Pacing patterns in competitive rowing adopted in different race categories

Thomas Muehlbauer, Thomas Melges
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2011, 25 (5): 1293-8
Data from 7 World Rowing Championships between 2001 and 2009 were analyzed to determine the time distribution during 2,000-m heavyweight races (from 500-m quarter times) and to assess whether pacing patterns differ between boat classes (single vs. team boats) and qualifying rounds (heats vs. finals). Analyses of variance with repeated measures on quarter times revealed that pacing patterns in heat races were better described (i.e., higher amount of variance explained) by a linear trend line with a positive slope (women: η² = 0.76, men: η² = 0.68) but followed a quadratic trend line (parabolic-shaped pattern) during finals (women: η² = 0.81, men: η² = 0.60). Not using a spurt at the end of the heat races may indicate an attempt to conserve energy for subsequent rounds or reflect reduced effort made by losing crews or both aspects. In single boats, the pacing pattern was better represented by a linear trend line with a positive slope (women: η² = 0.76, men: η² = 0.68), but the amount of variance explained was virtually the same for both the linear and the quadratic trend component in team boats. The absence of a final spurt in single boat races suggests that the physiological status of the athlete plays an important role to control the timing and rate of decline in rowing speed.

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