1. Please introduce yourself to the readers (how you started in the profession, education,I did my undergraduate and master's degree in Physical Education and Sport at the University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro (Portugal). Later I obtained a doctoral degree in Sport Science at the University of Beira Interior (UBI, Portugal). I’ve started my career as a swimming instructor, coach and as a swimming technical director in a small local club. In 2008, I moved to UBI where I currently work as an Assistant Professor at the department of sports sciences and also as Vice President for Education and Quality Assurance at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (UBI). I’m also an effective researcher at the Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development (CIDESD, Vila Real, Portugal), scientific advisor at the Portuguese Swimming Federation and board member of the Portuguese Swimming Coaches Association.
2. You have done research on the relative age effect and performance in swimmers, could you explain what this is?Most competitive sports are organized into age categories. Thus, the participants are grouped by chronological age to ensure equitable competition. However, in the same grade grouping, differences of age among individuals still exist. Some individuals born late in the competitive year (third and fourth quarter) and some born early (first and second quarter). Such age differences among individuals in the same grade grouping are referred as relative age effect (RAE).
One would expect that individuals born in the early part of the cut-off date would be taller, stronger and better coordinated. All those are important attributes for success in various sports including swimming (e.g. power and body size). RAE may be even more pronounced when there is a positive variation in the skeletal age.