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College training tough on Freshmen swimmers Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Rosenberg   
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
High school swimmers heading off to compete in college may be ill prepared for grueling collegiate training regimens, study findings hint.

Like many other sports, modern collegiate level swimming has evolved into essentially a year-round sport. Swimmers typically continue to swim significant yardage even after the collegiate season has ended. In addition, strength training, dry-land conditioning and cross-training have become a standard supplement to in-pool training.

In a 5-year assessment of the University of Iowa swimming and diving team "nearly 40 percent of swimmers' injuries occurred during training outside of the pool," Dr. Brian R. Wolf, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City told Reuters Health in an email.

Male and female freshmen suffered more injuries overall, and per swimmer, than their more seasoned teammates, Wolf and colleagues report in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Their investigation of injuries reported by 44 men and 50 women on the university's swimming and diving team from 2002 through 2007 showed comparable injury risk according to gender. Overall, men suffered 4 injuries per 1,000 team training sessions or events while women had a slightly smaller injury rate.

Of these, shoulder and upper arm injuries were most common, accounting for 31 and 36 percent of the total injuries in men and women, respectively.

Wolf's team also noted 33 percent greater injury risk among swimmers specializing in strokes, other than the more commonly used freestyle stroke, such as backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

Of the four classes, however, freshmen men and women each had about 1.2 injuries on average per swimmer. By contrast, male and female teammates in their sophomore, junior, and senior college years had lower injury rates, and their injury rates tended to decline with each successive year of college.

To minimize such injuries, Wolf suggests close monitoring while incoming swimmers "assimilate into collegiate training regimens."

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