Competition age: does it matter for swimmers?

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Date: Feb. 23, 2022
From: BMC Research Notes(Vol. 15, Issue 1)
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 2,996 words
Lexile Measure: 1500L

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Abstract :

Objective To establish reference data on required competition age regarding performance levels for both sexes, all swimming strokes, and race distances and to determine the effect of competition age on swimming performance in the context of other common age metrics. In total, 36,687,573 race times of 588,938 swimmers (age 14.2 [+ or -] 6.3 years) were analyzed. FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) points were calculated to compare race times between swimming strokes and race distances. The sum of all years of race participation determined competition age. Results Across all events, swimmers reach top-elite level, i.e. 900 FINA points, after approximately 8 years of competition participation. Multiple-linear regression analysis explained up to 40% of variance in the performance level and competition age showed a stable effect on all race distances for both sexes ([beta] = 0.19 to 0.33). Increased race distance from 50 to 1500 m, decreased effects of chronological age ([beta] = 0.48 to - 0.13) and increased relative age effects ([beta] = 0.02 to 0.11). Reference data from the present study should be used to establish guidelines and set realistic goals for years of competition participation required to reach certain performance levels. Future studies need to analyze effects of transitions between various swimming strokes and race distances on peak performance. Keywords: Elite, Long-term athlete development, Reference data, Relative age, Swimming, Talent

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A699478267