(1) Institute of General Practice and for Health Services Research, University of Zurich, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland
(2) Gesundheitszentrum St. Gallen, 9001 St. Gallen, Switzerland
(3) INSERM U1093, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Burgundy, 21078 Dijon, France
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The aims were to examine (i) the difference in swimming speed in breaststroke swimmers between short and long course and (ii) the change in swimming speed across years for elite female and male swimmers competing at national and international level.
Materials and methods
Swimming speed of breaststroke swimmers at national level (i.e., athletes listed in Swiss swimming high score list between 2000 and 2011) and at international level (i.e., finalists of World Championships between 2001 and 2012) were analysed for three course distances (i.e., 50 m, 100 m and 200 m) using linear regression analyses and analysis of variance.
Swimming speed was faster in short course than in long course in 50 m (1.8–2.6%), 100 m (2.2–3.6%) and 200 m (2.6–4.2%), respectively. Swimming speed increased between 1.2 and 5.2% both for short course and long course across years, independently of the sex and the distance. For all distances, the sex difference was greater in long course than in short course. Mean values for the sex difference in swimming speed at national level were 12.1% in short course versus 11.9% in long course for 50 m, 11.9% in short course versus 11.3% in long course for 100 m and 11.0% in short course versus 10.7% in long course for 200 m, with significant difference only for 200 m long course (p = 0.03). Mean values for sex difference in swimming speed at international level were 13.3% in short course versus 12.7% in long course for 50 m, 12.6% in short course versus 11.9% in long course for 100 m and 12.1% in short course versus 11.2% in long course for 200 m, only with significance for 100 m short course (p = 0.01).
Elite breaststroke swimmers were ~3% faster on short course compared to long course. The sex difference in breaststroke swimming speed from 50 m to 200 m events was ~11% (with significance at national level on 200 m long course and on international level on 100 m short course) but appeared slightly greater in long course compared to short course.