Backstroke Swimming: Exploring Gender Differences in Passive Drag and Instantaneous Net Drag Force

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 University of the Sunshine Coast
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This study explored and quantified gender differences in passive drag and instantaneous net drag force profile for elite backstroke swimmers (FINA points 938 ± 71). Nine female and ten male backstroke swimmers completed eight maximum speed trials. During the passive drag condition participants were towed at the speed achieved within the maximum effort backstroke swimming trials, while holding a supine stationary streamline position. The remaining trials, swimmers performed their natural swimming stroke, while attached to an assisted towing device. Male participant’s passive (P < .001) and mean net drag force (P < .001) were significantly higher compared with female participants. In addition, there were no significant differences by gender between either the minimum or maximum net drag forces produced during the left and right arm strokes. Instantaneous net drag force profiles demonstrated differences within and between individuals and genders. The swimmers who recorded the fastest speed also recorded the smallest difference in net drag force fluctuations. The instantaneous net drag force profile within elite backstroke swimming provides further insight into stroke technique of this sport.

Danielle P. Formosa (Corresponding Author) is with the Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia. Mark Gregory Leigh Sayers is with the School of Health and Sport Science, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia. Brendan Burkett is with the Centre for Healthy Activities, Sport and Exercise, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia.