capacity than Nat ones at all times. The SI@V4 may be used as an indicator of performance variation.

Keywords

Performance Elite swimmers Biophysics profile Tracking Freestyle 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thanks the support of all swimmers and coaches. Mário J Costa acknowledges the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) for the PhD grant (SFRH/BD/62005/2009).

Ethical standards

The Institutional Review Board of the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança approved the study design. All subjects gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study. The procedures were in accordance to the Declaration of Helsinki in respect to Human research.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Anderson M, Hopkins W, Roberts A, Pyne D (2008) Ability of test measures to predict competitive performance in elite swimmers. J Sports Sci 26:123–130PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barbosa TM, Fernandes RJ, Keskinen KL, Vilas-Boas JP (2008) The influence of stroke mechanics into energy cost of elite swimmers. Eur J Appl Physiol 103:139–149PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chollet D, Pelayo P, Delaplace C, Tourny C, Sidney M (1997) Stroking characteristic variations in the 100-m freestyle for male swimmers of differing skill. Percept Mot Skills 85:167–177PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Costa AM, Silva AJ, Garrido ND, Louro H, Marinho DA, Marques MC, Breitenfeld L (2009) Angiotensin converting enzyme genotype affects skeletal muscle strength in elite athletes. J Sport Sci Med 8:410–418Google Scholar
  5. Costa MJ, Marinho DA, Reis VM, Silva AJ, Marques MC, Bragada JA, Barbosa TM (2010a) Tracking the performance of world-ranked swimmers. J Sports Sci Med 9:411–417Google Scholar
  6. Costa MJ, Marinho DA, Reis VM, Silva AJ, Marques MC, Bragada JA, Barbosa TM (2010b) Stability and prediction of 100-m breaststroke performance during the elite swimmers careers. In: Kjendlie PL, Stallman RK and Cabri J (eds) XIth International Symposium on Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, pp 272–273Google Scholar
  7. Costill D, Kovaleski J, Porter D, Fielding R, King D (1985) Energy expenditure during front crawl swimming: predicting success in middle-distance events. Int J Sports Med 6:266–270PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Costill DL, Thomas R, Robergs RA, Pascoe D, Lambert C, Barr S, Fink WJ (1991) Adaptations to swimming training: influence of training volume. Med Sci Sports Exerc 23:371–377PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Craig A, Pendergast D (1979) Relationships of stroke rate, distance per stroke and velocity in competitive swimming. Med Sci Sports Exerc 11:278–283Google Scholar
  10. Craig A, Skehan P, Pawelczyk J, Boomer W (1985) Velocity, stroke rate and distance per stroke during elite swimming competition. Med Sci Sports Exerc 17:625–634PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davison R, Someren K, Jones A (2009) Physiological monitoring of the Olympic athlete. J Sport Sci 27:1433–1442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fernandes R, Billat V, Cruz A, Colaço P, Cardoso C, Vilas-Boas JP (2006) Does net energy of swimming affect time to exhaustion at the individual’s maximal oxygen consumption velocity? J Sports Med Phys Fit 46:373–380Google Scholar
  13. Figueiredo P, Zamparo P, Sousa A, Vilas-Boas JP, Fernandes RJ (2011) An energy balance of the 200 m front crawl race. Eur J Appl Physiol. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1696-z
  14. Hay J, Guimarães A (1983) A quantitative look at swimming biomechanics. Swim Tech 20:11–17Google Scholar
  15. Hellard P, Guimaraes F, Avalos M, Houel N, Hausswirth C, Toussaint JF (2010) Modeling the Association between Heart Rate Variability and Illness in Elite Swimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc (in press)Google Scholar
  16. Houston ME, Wilson DM, Green HJ, Thomson JA, Ranney DA (1981) Physiological and muscle enzyme adaptations to two different intensities of swim training. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 46:283–291PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Huot-Marchand F, Nesi X, Sidney M, Alberty M, Pelayo P (2005) Variatons of stroking parameters associated with 200-m competitive performance improvement in top-standard front crawl swimmers. Sports Biomech 4:89–99PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Laffite LP, Vilas-Boas JP, Demarle A, Silva J, Fernandes R, Billat V (2004) Changes in physiological and stroke parameters during a maximal 400-m free swimming test in elite swimmers. Can J Appl Physiol 29(Suppl.):S17–S31PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Landis J, Koch G (1977) The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics 33:159–174PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Latt E, Jurimae J, Haljaste K, Cicchella A, Purge P, Jurimae T (2009a) Physical development and swimming performance during biological maturation in young female swimmers. Coll Antropol 33:117–122PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Latt E, Jurimae J, Haljaste K (2009b) Longitudinal development of physical and performance parameters during biological maturation of young male swimmers. Percept Mot Skills 108:297–307PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Madsen O (1983) Aerobic training: not so fast there. Swimming Tech 20:13–17Google Scholar
