The current study analyzed historical performance data in order to contribute to the understanding of the development of elite athletes. Data for elite adult and youth swimmers from 1962 to 2007 were employed to identify changes in American swimming records and in the performances of elite American youth swimmers. Over this period, 11 of the 12 men's and women's American records analyzed are improving at an ever slowing rate. This trend parallels the resultant analyses herein from elite youth swimmers, suggesting a possible limit to reaching elite athletic performance. Unique gender differences by event for both elite adult and youth swimmers were also revealed. Results imply that genotype plays a role in elite athletic performance. Additionally, possible reasons and ramifications of these findings are proffered.
JQAS, an official journal of the American Statistical Association, publishes research on the quantitative aspects of professional and collegiate sports. Articles deal with subjects as measurements of player performance, tournament structure, and the frequency and occurrence of records. Additionally, the journal serves as an outlet for professionals in the sports world to raise issues and ask questions that relate to quantitative sports analysis.