Effect of Gender, Energetics, and Biomechanics on Swimming Masters Performance


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Abstract

Ferreira, MI, Barbosa, TM, Neiva, HP, Marta, CC, Costa, MJ, and Marinho, DA. Effect of gender, energetics, and biomechanics on swimming masters performance. J Strength Cond Res 29(7): 1948–1955, 2015—The purpose of this study was toanalyze the effect of gender and energetics on biomechanics and performance of masters swimmers over 1 season. Twenty-five masters swimmers (14 male and 11 female) were assessed 3 times (TP1, TP2, and TP3) during a season (male personal record in 200-m freestyle event: 173.00 ± 31.41 seconds: female personal record in 200-m freestyle event: 200.73 ± 25.02 seconds). An incremental 5 × 200-m step test was selected to evaluate velocity at 4 mmol·l−1 of blood lactate concentration (v4), maximal blood lactate concentration after exercise (Lapeak), maximal oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max), stroke frequency, stroke length (SL), stroke index (SI), and propelling efficiency of the arm stroke (ηp). The 200-m freestyle performance and average swimming velocity (v200) were also monitored. Significant differences were observed between males and females for the 200-m freestyle performance, SL, SI, and Lapeak. Performance (205.18 ± 24.47 seconds; 197.45 ± 20.97 seconds; 193.45 ± 18.12 seconds), SL (1.69 ± 0.17 m; 1.79 ± 0.13 m; 1.78 ± 0.15 m), SI (1.68 ± 0.31 m2·c−1·s−1; 1.83 ± 0.27 m2·c−1·s−1; 1.85 ± 0.27 m2·c−1·s−1), ηp (0.32 ± 0.04; 0.33 ± 0.03; 0.33 ± 0.04), and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max (38.71 ± 3.44 ml·kg−1·min−1; 43.43 ± 3.71 ml·kg−1·min−1; 43.95 ± 7.02 ml·kg−1·min−1) have changed significantly throughout the season (TP1, TP2, and TP3, respectively) in female swimmers. In male, significant changes were found in ηp (0.33 ± 0.07; 0.36 ± 0.05; 0.36 ± 0.06) and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max (41.65 ± 7.30 ml·kg−1·min−1; 45.19 ± 6.55 ml·kg−1·min−1; 50.19 ± 9.65 ml·kg−1·min−1) over the season (TP1, TP2, and TP3, respectively). Gender presented a significant effect on SL (TP2: = 0.29; TP3: = 0.37), SI (TP2: = 0.25), and Lapeak (TP3: = 0.42). v4 (TP1: = 0.23), SL (TP1: = 0.46), SI (TP1: = 0.78; TP2: = 0.37; TP3: = 0.32), and ηp (TP1: = 0.28) had a significant effect on performance. Male masters swimmers have better performance, SL, SI, and Lapeak than female counterparts. Female masters swimmers enhanced significantly the 200-m freestyle performance over the season due to the improvement in swimming technique (SL, SI, and ηp) and energetic factors (v4 and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max). Nonsignificant improvements were observed for the males' performance. Gender has a significant effect on SL, SI, and Lapeak. Therefore, performance is more dependent on technical factors than energetics.

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