Turn Performance Variation in European Elite Short-Course Swimmers
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Cuenca-Fernández, F... [et al.]. Turn Performance Variation in European Elite Short-Course Swimmers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 5033. [https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095033]
SponsorshipMinistry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Spanish Agency of Research); European Commission PGC2018-102116-B-I00; Spanish Government FPU17/02761
Turn performances are important success factors for short-course races, and more consistent turn times may distinguish between higher and lower-ranked swimmers. Therefore, this study aimed to determine coefficients of variation (CV) and performance progressions ( increment %) of turn performances. The eight finalists and eight fastest swimmers from the heats that did not qualify for the semi-finals, i.e., from 17th to 24th place, of the 100, 200, 400, and 800 (females only)/1500 m (males only) freestyle events at the 2019 European Short Course Championships were included, resulting in a total of 64 male (finalists: age: 22.3 +/- 2.6, FINA points: 914 +/- 31 vs. heats: age: 21.5 +/- 3.1, FINA points: 838 +/- 74.9) and 64 female swimmers (finalists: age: 22.9 +/- 4.8, FINA points: 904 +/- 24.5 vs. heats: age: 20.1 +/- 3.6, FINA points: 800 +/- 48). A linear mixed model was used to compare inter- and intra-individual performance variation. Interactions between CVs, increment %, and mean values were analyzed using a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The results showed impaired turn performances as the races progressed. Finalists showed faster turn section times than the eight fastest non-qualified swimmers from the heats (p < 0.001). Additionally, turn section times were faster for short-, i.e., 100 and 200 m, than middle- and long-distance races, i.e., 400 to 1500 m races (p < 0.001). Regarding variation in turn performance, finalists showed lower CVs and increment % for all turn section times (0.74% and 1.49%) compared to non-qualified swimmers (0.91% and 1.90%, respectively). Similarly, long-distance events, i.e., 800/1500 m, showed lower mean CVs and higher mean increment % (0.69% and 1.93%) than short-distance, i.e., 100 m events (0.93% and 1.39%, respectively). Regarding turn sections, the largest CV and increment % were found 5 m before wall contact (0.70% and 1.45%) with lower CV and more consistent turn section times 5 m after wall contact (0.42% and 0.54%). Non-qualified swimmers should aim to match the superior turn performances and faster times of finalists in all turn sections. Both finalists and non-qualified swimmers should pay particular attention to maintaining high velocities when approaching the wall as the race progresses.