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Effects of the Performance Level and Race Distance on Pacing in Ultra-Triathlons

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the effects of the performance level and race distance on pacing in ultra-triathlons (Double, Triple, Quintuple and Deca), wherein pacing is defined as the relative time (%) spent in each discipline (swimming, cycling and running). All finishers (n = 3,622) of Double, Triple, Quintuple and Deca Iron ultra-triathlons between 1985 and 2016 were analysed and classified into quartile groups (Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4) with Q1 being the fastest and Q4 the slowest. Performance of all non-finishers (n = 1,000) during the same period was also examined. Triple and Quintuple triathlons (24.4%) produced the highest rate of non-finishers, and Deca Iron ultra-triathlons produced the lowest rate (18.0%) (χ2 = 12.1, p = 0.007, φC = 0.05). For the relative swimming and cycling times (%), Deca triathletes (6.7 ± 1.5% and 48.8 ± 4.9%, respectively) proved the fastest and Double (9.2 ± 1.6% and 49.6 ± 3.6%) Iron ultra-triathletes were the slowest (p < 0.008) with Q4 being the fastest group (8.3 ± 1.6% and 48.8 ± 4.3%) and Q1 the slowest one (9.5 ± 1.5% and 50.9 ± 3.0%) (p < 0.001). In running, Double triathletes were relatively the fastest (41.2 ± 4.0%) and Deca (44.5 ± 5.4%) Iron ultra-triathletes the slowest (p < 0.001) with Q1 being the fastest (39.6 ± 3.3%) and Q4 the slowest group (42.9 ± 4.7%) (p < 0.001). Based on these findings, it was concluded that the fastest ultra-triathletes spent relatively more time swimming and cycling and less time running, highlighting the importance of the role of the latter discipline for the overall ultra-triathlon performance. Furthermore, coaches and ultra-triathletes should be aware of differences in pacing between Double, Triple, Quintuple and Deca Iron triathlons.

Open access
The Effects of Two Different Resisted Swim Training Load Protocols on Swimming Strength and Performance

Abstract

This study used a power rack device to evaluate the effects of 2 different approaches to resisted swim training loads on swimming strength and performance. Sixteen male, youth national-level swimmers (mean age, 16.22 ± 2.63 years; body height, 169 ± 10.20 cm; body mass, 61.33 ± 9.90 kg) completed a 6-week specific strength-training program, and were then randomly assigned to one of the two groups: a standard training group (GS, n = 8) and a flat pyramid-loading pattern group (GP, n = 8). Strength and power tests along with specific swimming tests (50-m crawl and 50-m competition-style time trials) were conducted at baseline (pre-test), before the third week (mid-test), and after 6 weeks of intervention (post-test). Isokinetic swim bench tests were conducted to obtain measurements of force production and power, and 1RM tests with the power rack system were conducted to measure the maximum drag load (MDL) and specific swimming power. Following 6 weeks of intervention, the mean MDL increased (p < 0.05) by 13.94%. Scores for the 50-m competition style and 50-m crawl time trials improved by 0.32% and 0.78%, respectively, in the GP; however, those changes were not statistically significant. The GS significantly increased their time in the 50-m competition style by 2.59%, and their isokinetic force production decreased by 14.47% (p < 0.05). The 6-week strength-training program performed with the power rack device in a pyramidal organization was more effective than a standard linear load organization in terms of producing improvements in the MDL; however, it did not produce significant improvements in performance. The use of a strength-training program with a pyramidal organization can be recommended for specific strength-training in young swimmers during a preparatory period. However, in our study, that program did not produce significant changes in 50-m crawl and main competition style performance.

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Wave Characteristics in Breaststroke Technique with and Without Snorkel Use

Abstract

The purpose of this paper was to examine the characteristics of waves generated when swimming with and without the use of Aquatrainer® snorkels. Eight male swimmers performed two maximal bouts of 25 m breaststroke, first without the use of a snorkel (normal condition) and then using a snorkel (snorkel condition). The body landmarks, centre of the mass velocity, stroke rate, stroke length, stroke index, and Strouhal number (St) were quantified. Fourier analysis was conducted to determine the frequency, amplitude, and phase characteristics of the vertical undulations. We also determined the undulation period, the first and second harmonic wave percentage, and the contribution of these components to the power of each of the wave signals. The first wave harmonics had a frequency of 0.76 Hz (normal condition) and 0.78 Hz (snorkel condition), and the second wave harmonics had a frequency of 1.52 Hz (normal condition) and 1.56 Hz (snorkel condition). Under the normal conditions, the wave amplitude was higher on the vertex (0.72 m) and cervical (0.32 m) than that produced under snorkel conditions (0.71 m and 0.28 m, respectively). The lowest values were found in the hip (0.03 m in normal conditions, and 0.02 m in snorkel conditions) and in the trunk (0.06 m in normal conditions, and 0.04 m in snorkel conditions). It can be concluded that snorkel use seems to lead to slight changes in the biomechanical pattern in swimming velocity, as well as several stroke mechanical variables.

