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The purpose of this study was to analyze the hydrodynamic characteristics of a realistic model of an elite swimmer hand/forearm using three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics techniques. A three-dimensional domain was designed to simulate the fluid flow around a swimmer hand and forearm model in different orientations (0°, 45°, and 90° for the three axes Ox, Oy and Oz). The hand/forearm model was obtained through computerized tomography scans. Steady-state analyses were performed using the commercial code Fluent. The drag coefficient presented higher values than the lift coefficient for all model orientations. The drag coefficient of the hand/forearm model increased with the angle of attack, with the maximum value of the force coefficient corresponding to an angle of attack of 90°. The drag coefficient obtained the highest value at an orientation of the hand plane in which the model was directly perpendicular to the direction of the flow. An important contribution of the lift coefficient was observed at an angle of attack of 45°, which could have an important role in the overall propulsive force production of the hand and forearm in swimming phases, when the angle of attack is near 45°.

Daniel A. Marinho is with the University of Beira Interior. Sport Sciences Department, Covilhã, Portugal, and the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, Vila Real, Portugal). António J. Silva is with the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, Vila Real, Portugal, and the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal. Victor M. Reis is with the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, Vila Real, Portugal, and the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal. Tiago M. Barbosa is with the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, Vila Real, Portugal and the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Bragança, Portugal. João P. Vilas-Boas is with the Faculty of Sport/CIFI2D, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal. Francisco B. Alves is with the Faculty of Human Kinetics. Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal. Leandro Machado is with the Faculty of Sport/CIFI2D, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal. Abel I. Rouboa (Corresponding Author) is with the Centre for Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biology Sciences at UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal, and the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Philadelphia, USA.