Biological Maturation at the Time of Selection and Swimming Career Paths in Flemish Swimmers

M. Thomis, Mathieu Lenoir, Ariane Ghekiere

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper


Background: Selection of talented adolescent swimmers might be influenced by maturity status. This study determined interrelations among invasive and non-invasive indicators of biological maturation and related maturity status of a Belgian swimming sample at time of selection with the success of their swimming career.

Methods: Forty-nine swimmers aged 10.3-14.4 years were measured between 2006 and 2010. Interrelationships among maturity categorization based on invasive (skeletal age by TWIII) and non-invasive (% predicted adult height (Khamis-Roche) and maturity offset estimation (Mirwald et al.)) maturity indicators were evaluated. Performances at time of selection (PS), best performance ever (BPE) and best performance during the last year of the swimming career (LYP) were assessed by Rudolph scores ( Three different career paths were defined: a positive development path (PDP: PS <BPE=LYP), a negative development path (NDP: PS > BPE > LYP) and a non-successful path (NSP: PS <BPE > LYP). One-way ANOVA was used to determine the differences in performance between early, average and late maturity groups, between PDP, NDP and NSP groups and between swimmers within or outside the Flemish elite swimming school program.

Results: Low agreement was found between invasive and non-invasive assessments of maturation status (pairwise Cohen's Kappa: 0.13-0.31). Associations between maturity and performance indicators were higher in males compared to females, with advanced maturity related to better performance: e.g. CA-SA and best performance relationship (rmales=-0.66; P=0.005, rfemales=-0.47; p= 0.006). Early and average maturers showed higher anthropometric measures and better performance (P= 0.04-0.01) compared to late maturers. However, maturity status/measures at selection were not found to be different between swimmers of different career paths. Swimmers within the Flemish elite swimming school program were more advanced at time of selection (CA-SA= -0.92 ± 1.3 yr, compared to 0.25 ± 0.9 for other swimmers) and had higher performance scores.

Conclusions: Also in swimmers, early maturers' advances in growth and performance at time of selection were confirmed, with larger effects in males compared to females. Swimmers selected for the Flemish elite swimming school program were advanced in maturity although advanced maturity status per se was not predictive for a positive career development path.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildren and Exercise
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-82972-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013
Eventthe 28th Pediatric Work Physiology Meeting - , Portugal
Duration: 1 Oct 2013 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 28th Pediatric Work Physiology Meeting


Conferencethe 28th Pediatric Work Physiology Meeting
Period1/10/13 → …


  • Maturity
  • swimmers
  • khamis roche
  • Rudolph scores


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