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Are Oxygen Uptake Kinetics Modified When Using a Respiratory Snorkel?

Joana F. Reis, Gregoire P. Millet, Davide Malatesta, Belle Roels, Fabio Borrani, Veronica E. Vleck, and Francisco B. Alves


The aim of this study was to compare VO2 kinetics during constant power cycle exercise measured using a conventional facemask (CM) or a respiratory snorkel (RS) designed for breath-by-breath analysis in swimming.


VO2 kinetics parameters—obtained using CM or RS, in randomized counterbalanced order—were compared in 10 trained triathletes performing two submaximal heavy-intensity cycling square-wave transitions. These VO2 kinetics parameters (ie, time delay: td1, td2; time constant: τ1, τ2; amplitude: A1, A2, for the primary phase and slow component, respectively) were modeled using a double exponential function. In the case of the RS data, this model incorporated an individually determined snorkel delay (ISD).


Only td1 (8.9 ± 3.0 vs 13.8 ± 1.8 s, P < .01) differed between CM and RS, whereas all other parameters were not different (τ1 = 24.7 ± 7.6 vs 21.1 ± 6.3 s; A1 = 39.4 ± 5.3 vs 36.8 ± 5.1 mL·min−1·kg−1; td = 107.5 ± 87.4 vs 183.5 ± 75.9 s; A2' (relevant slow component amplitude) = 2.6 ± 2.4 vs 3.1 ± 2.6 mL·min−1·kg−1 for CM and RS, respectively).


Although there can be a small mixture of breaths allowed by the volume of the snorkel in the transition to exercise, this does not appear to significantly influence the results. Therefore, given the use of an ISD, the RS is a valid instrument for the determination of VO2 kinetics within submaximal exercise.

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Hydrodynamic Drag during Gliding in Swimming

Daniel A. Marinho, Victor M. Reis, Francisco B. Alves, João P. Vilas-Boas, Leandro Machado, António J. Silva, and Abel I. Rouboa

This study used a computational fluid dynamics methodology to analyze the effect of body position on the drag coefficient during submerged gliding in swimming. The k-epsilon turbulent model implemented in the commercial code Fluent and applied to the flow around a three-dimensional model of a male adult swimmer was used. Two common gliding positions were investigated: a ventral position with the arms extended at the front, and a ventral position with the arms placed along side the trunk. The simulations were applied to flow velocities of between 1.6 and 2.0 m·s−1, which are typical of elite swimmers when gliding underwater at the start and in the turns. The gliding position with the arms extended at the front produced lower drag coefficients than with the arms placed along the trunk. We therefore recommend that swimmers adopt the arms in front position rather than the arms beside the trunk position during the underwater gliding.

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Three-Dimensional CFD Analysis of the Hand and Forearm in Swimming

Daniel A. Marinho, António J. Silva, Victor M. Reis, Tiago M. Barbosa, João P. Vilas-Boas, Francisco B. Alves, Leandro Machado, and Abel I. Rouboa

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°.

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Swimming Propulsion Forces Are Enhanced by a Small Finger Spread

Daniel A. Marinho, Tiago M. Barbosa, Victor M. Reis, Per L. Kjendlie, Francisco B. Alves, João P. Vilas-Boas, Leandro Machado, António J. Silva, and Abel I. Rouboa

The main aim of this study was to investigate the effect of finger spread on the propulsive force production in swimming using computational fluid dynamics. Computer tomography scans of an Olympic swimmer hand were conducted. This procedure involved three models of the hand with differing finger spreads: fingers closed together (no spread), fingers with a small (0.32 cm) spread, and fingers with large (0.64 cm) spread. Steady-state computational fluid dynamics analyses were performed using the Fluent code. The measured forces on the hand models were decomposed into drag and lift coefficients. For hand models, angles of attack of 0°, 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75°, and 90°, with a sweep back angle of 0°, were used for the calculations. The results showed that the model with a small spread between fingers presented higher values of drag coefficient than did the models with fingers closed and fingers with a large spread. One can note that the drag coefficient presented the highest values for an attack angle of 90° in the three hand models. The lift coefficient resembled a sinusoidal curve across the attack angle. The values for the lift coefficient presented few differences among the three models, for a given attack angle. These results suggested that fingers slightly spread could allow the hand to create more propulsive force during swimming.