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Women Outperform Men in Ultra-Distance Swimming - The 'Manhattan Island Marathon Swim' From 1983 to 2013


Knechtle, Beat; Rosemann, Thomas; Lepers, Romuald; Rüst, Christoph Alexander (2014). Women Outperform Men in Ultra-Distance Swimming - The 'Manhattan Island Marathon Swim' From 1983 to 2013. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 9(6):913-924.

Abstract

PURPOSE: Recent studies suggested that women and men's ultra-swim performances may be similar for distances of ~35 km. The present study investigated both the gender difference and the age of peak ultra-swim performance between 1983 and 2013 at the 46-km 'Manhattan Island Marathon Swim' with water temperatures <20°C.

METHODS: Changes in race times and gender difference in 551 male and 237 female finishers were investigated using linear, non-linear, and hierarchical multi-level regression analyses.

RESULTS: The top ten race times ever were significantly (P<0.0001) lower for women (371±11 min) than for men (424±9 min). Race times of the annual fastest and annual three fastest women and men did not differ between genders and remained stable across years. The age of the annual three fastest swimmer increased from 28±4 years (1983) to 38±6 years (2013) (r2=0.06, P=0.03) in women and from 23±4 years (1984) to 42±8 years (2013) (r2=0.19, P<0.0001) in men.

CONCLUSIONS: The best women were ~12-14% faster than the best men in a 46-km open-water ultra-distance race with temperatures <20°C. The maturity of ultra-distance swimmers has changed during the last decades with the fastest swimmers becoming older across the years.

Abstract

PURPOSE: Recent studies suggested that women and men's ultra-swim performances may be similar for distances of ~35 km. The present study investigated both the gender difference and the age of peak ultra-swim performance between 1983 and 2013 at the 46-km 'Manhattan Island Marathon Swim' with water temperatures <20°C.

METHODS: Changes in race times and gender difference in 551 male and 237 female finishers were investigated using linear, non-linear, and hierarchical multi-level regression analyses.

RESULTS: The top ten race times ever were significantly (P<0.0001) lower for women (371±11 min) than for men (424±9 min). Race times of the annual fastest and annual three fastest women and men did not differ between genders and remained stable across years. The age of the annual three fastest swimmer increased from 28±4 years (1983) to 38±6 years (2013) (r2=0.06, P=0.03) in women and from 23±4 years (1984) to 42±8 years (2013) (r2=0.19, P<0.0001) in men.

CONCLUSIONS: The best women were ~12-14% faster than the best men in a 46-km open-water ultra-distance race with temperatures <20°C. The maturity of ultra-distance swimmers has changed during the last decades with the fastest swimmers becoming older across the years.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of General Practice
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:15 Apr 2014 12:52
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:49
Publisher:Human Kinetics
ISSN:1555-0265
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2013-0375
PubMed ID:24584647

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