Age of peak swim speed and sex difference in performance in medley and freestyle swimming: A comparison between 200 m and 400 m in Swiss elite swimmers

Martin Vaso, Beat Knechtle, Christoph Alexander Rüst, Thomas Rosemann, Romuald Lepers

Abstract

The aims of the present study were to examine (i) the age of peak swim speed and (ii) the sex difference in peak swim times in 200m and 400m medley versus freestyle. Swim times and ages of 5,524 swimmers (2,785 males and 2,739 females) from the Swiss high score list from 2006 to 2010 were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The age of peak swim speed was younger for females (~20-21 years) compared to males (~22-25 years) for both distances and both swimming styles. The sex differences in peak swim times for age group 10-39 years were 9.7% (SD=3.4) and 7.1% (SD=5.1) for 200m and 400m individual medley, and 10.1% (SD=5.0) and 6.1% (SD=4.0) for 200m and 400m freestyle, respectively. The sex differences were neither different between the two distances nor between the two disciplines (p > .05). There were no differences within each sex (i.e. females to females, and males to males) in the age of reaching peak swim speed in 200m and 400m individual medley and freestyle. However, females reached the peak swim speed at a younger age than males. The sex differences in peak swim times were similar for 200m than for 400m for both swim styles. To summarize, the present findings suggest no difference in the age of peak swim times in 200m and 400m individual medley and freestyle. However, females reached peak swim times earlier than males, which might be dependent on a different development of the genders in puberty and the related physiological and anthropometric factors. Sex differences in peak swim times were similar for 200m than for 400m for both swim styles.


Keywords

Woman; Man; Aquatic sport

References

Baker, A. B., & Tang, Y. Q. (2010) Aging performance for masters records in athletics, swimming, rowing, cycling, triathlon, and weightlifting. Experimental Aging Research, 36, 453-477. https://doi.org/10.1080/0361073X.2010.507433

Berthelot, G., Len, S., Hellard, P., Tafflet, M., Guillaume, M., Vollmer, J. C., Gager, B., Quinquis, L., Marc, A., & Toussaint, J. F. (2011) Exponential growth combined with exponential decline explains lifetime performance evolution in individual and human species. AGE. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-011-9274-9

Bongard, V., McDermott, A. Y., Dallal, G. E., & Schaefer, E. J. (2007) Effects of age and gender on physical performance. AGE, 29, 77-85. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-007-9034-z

Craig, A. B., & Pendergast, D. R. (1979) Relationship of stroke rate, distance per stroke, and variation in competitive swimming. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 11, 278-283. https://doi.org/10.1249/00005768-197901130-00011

Costa, M. J., Bragada, J. A., Marinho, D. A., Reis, V. M., Silva, A. J., & Barbosa, T. M. (2010) Longitudinal assessment of swimming performance in the 200-m freestyle event. The Open Sports Sciences Journal, 3, 92-94. https://doi.org/10.2174/1875399X010030100092

Donato, A. J., Tench, K., Glueck, D. H., Seals, D. R., Eskurza, I., & Tanaka, H. (2003) Declines in physiological functional capacity with age: a longitudinal study in peak swimming performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 94, 764-769. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00438.2002

Fairbrother, J. T. (2007a) Prediction of 1500-m freestyle swimming times for older masters all-American swimmers. Experimental Aging Research, 33, 4, 461-471. https://doi.org/10.1080/03610730701525402

Fairbrother, J. T. (2007b) Age-related changes in top-ten men's U.S. Masters 50m freestyle swim times as a function of finishing place. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 105, 1289-1293. https://doi.org/10.2466/pms.105.4.1289-1293

Geladas, N. D., Nassis, G. P., & Pavlicevic, S. (2005) Somatic and physical traits affecting sprint swimming performance in young swimmers. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 26, 139-144. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2004-817862

Issurin, V., Kaufman, L., Lustig, G., & Tenenbaum, G. (2008) Factors affecting peak performance in the swimming competition of the Athens Olympic Games. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 48, 1-8.

Jagomägi, G., & Jürimäe, T. (2005) The influence of anthropometrical and flexibility parameters on the results of breaststroke swimming. Anthropologischer Anzeiger, 63, 213-219.

Jürimäe, J., Haljaste, K., Cicchella, A., Lätt, E., Purge, P., Leppik, A., & Jürimäe, T. (2007) Analysis of swimming performance from physical, physiological, and biomechanical parameters in young swimmers. Pediatric Exercise Science, 19, 70-81. https://doi.org/10.1123/pes.19.1.70

Lepers, R. (2008) An analysis of Hawaii Ironman performances in elite triathletes from 1981 to 2007. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 40, 1828-1834. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e31817e91a4

Lepers, R., & Maffiuletti, N. (2011) Age and gender interactions in ultra-endurance performance: insight from triathlon. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43, 134-139. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181e57997

Nevill, A. M., Whyte, G. P., Holder, R. L., & Peyrebrune, M. (2007) Are there limits to swimming world records? International Journal of Sports Medicine, 28, 1012-1017. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2007-965088

Ransdell, L. B., Vener, J., & Huberty, J. (2009) Masters athletes: an analysis of running, swimming and cycling performance by age and gender. Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness, 7, 61-73. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1728-869X(09)60024-1

Reaburn, P., & Dascombe, B. (2008) Endurance performance in masters athletes. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 5, 31-42. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11556-008-0029-2

Reaburn, P., & Dascombe, B. (2009) Anaerobic performance in masters athletes. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 6, 39-53. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11556-008-0041-6

Rubin, R. T., & Rahe, R. H. (2010) Effects of aging in masters swimmers: 40-year review and suggestions for optimal health benefits. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, 1, 39-44. https://doi.org/10.2147/OAJSM.S9315

Saavedra, J. M., Escalante, Y., Garcia-Hermoso, A., Arellano, R., & Navarro, F. S. (2012) A twelve-year analysis of pacing strategies in 200 m and 400 m individual medley in international swimming competitions. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, [Epub ahead of print]. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e318248aed5

Schneider, P., & Meyer, F. (2005) Anthropometric and muscle strength evaluation in prepubescent and pubescent swimmer boys and girls. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte, 11, 200-203.

Schulz, R., & Curnow, C. (1988) Peak performance and age among superathletes: track and field, swimming, baseball, tennis, and golf. Journal of Gerontology, 43, 113-120. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronj/43.5.P113

Shepard, R.J. (1998) Aging and Exercise. Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science, T.D. Fahey (Editor), Internet Society for Sport Science, http://sportsci.org.

Siders, W. A., Lukaski, H. C., & Bolonchuk, W. W. (1993) Relationships among swimming body performance, body composition and somatotype in competitive collegiate swimmers. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 33, 166-171.

Tanaka, H., & Seals, D. R. (1997) Age and gender interactions in physiological functional capacity: insight from swimming performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 82, 846-851. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1997.82.3.846

Tanaka, H., & Seals, D. R. (2003) Dynamic exercise performance in masters athletes: insight into the effects of primary human aging on physiological functional capacity. Journal of Applied Physiology, 95, 2152-2162. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00320.2003

Tanaka, H., & Seals, D. R. (2008) Endurance exercise performance in masters athletes: age-associated changes and underlying physiological mechanisms. Journal of Physiology, 586, 55-63. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2007.141879

Tuuri, G., Loftin, M., & Oescher, J. (2002) Association of swim distance and age with body composition in adult female swimmers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34, 2110-2114. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200212000-00037

Zamparo, P. (2006) Effects of age and gender on the propelling efficiency of the arm stroke. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 97, 52-58. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-006-0133-9




DOI: https://doi.org/10.4100/jhse.2013.84.06