Biomechanical Factors Influencing Breaststroke Turns by Age-Group Swimmers

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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Because turning can account for one-third of breaststroke race time in 25 m pools, it is possible that enhancing turning techniques can improve performance significantly. Underwater video cameras and a force platform were used to analyze turning techniques of 23 age-group breaststrokers during three 50 m push-start, maximum-effort swims. The criterion measure was the time elapsed between passing the 5 m mark on the approach and departure from the wall (5 m round-trip time [RTT]). Correlations revealed significant commonality of variance (p < .01) between the 5 m RTT and the 2.5 m RTT, 50 m time, average single-stroke velocity, peak reaction force, pivot time, impulse, peak horizontal velocity off the wall, arm and leg split-stroke resumption distances, surfacing distance, surfacing time, and horizontal velocity, height, and mass of the subjects. All swimmers achieved a net gain at the turn in that the mean 5 m RTT (20% of the distance) represented 18.26% of the total swimming time. Following stepwise regression, a successful turn was predicted by the equation 17.113 - 0.322 surfacing distance - 0.036 height - 0.723 surfacing horizontal velocity + 0.723 pivot time - 0.65 peak horizontal velocity.

Brian A. Blanksby, Jennifer R. Simpson, and Bruce C. Elliott are with the Department of Human Movement, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands WA 6907, Australia. Keith McElroy is with the School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, P.O. Box 663, Ballarat, Victoria, 3353 Australia.