Different approaches to athlete development in current university sprint swimmers
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study aimed to determine the form of athlete development that university sprint swimmers had taken to achieve elite status. The two forms of athlete development are long-term athlete development and early specialization. Swimmers competing to a national level and above were defined as elite. For this study a qualitative methodology in the form of questionnaires was taken to obtain the relevant results. Results were cross-tabulated using the computer programme SNAP in order to meet the objectives of the study and concluded that more swimmers followed a long-term approach to athlete development. 90%o of swimmers participated in other sports alongside swimming between the ages of five and twelve, achieving a high national rank within the top fifteen, whilst avoiding burnout and performance decrements. 50% of swimmers started swimming at the age of five and six and consequently experienced less burnout and achieving a national rank with the top ten. Highest national rank was achieved by 83% of swimmers between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three through specializing in a chosen event after the age of fifteen. Results support the relevant literature and the guidelines of long-term athlete development and findings from this study are extremely useful to athletes and coaches when considering athlete development and potential elite swimmers are striving to achieve success.
BSc (Hons) Sport, PE and Recreation
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