Anthropometry for Swimming

The sport of swimming has many different disciplines and therefore different physical and physiological requirements depending on the events. In terms of body size and composition (anthropometry), swimmers are usually tall and relatively lean. Some level of body fat is not a hindrance as it can add to buoyancy in the water. The usual anthropometric measures for swimmers would include height, weight, sitting height, arm span, hand span, and body fat using skinfold measures.

Anthropometry and Olympic Athletes

London 2012 Olympic Games

Here is some information from the analysis of the anthropometric data (height, weight and age) from the aquatic sports participants at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The water polo players were the tallest, and with the swimmers were taller than the average Olympian. The other aquatics events are included for comparison.

Sport Age Height (cm) Weight (kg) BMI
OVERALL AVERAGE (all sports) 26.1 176.9 72.8 23.3
Swimming (all) 22.4 179.5 71.6 22.1
Swimming (females) 21.4 172.9 62.8 21.0
Swimming (males) 23.2 185.7 79.8 23.1
Synchronized Swimming (females only) 22.8 168.6 - -
Water Polo (all) 26.8 185.6 85.4 24.5
Water Polo (females) 24.2 175.5 69.8 22.6
Water Polo (males) 28.5 192.6 96.2 25.9
Diving (all) 22.9 165.5 59.8 21.7
Diving (females) 23.0 160.2 53.8 20.9
Diving (males) 22.9 170.8 66.0 22.6

Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Here is average data from the analysis of the anthropometric data of the aquatic sports participants at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

  Age (years) height (m) weight (kg) BMI
AVERAGE (all sports) 26.8 1.77 72.0 22.9
all Aquatics athletes 23.9 1.79 72.3 22.4
females 23.2 1.72 62.2 21.1
males 24.6 1.86 82.2 23.7

Olympic swimming champions in the 100m freestyle

We have also compared the anthropometric measurements of Olympic swimming champions in the 100m freestyle, showing how body size and shape has changed in elite sport over the last century.

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