A comparison between elite and sub-elite swimmers on dry-land and tumble turn leg extensor force-time characteristics
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Place of Publication
Center for Exercise and Sport Science Research
Elite swimmers demonstrate faster swimming turn times that are potentially a result of having better strength-power characteristics than subelite swimmers. We quantified differences between dry-land and swimming turn force-time characteristics in elite swimmers and subelite swimmers. Subelite (11 males: 17.4 6 0.6 years; 10 females: 17.1 6 0.6 years) and elite swimmers (15 male: 23.2 6 2.3 years; 7 female: 21.6 6 2.5 years) were tested in a cross-sectional design. All swimmers performed a body weight and loaded (20 kg females, 30 kg males) squat jump (SJ) on a portable force platform. On the same day, all swimmers completed swimming turn analyses using a force platform fixed within the pool wall. The magnitude of difference between groups was estimated using a standardized mean difference (effect size statistic). Elite male and female swimmers had superior swimming turn and dry-land force-time characteristics to subelite swimmers in all tests. The standardized mean differences between groups ranged from small to very large. The largest differences were SJ peak velocity unloaded (3.07 6 1.0 m$s21 males, 3.49 6 2.29 m$s21 females; standardized mean difference 6 90% confidence limits) and SJ peak power unloaded (2.59 6 0.79 w male, 2.80 6 1.64 w female) with elite male and female swimmers having a ;25–50% higher performance than the subelites in both characteristics. Elite swimmers exhibit superior strength and power characteristics for the swimming turn compared with younger and less experienced swimmers. A well-planned and executed strength and conditioning program is needed for emerging swimmers to develop these qualities, as they transition to senior levels.