Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine ( 2019 ) 18 , 577 - 585

Research article
Training Regimes and Recovery Monitoring Practices of Elite British Swimmers
Scott Pollock1, , Nadia Gaoua1, Michael J. Johnston2, Karl Cooke3, Olivier Girard4, Katya N. Mileva1
Author Information
1 Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre, School of Applied Sciences, London South Bank University, London, UK
2 A-STEM, School of Engineering, Swansea University, Swansea, UK
3 British Swimming, Sport Park Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
4 Murdoch Applied Sports Science (MASS) Laboratory, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

Scott Pollock
✉ Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre, London South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London SE1 0AA, UK
Email: pollocs3@lsbu.ac.uk
Publish Date
Received: 19-11-2018
Accepted: 01-07-2019
Published (online): 01-08-2019
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ABSTRACT

Consistent prescriptions for event-specific training of swimmers are lacking, which points to likely differences in training practices and a potential gap between practice and scientific knowledge. This study aimed to analyze the distance-specific training load of elite swimmers, derive a consistent training sessions’ description and reflect on the current recommendations for training and recovery. The individual training regimes of 18 elite British swimmers were documented by surveying four swim and two strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches. The annual and weekly training load and content were compared between swimmers competing in sprint, middle and long-distance events. Thematic analysis of the surveys was conducted to identify key codes and general dimensions and to define a unified classification of the swimming and S&C training sessions. Weekly training loads and content of the swim (ƞ2 - effect size; p = 0.016, ƞ2 = 0.423) and S&C (p = 0.028, ƞ2 = 0.38) sessions significantly differed between the groups. Long-distance swimmers swam significantly longer distances (mean ± SD; 58.1 ± 10.2 km vs. 43.2 ± 5.3 km; p = 0.018) weekly but completed similar number of S&C sessions compared to sprinters. The annual swimming load distribution of middle-distance specialists did not differ from that of long-distance swimmers but consisted of more S&C sessions per week (4.7 ± 0.5 vs. 2.3 ± 2.3; p = 0.04). Sprinters and middle-distance swimmers swam similar distances per week and completed similar number of S&C sessions but with different proportional content. Whereas all coaches reported monitoring fatigue, only 51% indicated implementing individualized recovery protocols. We propose a consistent terminology for the description of training sessions in elite swimming to facilitate good practice exchanges. While the training prescription of elite British swimmers conforms to the scientific training principles, recommendations for recovery protocols to reduce the risk of injury and overtraining are warranted.

Key words: Strength and conditioning, fatigue, recovery practice, training load, swimming distance


           Key Points
  • Consistent terminology for the description of training sessions in elite swimming is warranted to facilitate good practice exchanges.
  • The training prescription of elite British swimmers conforms to the scientific training principle of specificity based on their primary event distance classification.
  • The training programs of elite swimmers should incorporate comprehensive load monitoring and fatigue assessment to minimize training time losses due to overtraining and reduce the risk of injury.
 
 
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