Physique and Fitness of Swimmers from West Bengal
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The purpose of the present study is to assess the physique and fitness status of young school and college age swimmers from West Bengal. This cross sectional study was carried out on 46 male and 9 female swimmers of 9-20 years of age. The study parameters include body height, body weight, BMI, different anthropometric parameters, skinfold thickness and aerobic power, strength, flexibility, blood pressure and pulmonary function. Besides, history of training was taken by questionnaire. In the present study male and female adolescent swimmers have significantly higher body fat than their non-swimmer counterparts. Besides, respiratory capacity, max. oxygen consumption and flexibility parameters are significantly higher in male and female swimmers than in control group boys and girls. Besides, highly significant correlation has been found between sitting height, arm span and hand span of swimmer with swimming speed, years of training(swimming) and percentage of body fat. Again, pulmonary function, strength and max. oxygen consumption parameters are significantly correlated with years of training and speed of training. Therefore, simple regression equations are constructed to predict strength, respiratory and cardio-vascular parameters of adolescent swimmers on the basis of years of swimming and speed of swimming. When different style of swimming is considered it has been observed that highest Vo2 max value has been found in free style and butterfly swimmers followed by breast stroke and then back stroke swimmers. Swimmers of the present study when compared to international standard, they are shorter and lower in body fat content values and some physiological parameters like Vo2 max, flexibility and hand grip strength than international standard values. From this study it can be concluded that as there is no available information regarding strength, cardiovascular and respiratory status of adolescent girls and boys swimmers of West Bengal, this study can be said to be a pilot study on the basis of which further elaborate investigation requires to be initiated. Thus these baseline information of physique and physiological parameters of adolescent swimmers will provide local database for coaches and sports physiologists to develop proper training schedule and for identification of talent in the early ages.
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