Hydrodynamic Drag during Gliding in Swimming

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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This study used a computational fluid dynamics methodology to analyze the effect of body position on the drag coefficient during submerged gliding in swimming. The k-epsilon turbulent model implemented in the commercial code Fluent and applied to the flow around a three-dimensional model of a male adult swimmer was used. Two common gliding positions were investigated: a ventral position with the arms extended at the front, and a ventral position with the arms placed along side the trunk. The simulations were applied to flow velocities of between 1.6 and 2.0 m·s−1, which are typical of elite swimmers when gliding underwater at the start and in the turns. The gliding position with the arms extended at the front produced lower drag coefficients than with the arms placed along the trunk. We therefore recommend that swimmers adopt the arms in front position rather than the arms beside the trunk position during the underwater gliding.

Marinho is with the University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal; the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal; and the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, Vila Real, Portugal. Reis is with the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal, and the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, Vila Real, Portugal. Alves is with the Faculty of Human Kinetics, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal. Vilas-Boas is with the Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal. Machado is with the Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal. Silva is with the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal, and the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, Vila Real, Portugal. Rouboa is with the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.