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Variability of competition results during one season in swimming

  • Christoph Clephas
  • Andreas Wilhelm
Main Article
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Abstract

Aims

The purpose of this study was to investigate how performance of elite swimmers develop during one season from competition to competition. A small variability of performance has been suggested to correlate with superior competition results, which is why understanding the connection between performance and its variability is interesting for sports science researchers, coaches, and athletes alike.

Methods

We analysed all competitions of ten European Olympic medallists and nine German Olympic swimmers in an eight-month competition period culminating in the Rio Olympics in 2016. We analysed the variability in performance using the coefficient of variation (CV).

Results

We estimated CVs for German (0.68%) and European (0.52%) athletes, as well as for certain subgroups (sprinters [0.60%], middle distance athletes [0.45%], males [0.57%], females [0.40%]). The variability decreased from the first section of the measurement to its end period by 71%.

Conclusion

We conclude that a small performance variability is an important indicator for peaking performance at the season’s major event.

Keywords

Coefficient of variation High performance sport Season planning Variation in performance Elite athlete 

Variabilität der Wettkampfergebnisse im Verlauf einer Schwimmsaison

Zusammenfassung

Zielsetzungen

In der vorliegenden Studie wurde untersucht, wie sich die Leistung von Spitzenschwimmern im Verlauf einer Saison von Wettkampf zu Wettkampf entwickelt. Es wird postuliert, dass eine geringe Leistungsvariabilität mit besseren Wettkampfergebnissen korreliert. Aus diesem Grund ist es für Sportwissenschaftler, Trainer und Athleten gleichermaßen bedeutsam, die Beziehung zwischen der Leistung und ihrer Variabilität zu verstehen.

Methoden

Untersucht wurden alle Wettkämpfe von 10 europäischen Olympiamedaillengewinnern und 9 deutschen Olympiateilnehmern in einer 8‑monatigen Wettkampfphase, die ihren Höhepunkt mit den Olympischen Spielen 2016 in Rio fand. Die Leistungsvariabilität wurde anhand des Variationskoeffizienten (VK) analysiert.

Ergebnisse

Es wurden die VK für deutsche (0,68 %) und europäische Sportler (0,52 %) sowie für bestimmte Untergruppen geschätzt (Sprinter 0,60 %, Mittelstreckenschwimmer 0,45 %, Männer 0,57 %, Frauen 0,40 %). Die Variabilität sank vom ersten Abschnitt der Messung bis zur Endphase um 71 %.

Schlussfolgerung

Aus den Ergebnissen lässt sich schließen, dass eine geringe Leistungsvariabilität ein wichtiger Indikator für eine Höchstleistung beim Hauptereignis einer Saison ist.

Schlüsselwörter

Variationskoeffizient Hochleistungssport Saisonplanung Leistungsvariabilität Leistungssportler 

Notes

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

C. Clephas and A. Wilhelm declare that they have no competing interests.

The ethics committee of the Institute of Sport Science at the University of Kiel accepted and has approved this investigation. Swimming competition times are publicly available so that no consent was obtained from individual athletes. We downloaded all data from www.swimrankings.net.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Sport ScienceChristian-Albrechts-University KielKielGermany

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