Open access
The Effects of Direct Red Bull Administration to Isolated Hearts of Trained and Untrained Rats Who Regularly Consumed or Did Not Consume Energy Drink: Focus on Cardiodynamics and Oxidative Stress

Abstract

Energy drinks (EDs) contain caffeine and other active ingredients which affect cardiovascular system. The aims of this study were to examine direct effects of Red Bull (RB) on cardiodynamics and oxidative stress in isolated hearts of rats. The rats were divided into four groups: untrained rats who never consumed ED (dED-UT); untrained rats who consumed ED 5 days a week during 4 weeks (ch+dED-UT); rats trained 5 times a week for 4 weeks, but did not consume ED (dED-T); rats trained and consumed ED 5 times a week for 4 weeks (ch+dED-T). After sacrificing, hearts were isolated and perfused according to Langendorff technique. Through the isolated heart of all rats in each group, RB was administered. The parameters of cardiac function were recorded, and the levels of prooxidants were measured in the coronary effluent during coronary autoregulation. Rats in ch+dED-UT group had significantly lower rates of myocardial contraction and relaxation compared to rats in dED-UT group. The same effect was recorded in the dED-T group compared to dED-UT group. The levels of hydrogen peroxide were significantly higher in trained rats. Rats in ch+dED-T group also had significantly higher levels of superoxide anion radical and index of lipid peroxidation, as well as lower levels of nitrites when compared to ch+dED-UT group, while opposite effect was recorded in rats in dED-T group compared to dED-UT group. The RB could have a potentially negative inotropic effect in chronic consumers. Prooxidative effect of RB was most pronounced in trained chronic consumers.

Open access
Acute Effects of Swimming on the Arterial Pressure of Hypertensive Adults

Acute Effects of Swimming on the Arterial Pressure of Hypertensive Adults

Aim. The purpose of this work was to verify the acute effects of a regular swimming programme on the arterial pressure of hypertensive adults.

Material and methods. The sample was composed of 26 individuals who presented mild to moderate hypertension. The subjects were divided into two groups: the Experimental Group (EG) comprising 13 subjects (four men and nine women) and the Control Group (CG) comprising 13 subjects (seven men and six women), with average ages of 38.40 ± 8.24 and 38.36 ± 8.96 years, respectively. GE individuals took part in a regular swimming programme consisting of three weekly fifty-minute sessions of training (ST) for 10 weeks, whereas GC individuals were instructed not to alter their physical activity and nutritional habits. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to determine statistical significance (p < 0.05).

Results. At the end of the ten weeks, an increase of 4.8% in Systolic Blood Pressure at rest (from 133.67 ±2.26 to 138.56 ± 3.23) and an increase of 7.8% in Diastolic Blood Pressure (from 83.15 ± 1.50 to 89.67 ± 7.19) were observed.

Conclusion. The results allow us to conclude that a regular swimming programme, consisting of training sessions three times a week for 10 weeks, was not sufficient to significantly alter the acute pressure levels of hypertensive adults.

Open access
Effects of Verbal Feedback on Movement Efficiency During Swimming Ergometry

Abstract

Introduction. The aim of the study was to ascertain the physiological effects of verbal feedback on changes in the movement efficiency of a dry-land swimming ergometry task (butterfly stroke). Material and methods. The study involved 100 healthy and physically active males (1st year university students majoring in physical education) that were untrained in swimming (19.56 ± 1.32 years of age, 181.23 ± 4.35 cm in height, and 70.54 ± 8.6 kg in weight). The sample was randomised into two groups (control and experimental). In the first trial, both groups executed the butterfly stroke on a Weba Sport swim ergometer with no augmented feedback. In a second trial, the experimental group was provided with verbal cues relating kinesthetic information on task execution. Trial duration was 10 min, with the first 5 min devoted to the swimming task and the remaining 5 min serving as a cool-down. Variables under consideration included physiological cost, rate of recovery, heart rate recovery, estimated recovery time, and work output. Results. No improvement in the variables related to the physiological cost was observed in the verbal feedback condition although a significant increase in work output was observed in the experimental group (p < 0.05). Conclusions. An improvement in work output without modulating the physiological cost of work suggests that appropriately prepared verbal cues may enhance performance in a swimming ergometry task.

