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The effect of stroke type, stage of competition and final race position on pacing strategy in 200m swimming performanceThe purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of stroke types, final race position and stage of competition on pacing strategy in elite women’s 200m swimming performance, and to appraise medallist’s stroke rate (SR) and stroke length (SL). Elite women’s 200m backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle performances (n = 576) formed twenty-four groups based on stroke type, final race position (medallists/non-medallists) and stage of competition (heats/semifinal/final). A mixed design with independent groups (stroke type/final race position) and repeated measures (stage of competition) was used. Official race and 50m split times were converted to velocities and normalised to average to show pacing strategy. Medallists SR and SL (n = 68) were quantified using a bespoke software. Kruskal-Wallis test and Mann-Whitney U tests (post hoc) appraised significant differences between stroke types, multiple Mann-Whitney U tests appraised significant differences in final race position. Finally, Friedman test and multiple Wilcoxon tests (post hoc) appraised significant differences between both stages of competition and 50m splits. Generally, split times showed significant differences between splits (p<0.05, ES = 0.41-0.88) and normalised velocity showed significant differences between stroke type (p<0.05, ES = 0.33-1.10). Whereas, normalised velocity reported no significant differences regardless of final race position or stage of competition (p>0.05). Medallists SR and SL showed significant differences between splits (p<0.05, ES = 0.10-0.51) and stroke type (p<0.05, ES = 0.35-0.82). It was concluded that pacing strategies were dependent on stroke used with ‘fast start-even’ (backstroke/freestyle) and ‘positive’ (breaststroke/butterfly) reported, however, pacing remained consistent regardless of final race position or stage of competition. The differences were underpinned by stroke mechanics and changes in SR and SL.
The importance of perturbations in elite squash: An analysis of their ability to successfully predict rally outcomeThis study investigated the presence of perturbations within elite squash through the analysis of critical incidents responsible for successful rally outcome.