Cardiac dimensions and physical profile of masters level swimmers

P. D. Swan, D. L. Spitler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Physical characteristics, physical activity patterns and cardiac dimensions of 18 men and 13 women masters swimmers were measured. Subjects consisted of swimmers aged 30-78 years who were competing in a regional invitational swim meet. Anthropometric measures for height, weight, body surface area (BSA), and skinfold thickness indicated no deviation from age or gender characteristics found in the general population. The swimmers averaged 21.0 ± 16.9 total years swimming, 11.0 ± 9.6 years competitive swimming, and 5.3 ± 2.4 hours of swimming per week. Subjective reporting of the swimmer's habitual physical activity patterns (PAI) revealed that both the men and women considered their levels as moderate to high. Resting heart rate and blood pressure were within the normal ranges. Left ventricular size was measured by both electrocardiography and echocardiography. Cardiac dimensions were significantly (p<0.05) larger in the men than the women. Left ventricular posterior wall thickness (LVPWT) of the women was 7.1 ± 0.8 mm and 7.9 ± 1.0 mm for the men. Left ventricular end diastolic diameter (LVEDD) was 43.5 ± 3.8 mm for the women and 50.6 ± 5.7 for the men, with the men showing evidence of borderline physiological hypertrophic dimensions. LVEDD was significantly correlated to BSA (0.66) while LVPWT was only moderately correlated to PAI (-0.46). Measures of cardiac dimensions were not significantly related to age. The results of this study indicate that moderately active male masters swimmers demonstrate a trend toward eccentric hypertrophy which is probably more related to body size than to age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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