Open access
Competitive Performance, Training Load and Physiological Responses During Tapering in Young Swimmers

Abstract

The study examined the changes of training load and physiological parameters in relation to competitive performance during a period leading to a national championship. The training content of twelve swimmers (age: 14.2±1.3 yrs) was recorded four weeks before the national championship (two weeks of normal training and two weeks of the taper). The training load was calculated: i) by the swimmer’s session-RPE score (RPE-Load), ii) by the training intensity levels adjusted after a 7x200-m progressively increasing intensity test (LA-Load). Swimmers completed a 400- m submaximal intensity test, a 15 s tethered swimming and hand-grip strength measurements 34-35 (baseline: Test 1), 20-21 (before taper: Test 2) and 6-7 (Test 3) days before the national championship. Performance during the national championship was not significantly changed compared to season best (0.1±1.6%; 95% confidence limits: -0.9, 1.1%; Effect Size: 0.02, p=0.72) and compared to performance before the start of the two-week taper period (0.9±1.7%; 95% confidence limits: 0.3, 2.1%; Effect size: 0.12, p=0.09). No significant changes were observed in all measured physiological and performance related variables between Test 1, Test 2, and Test 3. Changes in RPE-Load (week-4 vs. week-1) were correlated with changes in performance (r=0.63, p=0.03) and the RPE-Load was correlated with the LALoad (r=0.80, p=0.01). The estimation of the session-RPE training load may be helpful for taper planning of young swimmers. Increasing the difference between the normal and last week of taper training load may facilitate performance improvements.

Open access
The Effect of Concurrent Visual Feedback on Controlling Swimming Speed

Abstract

Introduction. Developing the ability to control the speed of swimming is an important part of swimming training. Maintaining a defined constant speed makes it possible for the athlete to swim economically at a low physiological cost. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of concurrent visual feedback transmitted by the Leader device on the control of swimming speed in a single exercise test. Material and methods. The study involved a group of expert swimmers (n = 20). Prior to the experiment, the race time for the 100 m distance was determined for each of the participants. In the experiment, the participants swam the distance of 100 m without feedback and with visual feedback. In both variants, the task of the participants was to swim the test distance in a time as close as possible to the time designated prior to the experiment. In the first version of the experiment (without feedback), the participants swam the test distance without receiving real-time feedback on their swimming speed. In the second version (with visual feedback), the participants followed a beam of light moving across the bottom of the swimming pool, generated by the Leader device. Results. During swimming with visual feedback, the 100 m race time was significantly closer to the time designated. The difference between the pre-determined time and the time obtained was significantly statistically lower during swimming with visual feedback (p = 0.00002). Conclusions. Concurrently transmitting visual feedback to athletes improves their control of swimming speed. The Leader device has proven useful in controlling swimming speed.

Open access
The Impact of Immediate Verbal Feedback on the Improvement of Swimming Technique

Abstract

The present research attempts to ascertain the impact of immediate verbal feedback (IVF) on modifications of stroke length (SL). In all swimming styles, stroke length is considered an essential kinematic parameter of the swimming cycle. It is important for swimming mechanics and energetics. If SL shortens while the stroke rate (SR) remains unchanged or decreases, the temporal-spatial structure of swimming is considered erroneous. It results in a lower swimming velocity. Our research included 64 subjects, who were divided into two groups: the experimental - E (n=32) and the control - C (n=32) groups. A pretest and a post-test were conducted. The subjects swam the front crawl over the test distance of 25m at Vmax. Only the E group subjects were provided with IVF aiming to increase their SL. All tests were filmed by two cameras (50 samples•s-1). The kinematic parameters of the swimming cycle were analyzed using the SIMI Reality Motion Systems 2D software (SIMI Reality Motion Systems 2D GmbH, Germany). The movement analysis allowed to determine the average horizontal swimming velocity over 15 meters. The repeated measures analysis of variance ANOVA with a post-hoc Tukey range test demonstrated statistically significant (p<0.05) differences between the two groups in terms of SL and swimming velocity. IVF brought about a 6.93% (Simi method) and a 5.09% (Hay method) increase in SL, as well as a 2.92% increase in swimming velocity.

Open access
The Black Dog of Swimming: Mental Illness and Australia’s Sporting Industrial Complex

Abstract

This article considers the cultural and social crisis facing the sporting celebrity, with specific reference to the Australian athlete in the field of swimming. In that sense, this paper argues that parallels in other political systems for ruthless, sustained success, and the loss occasioned by it to individual sports figures, should be considered. Liberal democracies can still be perpetrating systems of sporting depression and mental illness, undermining their representatives in a relentless drive for performance and medals. The problem lies in what might be best described as a sporting industrial complex, one that emerged in Australia with the professionalization of sports.

Open access