In 2017, the 19th World Swimming Championship will be organized in Hungary. Up to now, many people have already been working with swimmers to achieve good results. However, in the next period they must work even harder to ensure that the national swimmers of a country as small as Hungary can achieve the outstanding results of their predecessors. Since high-level competitions in swimming have become more intense, innovations including scientific studies are needed during preparation for the event. The purpose of this paper is to present the major results of an independent study carried out by the authors about the relative age of the best Hungarian swimmers with the aim of contributing to their preparation. The research population consisted of selected age groups of swimmers registered by the Hungarian Swimming Association (N=400). The method for data collection was an analysis of documents. To evaluate the data, the Chi-square and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used. The results are presented according to the period of the competitor’s date of birth, gender, and age group. The results confirm only partly the hypothesis that people born in the first quarters of the year play a dominant role in Hungarian national swimming teams. In the conclusion, the authors recommend further research on relative age in swimming and in other sports.
Nikoletta Nagy, Gyöngyi Földesi, Csaba Sós and Csaba Ökrös
Based on our empirical research, through the analysis of the birthdates of young competitive swimmers, the present paper aims to examine the system of talent selection and management in Hungarian competitive swimming complemented with a new element. The research population consisted of the registered junior competitive swimmers participating in the new talent management program of the Hungarian Swimming Association (N=235; average age: 11.44) due to the decision of the Coaches’ Committee. Our research was based on the analysis of documents and databases. Besides the descriptive statistics, Chi-square tests and the Kruskal-Wallis test were applied. The results show that swimmers born in the first three months of the year are still more likely to be recruited in the program than their relatively younger counterparts. Furthermore, as a potential effect of the new program, the dominance of the first quarter of the year is also characteristic among those eligible for the next level of talent management. The new selection system of Hungarian swimmers is still highly sensitive to the relative age. Thus, it is recommended to further investigate the functioning of the new talent management program in terms of selection and success.