The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships between swimming speed (SS), stroke length (SL), and stroke frequency (SF) for competitive single-arm amputee front crawl swimmers and assess their relationships with anthropometric characteristics. Thirteen highly trained swimmers (3 male, 10 female) were filmed underwater from a lateral view during seven increasingly faster 25-m front crawl trials. Increases in SS (above 75% of maximum SS) were achieved by a 5% increase in SF, which coincided with a 2% decrease in SL. At SSmax, interswimmer correlations showed that SF was significantly related to SS (r = .72; p < .01) whereas SL was not. Moderate but nonsignificant correlations suggested that faster swimmers did not necessarily use longer and slower strokes to swim at a common submaximal speed when compared with their slower counterparts. No correlations existed between SL and any anthropometric characteristics. Biacromial breadth, shoulder girth, and upper-arm length all significantly correlated with the SF used at SSmax. These findings imply that as a consequence of being deprived of an important propelling limb, at fast swimming speeds SF is more important than SL in influencing the performance outcome of these single-arm amputee swimmers.
Osborough is with the School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom, and the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Alsager, United Kingdom. Payton is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Alsager, United Kingdom. Daly is with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.