Ten male collegiate swimmers (age = 20.2 ± 1.4 years, height = 184.6 ± 5.8 cm, mass = 82.9 ± 9.3 kg) performed 3 swimming relay step starts, which incorporated a one or two-step approach, and a no-step relay start. Time to 10 m was not significantly shorter between step and no-step starts. A double-step start increased horizontal takeoff velocity by 0.2 m/s. A single-step together start decreased vertical takeoff velocity by 0.2 m/s but increased takeoff height by 0.16 m. Subjects were more upright at takeoff by 4°, 2°, and 5° in the double-step, single-step apart, and single-step together starts, respectively, than in the no-step start. Entry angle was steeper by 2°, entry orientation was steeper by 3°, and entry vertical velocity was faster by 0.3 m/s in the single-step together start. Restricting step length by 50% had little effect on step starts with the exceptions that horizontal velocity was significantly reduced by 0.1 m/s in the double-step start and vertical takeoff velocity was increased by 0.2 m/s in the single-step together start. These data suggested that step starts offered some performance improvements over the no-step start, but these improvements were not widespread and, in the case of the double-step start, were dependent on the ability to take longer steps.
S.P. McLean and M.J. Holthe are with the Department of Health and Human Performance at Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. P.F. Vint is with Research Integrations, Inc., 9180 S. Kyrene Rd., Suite 117, Tempe, AZ 85284. K.D. Beckett is with the Physical Education Department at the College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 44691. R.N. Hinrichs is with the Department of Exercise Science and Physical Education at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287.