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Swimming Personal Best Times

Swimming Personal Best TimesQUESTION:

Hi Gary,

Just wanting to know on average what is the normal personal best and by how much can a young swimmer (eg:12 years old and over) achieve in race from his previous race.

The question that i want answered is by how much and in what time frame.Is it a gradual decrease or is it exponential.

Please let me know.

Kind Regards,

Denis

ANSWER:

Hi Denis,

There is no pattern of personal best times for any swimmer of any age.

What we do know is that growth and development plays a major role in the improvement of young swimmers and periods of fast growth can lead to large personal best times from one race to the next. What a swimmer does in practice will also affect the improvement of a swimmer.

We know that most children go through a predictable pattern of physical growth however the rate they go through this growth pase will vary widely from child to child. Age group and youth swimmers will have their growth spurts during puberty or adolescence.  Because each individual goes through puberty at a different age, swimmers can vary in biological age by as much as 5 years with two 12 year olds, one may be 10 years and one may be 15 years biologically.

Swimmers will also improve by training regularly, practising their swimming skills including starts, turns and finishes and focusing on technique in all four strokes.

So to answer your question, every swimmer will improve at a different rate depending on all of the above factors.  It is quite normal for a swimmer to improve by a large amount one day and then improve by another few seconds a couple of weeks later.  It is also quite normal for a swimmer to improve by a large amount one day and then swim slower a couple of weeks later in the same event. It is very difficult to put actual figures in place because every swimmer and every swim is different.

There is no doubt that a swimmer is more likley to make large improvements in time when they are experiencing a fast rate of growth and development compared with when they are fully matured.

Cheers
Gary

The Swimming Expert



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