Relationship Between Tethered Swimming in a Flume and Swimming Performance

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To study the relationship between tethered swimming in a flume at different speeds and swimming performance. Methods: Sixteen regional-level swimmers performed 25-, 50-, and 100-m front-crawl trials and four 30-s tethered-swimming tests at 0, 0.926, 1.124, and 1.389 m·s−1 water-flow velocities. Average and maximum force, average and maximum impulse, and intracyclic force variation (dF) were estimated for each tethered-swimming trial. Swimming velocity and intracyclic velocity variation (dv) were obtained for each free-swimming trial. Stroke rate and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were registered for all trials. Results: Tethered-swimming variables, both at 1.124 m·s−1 and at 1.389 m·s−1 water-flow velocities, were positively associated with 25-m swimming velocity (P < .05). Average force and maximum impulse in stationary swimming were significantly associated with 25-m swimming velocity (P < .05). A positive relationship between water-flow velocities with dF was observed. Swimming performance was not related to dF or dv. Neither stroke rate nor RPE differed between the 4 tethered conditions and mean 50-m free-swimming velocity (P > .05). Conclusions: Measuring force in a swimming flume at higher water-flow velocities is a better indicator of performance than stationary tethered swimming. It enables assessment of the ability to effectively apply force in the water.

Ruiz-Navarro and Arellano are with the Aquatics Lab, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Dept of Physical Education and Sports, University of Granada, Granada, Spain. Morouço is with the Laboratory of Biomechanics and Functional Morphology, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Human Performance (CIPER), University of Lisbon, Cruz Quebrada, Lisbon, Portugal, and the Dept of Human Kinetics, Polytechnic Inst of Leiria, Leiria, Portugal.

Arellano (r.arellano@ugr.es) is corresponding author.
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