The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships between velocity, stroke length, and stroke rate in freestyle competitive events in order to compare male and female swimmers' results and assess their relationships with anthropometric characteristics. Three hundred three male and 325 female swimmers of national and international levels were tested during competition. Solutions adopted in each freestyle event had specific characteristics affecting the stroke rate/stroke length ratio according to distance of the race. Differences in velocity between men and women primarily resulted from differences in stroke length. If the velocity and stroke rate/stroke length ratio depend on the distance swum and the sex of the swimmer, this survey shows the nondiscriminating aspect of anthropometric characteristics. Although swimmers achieved very similar velocity values with different combinations of stroke length and stroke rate, one must appreciate the average time and space characteristics currently used by the best male and female swimmers to optimize their performances.
P. Pelayo, M. Sidney, and T. Kherif are with Laboratoire d’ Etudes de la Motricité Humaine, Faculté des Sciences du Sport et de l’Education Physique, Université de Lille II, 9 rue de l’université, 59790 Ronchin, France. D. Chollet and C. Tourny are with Centre d’Optimisation de la Performance Motrice, UFR STAPS, Université de Montpellier, France.