Body Roll and Handpath in Freestyle Swimming: An Experimental Study

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Qi Liu
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James G. Hay
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James G. Andrews
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The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of (a) body roll, and (b) the motion of the arm relative to the trunk, on the medial-lateral component of the path followed by the hand during the pull phase in freestyle swimming. Ten male swimmers swam three trials of freestyle at a long-distance workout pace. Three-dimensional (3D) underwater videography was used to record the body roll angle-time history and the path followed by the hand during the pull phase. A mathematical model was used to characterize the motion of a swimmer's right upper limb in accord with 3D data from the videotape images, and to determine what the path of the hand would have been as a result of body roll alone. The contribution of body roll to the actual handpath was found to be nearly equal to the contribution of medial-lateral motions of the hand relative to the trunk.

Qi Liu is with Nike Sport Research Laboratory, Nike Inc., Beaverton, OR 97005-6453. James G. Hay is with the Department of Exercise Science and James G. Andrews is with the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Exercise Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1111.

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