Swimming Fast When It Counts

A 7-Year Analysis of Olympic and World Championships Performance

Iñigo Mujika, Luis Villanueva, Marijke Welvaert, David B. Pyne

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Abstract

Context/Background: International-level swimmers periodize their training to qualify for major championships, then improve further at these events. However, the effects of various factors that could affect performance progressions have not been described systematically. PURPOSE: To quantify the pattern of change in performance between season best qualifying time and the major championships of the year and to assess the influence of time between performance peaks, ranking at the major events, stroke, event distance, sex, age, and country. METHODS: A total of 7832 official competition times recorded at 4 FINA World Championships and 2 Olympic Games between 2011 and 2017 were compared with each swimmer's season best time prior to the major event of the year. Percentage change in performance was related with the time elapsed between season best and major competition, race event, sex, age, and country using linear mixed modeling. RESULTS: Faster performance (-0.79% [0.67%]; mean [SD]) at the major competition of the year occurred in 38% of all observations vs 62% no change or regression (1.10% [0.88%]). The timing between performance peaks (<34 to >130 d) had little effect on performance progressions (P = .83). Only medal winners (-0.87% [0.91%]), finalists (-0.16% [0.97%]), and US swimmers (-0.44% [1.08%]) progressed between competitions. Stroke, event distance, sex, and age had trivial impact on performance progression. CONCLUSIONS: Performance progressions at Olympic Games and World Championships were not determined by timing between performance peaks. Performance progression at a major competition appears necessary to win a medal or make the final, independent of race event, sex, and age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1139
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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@article{d09fa02e5d404f5d90c7d3aa237e05ed,
title = "Swimming Fast When It Counts: A 7-Year Analysis of Olympic and World Championships Performance",
abstract = "Context/Background: International-level swimmers periodize their training to qualify for major championships, then improve further at these events. However, the effects of various factors that could affect performance progressions have not been described systematically. PURPOSE: To quantify the pattern of change in performance between season best qualifying time and the major championships of the year and to assess the influence of time between performance peaks, ranking at the major events, stroke, event distance, sex, age, and country. METHODS: A total of 7832 official competition times recorded at 4 FINA World Championships and 2 Olympic Games between 2011 and 2017 were compared with each swimmer's season best time prior to the major event of the year. Percentage change in performance was related with the time elapsed between season best and major competition, race event, sex, age, and country using linear mixed modeling. RESULTS: Faster performance (-0.79{\%} [0.67{\%}]; mean [SD]) at the major competition of the year occurred in 38{\%} of all observations vs 62{\%} no change or regression (1.10{\%} [0.88{\%}]). The timing between performance peaks (<34 to >130 d) had little effect on performance progressions (P = .83). Only medal winners (-0.87{\%} [0.91{\%}]), finalists (-0.16{\%} [0.97{\%}]), and US swimmers (-0.44{\%} [1.08{\%}]) progressed between competitions. Stroke, event distance, sex, and age had trivial impact on performance progression. CONCLUSIONS: Performance progressions at Olympic Games and World Championships were not determined by timing between performance peaks. Performance progression at a major competition appears necessary to win a medal or make the final, independent of race event, sex, and age.",
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Swimming Fast When It Counts : A 7-Year Analysis of Olympic and World Championships Performance. / Mujika, Iñigo; Villanueva, Luis; Welvaert, Marijke; Pyne, David B.

In: International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, Vol. 14, No. 8, 2019, p. 1132-1139.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Swimming Fast When It Counts

T2 - A 7-Year Analysis of Olympic and World Championships Performance

AU - Mujika, Iñigo

AU - Villanueva, Luis

AU - Welvaert, Marijke

AU - Pyne, David B.

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Context/Background: International-level swimmers periodize their training to qualify for major championships, then improve further at these events. However, the effects of various factors that could affect performance progressions have not been described systematically. PURPOSE: To quantify the pattern of change in performance between season best qualifying time and the major championships of the year and to assess the influence of time between performance peaks, ranking at the major events, stroke, event distance, sex, age, and country. METHODS: A total of 7832 official competition times recorded at 4 FINA World Championships and 2 Olympic Games between 2011 and 2017 were compared with each swimmer's season best time prior to the major event of the year. Percentage change in performance was related with the time elapsed between season best and major competition, race event, sex, age, and country using linear mixed modeling. RESULTS: Faster performance (-0.79% [0.67%]; mean [SD]) at the major competition of the year occurred in 38% of all observations vs 62% no change or regression (1.10% [0.88%]). The timing between performance peaks (<34 to >130 d) had little effect on performance progressions (P = .83). Only medal winners (-0.87% [0.91%]), finalists (-0.16% [0.97%]), and US swimmers (-0.44% [1.08%]) progressed between competitions. Stroke, event distance, sex, and age had trivial impact on performance progression. CONCLUSIONS: Performance progressions at Olympic Games and World Championships were not determined by timing between performance peaks. Performance progression at a major competition appears necessary to win a medal or make the final, independent of race event, sex, and age.

AB - Context/Background: International-level swimmers periodize their training to qualify for major championships, then improve further at these events. However, the effects of various factors that could affect performance progressions have not been described systematically. PURPOSE: To quantify the pattern of change in performance between season best qualifying time and the major championships of the year and to assess the influence of time between performance peaks, ranking at the major events, stroke, event distance, sex, age, and country. METHODS: A total of 7832 official competition times recorded at 4 FINA World Championships and 2 Olympic Games between 2011 and 2017 were compared with each swimmer's season best time prior to the major event of the year. Percentage change in performance was related with the time elapsed between season best and major competition, race event, sex, age, and country using linear mixed modeling. RESULTS: Faster performance (-0.79% [0.67%]; mean [SD]) at the major competition of the year occurred in 38% of all observations vs 62% no change or regression (1.10% [0.88%]). The timing between performance peaks (<34 to >130 d) had little effect on performance progressions (P = .83). Only medal winners (-0.87% [0.91%]), finalists (-0.16% [0.97%]), and US swimmers (-0.44% [1.08%]) progressed between competitions. Stroke, event distance, sex, and age had trivial impact on performance progression. CONCLUSIONS: Performance progressions at Olympic Games and World Championships were not determined by timing between performance peaks. Performance progression at a major competition appears necessary to win a medal or make the final, independent of race event, sex, and age.

KW - competition

KW - peaking

KW - periodization

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JO - International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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SN - 1555-0265

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