Start Fast, Swim Faster, Turn Fastest: Section Analyses and Normative Data for Individual Medley.

Born, Dennis; Romann, Michael; Stöggl, Thomas (2022). Start Fast, Swim Faster, Turn Fastest: Section Analyses and Normative Data for Individual Medley. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 21(2), pp. 233-244. Department of Sports Medicine Medical Faculty of Uludag University 10.52082/jssm.2022.233

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The aims of the study were to provide benchmarks and normative data for 100 m, 200 m, and 400 m short-course individual medley (IM) races, investigate differences between the various swimming strokes and turns involved in IM, and quantify the effect and contribution of various race sections on swimming performance. All IM races (n = 320) at the 2019 European Short-Course Swimming Championships were video monitored and digitized with interrater reliability described by a mean intra-class correlation coefficient of 0.968. Normative data were provided for the eight finalists of each event (FINA points = 886 ± 37) and the eight slowest swimmers from each event (FINA points = 688 ± 53). Contribution and effects of race sections on swimming performance were investigated using stepwise regression analysis based on all races of each event. Regression analysis explained 97-100% of total variance in race time and revealed turn time (β ≥ 0.53) as distinguishing factor in short-course IM races in addition to swim velocity (β ≥ -0.28). Start time only affected 100 m (β ≥ 0.14) and 200 m (β ≥ 0.04) events. Fastest turn times were found for the butterfly/backstroke turn. Breaststroke showed slowest swim velocities and no difference between fastest and slowest 100 m IM swimmers. Therefore, breaststroke may provide largest potential for future development in IM race times. Correlation analyses revealed that distance per stroke (r ≥ -0.39, P < 0.05) rather than stroke rate (r ≤ -0.18, P > 0.05) is a performance indicator and may be used by coaches and performance analysts to evaluate stroke mechanics in male IM swimmers despite its more complex assessment. Performance analysts, coaches, and swimmers may use the present normative data to establish minimal and maximal requirements for European Championship participation and to create specific drills in practice.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM > EHSM - Leistungssport > Trainingswissenschaft


Born, Dennis0000-0002-1058-4367;
Romann, Michael0000-0003-4139-2955 and
Stöggl, Thomas




Department of Sports Medicine Medical Faculty of Uludag University




Sabina Wolfensberger

Date Deposited:

11 Jul 2023 10:00

Last Modified:

11 Jul 2023 10:10

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Reference values Acyclic phases Elite athlete Race analysis Swimming Trainingswissenschaft




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