Effect of the Pacing Strategies on the Open Water 10km World Swimming Championships Performances

Effect of the Pacing Strategies on the Open Water 10km World Swimming Championships Performances

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Effect of the Pacing Strategies on the Open Water 10km World Swimming Championships Performances

Purpose:

The aim of the present research was 1) to compare the pacing strategies of different level open water swimmers during the 10km race of the FINA 2015 World Swimming Championships (WCH), and 2) to relate these pacing strategies to the race performance.

Methods:

Final and intermediate split times as well as intermediate race positions from the 10-kilometer race participants (69 men and 51 women) were collected from the public domain and were divided into five groups (G1 to G5) depending on their finishing positions.

Results:

Medalists and finalists (G1 and G2, respectively) presented an even pacing profile with similar swimming velocities to the less successful swimmers (G3 to G5) on the initial and mid stages of the race but a 1.5-3% increase in swimming velocity in the last quarter of the race. This fast end spurt was largely related to the race performance and was not observed in the G3 and G4 (even-paced profile) or in the G5 (positive pacing profile) groups. Intermediate race positions and lap rankings were negatively related to finishing position indicating a delayed positioning of the most successful swimmers at 25%, 50% and 75% of race distance.

Conclusions:

The adoption of a conservative starting strategy by open water swimmers with a negative pacing profile and delayed partial positioning seems to increase the chances of overall race success as it allows a fast end spurt that is highly related to successful finishing race positions.

Practical Implication: 

Although many believe race strategy is individual, most successful open water swimmers use a negative pacing or delayed partial positioning profile. Therefore, when determining which pacing profile to attempt, swimmers should begin with the negative pacing profile or delayed partial positioning.

Reference:

  1. Rodriguez L, Veiga S. Effect of the Pacing Strategies on the Open Water 10km World Swimming Championships Performances. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2017 Oct 16:1-19.

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