Utilising the use of ergogenic aids to help adolescent swimmers maximise their performance.
Swimmers commonly ingest nutritional supplements to optimise competitive performance. However, this strategy is not often recommended for those under the age of 18. Despite this, performance enhancement in this age group is viewed with high importance with respect to future athletic careers.
This is reflected by a high prevalence of supplement use among young athletes that is often misinformed. This could place these individuals at risk of adverse events, such as health problems or doping violations.
Therefore, an assessment of the risks and benefits associated with supplement use in this age group is required.
This review focused on the ergogenic aids with strong evidence that they provide a performance benefit (caffeine, creatine, sodium bicarbonate, beta alanine and nitrates).
We aimed to discuss the optimal dosing strategies, the potential risks, and performance effects that have documented in the scientific literature so far.
This information can be used by young swimmers and coaches to ensure supplement use is informed, and that to mitigate the potential risks involved.
How has the research been carried out?
This was an extensive review of the literature published so far. We compiled the most relevant and up to date information and synthesised it into the current recommendations and best practice.
Within the recommended dosages, the use of ergogenic aids may be a viable nutritional strategy to enhance competitive performance in young swimmers (especially those at a very high level).
However, these should only be considered when other areas of sports nutrition (i.e. energy intake and macronutrient composition) have been maximised.
This knowledge can be used by young swimmers and confidently (and correctly) utilise ergogenic aids to maximise performance during important competitions.