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Anthropometric and Strength Variables to Predict Freestyle Performance Times in Elite Master Swimmers

Zampagni, Maria L1; Casino, Daniela1; Benelli, Piero2; Visani, Andrea1; Marcacci, Maurilio1; De Vito, Giuseppe3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 4 - pp 1298-1307
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31816a597b
Original Research

Zampagni, ML, Casino, D, Benelli, P, Visani, A, Marcacci, M, and De Vito, G. Anthropometric and strength variables to predict freestyle performance times in elite master swimmers. J Strength Cond Res 22: 1298-1307, 2008-The aims of this study were to determine in elite master swimmers of both genders whether, using anthropometric variables and the hand grip strength measure, it was possible to predict freestyle performance time, whether the considered predictors were related similarly to different events (50, 100, 200, 400, 800 m), and whether they were the same in male and female master swimmers. The relationships between performance times and age, body mass, height, arm length, forearm length, forearm muscle volume, and hand grip strength were examined in 135 elite master swimmers. Pearson's simple correlation coefficients were calculated and then prediction equations were developed. Age, height, and hand grip strength were the best predictors in short-distance events, whereas only age and height were predictors in middle- and long-distance events. The corresponding coefficient of determination (R2) of performance times were 0.84 in the 50-m event, 0.73 in the 100-m event, 0.75 in the 200-m event, 0.66 in the 400-m event, and 0.63 in the 800-m event. These regression equations were then cross-validated in a control group of 126 nonelite, age-matched swimmers, obtaining significant and good correlations for all distances (range, r = 0.67 and 0.83; p < 0.01), indicating that predictors are valid in an extended sample of master swimmers. Differences between sexes were not found in 50-m event, but were present in all other events. These models might be useful to determine individual performance times by contributing to improving the individual's training program and the selection of master swimmers. Coaches could have better accuracy in determining whether an athlete needs a strength training program in order to optimize performance time.

1Biomechanics Laboratory, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Bologna, Italy; 2University of Urbino “Carlo Bo,” Urbino, Italy; 3Department of Human Movement and Sport Science, The University Institute of Motor Sciences, Rome, Italy

Address correspondence to Maria Luisa Zampagni, m.l.zampagni@biomec.ior.it.

© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association