Determinant Factors of Long-Term Performance Development in Young Swimmers

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Purpose: The aims of this study were: (i) develop a performance predictor model based on the swimmers’ biomechanical profile; (ii) relate the partial contribution of the main predictors with the training program and; (iii) analyze the time effect, sex effect and time X sex interaction. Methods: Ninety one swimmers (44 boys: 12.04 ± 0.81 years-old, 47 girls: 11.22 ± 0.98 years-old) were evaluated during a 3-year period. The decimal age, anthropometric, kinematic and efficiency features were collected in ten different moments over three seasons (i.e. longitudinal research). Hierarchical linear modeling was the procedure used to estimate the performance predictors. Results: Performance improved between season #1 - early and season #3 - late for both sexes (boys: 26.9% [20.88;32.96]; girls: 16.1% [10.34;22.54]). The decimal age (Estimate: -2.05; P < 0.001), arm span (Estimate: -0.59; P < 0.001), stroke length (Estimate: 3.82; P = 0.002) and propelling efficiency (Estimate: -0.17; P = 0.001) entered in the final model. Conclusion: Our results showed that over three consecutive seasons young swimmers’ performance improved. Performance is a multifactorial phenomenon where anthropometrics, kinematics and efficiency were the main determinants. The change of these factors over time was coupled with the training plans of this talent ID program.
talent ID , contribution, , kinematics , anthropometrics , biomechanical predictors