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Conor D. Osborough, Carl J. Payton and Daniel J. Daly

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.

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Daniel J. Daly, Stefka K. Djobova, Laurie A. Malone, Yves Vanlandewijck and Robert D. Steadward

A video race analysis was conducted on 100-m freestyle performances of 72 male and 62 female finalists at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Races were won or lost in the second half of each 50-m race lap and differences in speed between swimmers were more related to stroke length than stroke rate. Within-race speed changes were more related to changes in stroke rate. Stroke rate changes were also responsible for speed changes between qualifying heats and finals in the first part of races, while stroke length was responsible for better speed maintenance at the end of races. Results indicate that Paralympic finalists use race speed patterns similar to able-bodied elite swimmers.

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Daniel J. Daly, Laurie A. Malone, David J. Smith, Yves Vanlandewijck and Robert D. Steadward

A video race analysis was conducted at the Atlanta Paralympic Games swimming competition. The purpose was to describe the contribution of clean swimming speed, as well as start, turn, and finish speed, to the total race performance in the four strokes for the men’s 100 m events. Start, turn, and finish times, as well as clean swimming speed during four race sections, were measured on videotapes during the preliminary heats (329 swims). Information on 1996 Olympic Games finalists (N = 16) was also available. In Paralympic swimmers, next to clean swimming speed, both turning and finishing were highly correlated with the end race result. Paralympic swimmers do start, turn, and finish slower than Olympic swimmers but in direct relation to their slower clean swimming speed. The race pattern of these components is not different between Paralympic and Olympic swimmers.

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Yves C. Vanlandewijck, Christina Evaggelinou, Daniel D. Daly, Siska Van Houtte, Joeri Verellen, Vanessa Aspeslagh, Robby Hendrickx, Tine Piessens and Bjorn Zwakhoven

The player classification system in wheelchair basketball (composed of four classes) is based on an analysis of players’ functional resources through game observation and field-testing. This study examines if the classes are in the correct proportion relative to each other. During the Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in Sydney 1998, 12 teams were videotaped for three 40-min games. Eighty-eight male players were retained for a detailed performance analysis by means of the Comprehensive Basketball Grading System (CBGS). Although a slight underestimation of the functional potential of Class II and III players was noted, it was concluded that the player classification system in wheelchair basketball proportionally represents the functional potential of the players.