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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012 Mar;112(3):811-20. doi: 10.1007/s00421-011-2037-6. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Tracking the performance, energetics and biomechanics of international versus national level swimmers during a competitive season.

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Sport Sciences Department, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Campus Sta. Apolónia, Ap. 1101-75, 5300 Bragança, Portugal.


The purpose of this study was to track and compare the changes of performance, energetic and biomechanical profiles of international (Int) and national (Nat) level swimmers during a season. Ten Portuguese male swimmers (four Int and six Nat level subjects) were evaluated on three different time periods (TP(1), TP(2), TP(3)) of the 2009-2010 season. Swimming performance was assessed based on official time's lists of the 200-m freestyle event. An incremental set of 7 × 200 m swims was applied to assess the energetic and biomechanical data. Measurements were made of: (1) velocity at the 4 mmol of lactate levels (V4), stroke index at V4 (SI@V4) and propelling efficiency at V4 (η (p)@V4), as energetic estimators; (2) stroke length at V4 (SL@V4) and stroke frequency at V4 (SF@V4), as biomechanical variables. The results demonstrated no significant variations in all variables throughout the season. The inter-group comparison pointed out higher values for Int swimmers, with statistical differences for the 200 m performance in all time periods. Near values of the statistical significance were demonstrated for the SI@V4 in TP(1) and TP(3). The tracking based on K values was high only for the SI@V4. It is concluded that a high stability can be observed for elite swimmers performance, energetic and biomechanical profiles throughout a single season. Int swimmers are able to maintain a higher energetic and biomechanical capacity than Nat ones at all times. The SI@V4 may be used as an indicator of performance variation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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