Study Indicates Watching Olympic Videos Can Positively Affect Swimmer Performance

A recent study indicates that watching Olympic videos prior to training can have a positive impact on swimmer performance.

The study, published in 2022 in Research Quarterly for Excercise and Sport, was designed to investigate the affect using social media can have on swimmer performance, but resulted in a different set of findings.

The Study

  • Title: “Does Social Media Use on Smartphones Influence Endurance, Power, and Swimming Performance in High-Level Swimmers?”
  • Females only
  • 22 swimmers with an average of 5.6 years of experience
  • Eight weeks
  • Training 8-12 sessions per week (15.9 ± 1.6 hours)

The “control group” in the study watched 30 minutes of “videos about the Olympic Games” prior to each training session, while the “smartphone” group used social media apps for 30 minutes before training.

The study measured swimming performance in the 50, 100 and 400 freestyle, along with inhibitory control (stroop test), endurance (“tethered swimming”) and countermovement jump (vertical jump).

The Findings

Both groups improved their countermovement jump, while the group that watched the Olympic videos also saw improvements in the 100 free, 400 free, endurance performance and the inhibitory control response after the eight weeks.

“Control Group” Improvements

  • 100 freestyle – p=.02
  • 400 freestyle – p=.01
  • Endurance – p=.01
  • Inhibitory Control Response – p=.01

p=.01 indicates that there is a 1% chance the affects of the stimulus would have occurred by random chance.

Neither group saw any discernible improvement in the 50 free, while the smartphone group didn’t see any noticeable change across any of the metrics other than the countermovement jump.

The study concludes in its Abstract that “the repeated effect of social media on smartphones immediately before swimming training sessions might reduce or nullify training gains on swimming and endurance performance.”

However, the real takeaway seems to be the fact that watching videos about the Olympics (or any sport-specific type of video) prior to workouts can have a positive affect on training and ultimately performance.

You can find the full study here.

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Benjamin Keast
1 month ago

Hi James, Really appreciated seeing a summary of a research articles on the platform. Kudos also for selecting a study that focuses on female athletes. Hope you’re attending ASCA this year. If you are, I recommend bringing your research-related questions to Dr. Seiler – he’ll be worth the price of admission. Keep up the great work!

Comfy Pants
1 month ago

Anecdotally, swim team registrations get a boost following the Olympics for sure.

Asher Green
1 month ago


Reply to  Asher Green
1 month ago

Inspiration, similar to the artists seeing or hearing an inspiring piece

Last edited 1 month ago by alex

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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