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Limit to improvement in running and swimming


  • Yu Sang Chang
  • Seung Jin Baek


Can human performance continue to improve indefinitely? Or improvement will eventually slow down due to the existence of maximum limit? In this paper, the world records of 61 sport events in running and swimming through the last hundred years have been analysed to answer the question about the limit of human performance. The maximum limit for individual sport event has been estimated by the use of non-linear regression models. A new concept of 'time to limit' is developed to measure the number of years to reach the maximum limit. The averaged 'time to limit' for the 61 sport events is calculated in the range of 7.48 to 10.55 years. This study concludes with a number of policy implications for the local and national sport associations as well as for the international rule-setting federations. This study concludes that the time to limit projection made in this report is likely to be altered by the future rule changes to be made by the international federations.

Suggested Citation

  • Yu Sang Chang & Seung Jin Baek, 2011. "Limit to improvement in running and swimming," International Journal of Applied Management Science, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(1), pages 97-120.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:injams:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:97-120

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