  23. Magel JR, Foglia GF, McArdle WD, Gutin B, Pechar GS, Katch FI (1975) Specificity of swim training on maximum oxygen uptake. J Appl Physiol 38:151–155PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Malina RM (2001) Adherence to physical activity from childhood to adulthood: a perspective forma tracking studies. Quest 53:346–355Google Scholar
  25. Mingheli F, Castro F (2006) Kinematics parameters of crawl stroke sprinting through a training season. In: Vilas-Boas JP, Alves F, Marques A (eds) Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming X, Port J Sport Sci, Porto, pp 102–103Google Scholar
  26. Mujika I, Chatard JC, Busso T, Geyssant A, Barale F, Lacoste L (1995) Effects of training on performance in competitive swimming. Can J Appl Physiol 20:395–406PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mujika I, Padilla S, Pyne D (2002) Swimming performance changes during the final 3 weeks of training leading to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Int J Sports Med 23:582–587PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pelayo P, Mujika I, Sidney M, Chatard JC (1996) Blood lactate recovery measurements, training, and performance during a 23-week period of competitive swimming. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 74:107–113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pendergast DR, Capelli C, Craig AB, di Pramperi PE, Minetti AE, Mollendorf J, Termin II, Zamparo P (2006) Biophysics in swimming. In: Vilas-Boas JP, Alves F, Marques A (eds) Biomechanics and medicine in swimming X, Porto, pp 185–189Google Scholar
  30. Pyne DB, Lee H, Swanwick KM (2001) Monitoring the lactate threshold in world ranked swimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:291–297PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Reis J, Alves F (2006) Training induced changes in critical velocity and V4 in age group swimmers. In: Vilas-Boas JP, Alves F, Marques A (eds) Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming X. Port J Sport Sci, Porto, pp 55–56Google Scholar
  32. Robertson EY, Aughey RJ, Anson JM, Hopkins WG, Pyne DB (2010) Effects of simulated and real altitude exposure in elite swimmers. J Strength Cond Res 24:487–493PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sánchez J, Arellano R (2002) Stroke index values according to level, gender, swimming style and event race distance. In: Gianikellis K (ed) XXth International Symposium on Biomechanics in Sports, Cáceres pp 56–59Google Scholar
  34. Seifert L, Chollet D, Chatard JC (2007) Kinematic change during a 100-m front crawl: effects of performance level and gender. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39:1784–1793PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sharp R, Vitelli C, Costill D, Thomas R (1984) Comparison between blood lactate and heart rate profiles during a season of competitive swim training. J Swim Res 1:17–20Google Scholar
  36. Termin B, Pendergast D (2000) Training using the stroke-frequency velocity relationship to combine biomechanical and metabolic paradigms. J Swim Res 14:9–17Google Scholar
  37. Toussaint H (1990) Differences in propelling efficiency between competitive and triathlon swimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 22:409–415PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Toussaint H, Beck C (1992) Biomechanics of competitive front crawl swimming. Sports Med 13:8–24PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Trinity J, Pahnke M, Sterkel J, Coyle E (2008) Maximal power and performance during a swim taper. Int J Sports Med 29:500–506PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Troup J (1991) Aerobic characteristics of the four competitive strokes. In: Troup J (ed) International Center for Aquatic Research Annual, Studies by the International Center for Aquatic Research. US Swimming Press, Colorado Spring, pp 3–7Google Scholar
  41. Wakayoshi K, Yoshida T, Ikuta Y, Mutoh Y, Miyashita M (1993) Adaptations to six months of aerobic swim training: changes in velocity, stroke rate, stroke length and blood lactate. Int J Sports Med 14:368–372PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wolf BR, Ebinger AE, Lawler MP, Britton CL (2009) Injury patterns in Division I collegiate swimming. Am J Sports Med 37:2037–2042PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zamparo P (2006) Effects of age and gender on the propelling efficiency of the arm stroke. Eur J Appl Physiol 97:52–58PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zamparo P, Antonutto G, Capelli C, Francescato M, Girardis M, Sangoi R, Soule R, Pendergast D (1996) Effects of body size, body density, gender and growth on underwater torque. Scand J Med Sci Sports 6:273–280PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zamparo P, Pendergast D, Mollendorf J, Termin A, Minetti A (2005) An energy balance of front crawl. Eur J Appl Physiol 94:134–144PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mário J. Costa
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  • José A. Bragada
    • 1
    • 5
  • Jean E. Mejias
    • 1
    • 5
  • Hugo Louro
    • 4
    • 5
  • Daniel A. Marinho
    • 3
    • 5
  • António J. Silva
    • 2
    • 5
  • Tiago M. Barbosa
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Sport Sciences DepartmentPolytechnic Institute of BragançaBragançaPortugal
  2. 2.University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto DouroVila RealPortugal
  3. 3.University of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  4. 4.Sport Sciences School of Rio MaiorRio MaiorPortugal
  5. 5.Research Center in Sports Science, Health and Human DevelopmentVila RealPortugal

Personalised recommendations