Objective: To identify injuries and physical characteristics affecting swimmers’ performance. Design: Prospective study. Setting: Laboratory-based. Participants: Sixty-four Rio Olympic candidates (36 men, 28 women), who were high level swimmers ranked among the top 32 in the 2014 World Ranking in swimming. The participants were categorized into the Olympian group (n = 25), swimmers who were consecutively selected for the Olympic team, and the non-Olympian group (n = 39), swimmers who were not. Main outcome measures: Four months prior to the Olympic qualification in 2016, an orthopedist and two physical therapists evaluated injuries and 11 physical characteristics of the swimmers. The prevalence of total overuse injuries, shoulder and low back injury, and physical characteristics were compared between the two groups. Results: The female swimmers in the non-Olympian group had a 53.3% prevalence of total overuse injuries, which was significantly higher than that of those in the Olympian group with 15.4% (p = 0.037). The prevalence of total over use injuries in male swimmers in both the Olympian and non-Olympian groups was 41.7%. Female Olympian group showed that the shoulder external rotation range of motion was significantly less than that of non-Olympian group (97.8 ± 5.7 and 103.6 ± 7.3, p = 0.046). Conclusions: In female swimmers, total overuse injuries four months before an important competition influence their performance at the event.
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