An analysis of world records in three types of locomotion
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In 21 out of the 32 events equations of first or second degree fitted the experimental data. The mean correlation coefficient was 0.979±0.019 (± S.D.). The ratio between predicted (v1p) and actual value (v1) of the last records was 0.999±0.010. For T corresponding to v1 (T1), the rate of record growth was slowing down in 5 events. Hence up to June 1981 a tendency towards an asymptotic v was not yet a general phenomenon. At T1 the range of the relative rate of increase of v (dvp/dT·(v1p) was 0.9·10−3 per year (800 m — female running) and 12.4·10−3 per year (800 m — female swimming). dv/dT·(v1p) in swimming and skating was similar in both sexes but 4 times faster than in male running. Less marked differences were found for female running. A lowering of the cost of transport was probably the main reason of the fast growth of swimming and skating records.
The numerical constants calculated from linear regression of v versus the time of the races over different distances did not seem to have a clear physiological meaning, as reported in the previous literature.
Key wordsSwimming records Skating records Running records Cost of locomotion Male and female performances
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