The aim of this study was to investigate the status and playing position differences in anthropometric measures and specific physical fitness in high-level junior water polo players.
The sample of subjects comprised 110 water polo players (17 to 18 years of age), including one of the world's best national junior teams for 2010. The subjects were divided according to their playing positions into: Centers (N = 16), Wings (N = 28), perimeter players (Drivers; N = 25), Points (N = 19), and Goalkeepers (N = 18). The variables included body height, body weight, body mass index, arm span, triceps- and subscapular-skinfold. Specific physical fitness tests comprised: four swimming tests, namely: 25m, 100m, 400m and a specific anaerobic 4×50m test (average result achieved in four 50m sprints with a 30 sec pause), vertical body jump (JUMP; maximal vertical jump from the water starting from a water polo defensive position) and a dynamometric power achieved in front crawl swimming (DYN).
ANOVA with post-hoc comparison revealed significant differences between positions for most of the anthropometrics, noting that the Centers were the heaviest and had the highest BMI and subscapular skinfold. The Points achieved the best results in most of the swimming capacities and JUMP test. No significant group differences were found for the 100m and 4×50m tests. The Goalkeepers achieved the lowest results for DYN.
Given the representativeness of the sample of subjects, the results of this study allow specific insights into the physical fitness and anthropometric features of high-level junior water polo players and allow coaches to design a specific training program aimed at achieving the physical fitness results presented for each playing position.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.