Pacing profiles, variability and progression in 400, 800 and 1500-m freestyle swimming events at the 2021 European Championship
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AuthorLópez Belmonte, Óscar; Gay Párraga, Ana; Ruiz-Navarro, Jesús Juan; Cuenca-Fernández, Francisco; González-Ponce, Ángela; Arellano Colomina, Raúl
Taylor & Francis
Competition analysisElite swimmers
Óscar López-Belmonte, Ana Gay, Jesús J. Ruiz-Navarro, Francisco Cuenca-Fernández, Ángela González-Ponce & Raúl Arellano (2021): Pacing profiles, variability and progression in 400, 800 and 1500-m freestyle swimming events at the 2021 European Championship, International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport
SponsorshipThis study was supported by grants awarded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Spanish Agency of Research) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); PGC2018–102116–B–I00 ‘SWIM II: Specific Water Innovative Measurements: Applied to the performance improvement’ and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport: FPU19/02477, FPU 16/02629, and FPU17/02761 grants.
Performance intra-variability has not been studied in long-distance swimming. The aims were to describe the pacing profile in 400-, 800- and 1500-m freestyle events and to analyse the variability (coefficient of variation[CV]) and performance progression (%Δ) within and between rounds. A total of 256 swims of 130 eliteswimmers (70 males and 60 females) were analysed at the 2021 European Championship (indoor long-course). Linear mixed-effect models were applied for each swimmer and race time performances to obtain the CV and %Δ between each lap and rounds (i.e. heats and final). T-test was conducted to compare the CV between medallist and non-medallist. First and last laps were the fastest (p < 0.001) in all events compared to the intermediate laps which showed an evenly-pace. Parabolic pacing profile was adopted in all events. Male swimmers obtained a CV-average of 0.52 ± 0.49% between rounds (−0.64 ± 0.8%Δ) and females, a CVaverage of 0.70 ± 0.45 (−0.71 ± 0.92%Δ). Medallist swimmers obtained higher CV between rounds (1.00–1.08%) compared to non-medallist finalist (0.22–0.47%). Parabolic pacing profiles were adopted in 400-, 800-, and 1500-m races. The best swimmers adopt conservative strategies in heats to improve their performance in final, obtaining higher CV and %Δ between rounds.