Confirming the Value of Adolescent Swimming Performance Models
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy of existing performance models to assess the progression of male and female adolescent swimmers through a quantitative and qualitative mixed-methods approach. METHODS: Fourteen published models were tested using retrospective data from an independent sample of Dutch junior national-level swimmers from when they were between 12 and 18 years of age (n=13). The degree of association by Pearson's correlations were compared between the calculated differences from the models and quadratic functions derived from the Dutch junior national qualifying times. Swimmers were grouped based on their differences from the models and compared with their swimming histories that were extracted from questionnaires and follow-up interviews. RESULTS: Correlations of the deviations from both the models and quadratic functions derived from the Dutch qualifying times were all significant except for the 100 m breaststroke and butterfly and the 200 m freestyle female events (p<0.05). Additionally, the 100 m freestyle and backstroke for males and 200 m freestyle male and female events were almost directly proportional. In general deviations from the models were accounted for by the swimmers' training histories. Higher levels of retrospective motivation appeared to be synonymous with higher-level career performance. CONCLUSIONS: This mixed-methods approach helped to confirm the validity of the models that were found to be applicable to adolescent swimmers at all levels, allowing coaches to track performance and set goals. The value of the models in being able to account for the expected performance gains during adolescence allows for peripheral factors that could affect performance to be quantified.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Human Kinetics via the DOI in this record.
Published online 9 February 2017
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