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Comparison Between Elite and Subelite Swimmers on Dry Land and Tumble Turn Leg Extensor Force-Time Characteristics

Jones, Julian V.1,3; Pyne, David B.2; Haff, G. Greg3; Newton, Robert U.3,4

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: June 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 6 - p 1762–1769
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002041
Original Research
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Jones, JV, Pyne, DB, Haff, GG, and Newton, RU. Comparison between elite and subelite swimmers on dry land and tumble turn leg extensor force-time characteristics. J Strength Cond Res 32(6): 1762–1769, 2018—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 ± 0.6 years; 10 females: 17.1 ± 0.6 years) and elite swimmers (15 male: 23.2 ± 2.3 years; 7 female: 21.6 ± 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 ± 1.0 m·s−1 males, 3.49 ± 2.29 m·s−1 females; standardized mean difference ± 90% confidence limits) and SJ peak power unloaded (2.59 ± 0.79 w male, 2.80 ± 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.

1Strength and Conditioning Discipline, Australian Institute of Sport, Bruce, Australia;

2Physiology Discipline, Australian Institute of Sport, Bruce, Australia;

3Center for Exercise and Sport Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia; and

4Medical Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Address correspondence to Julian V. Jones, julian.jones@ausport.gov.au.

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.