The performances of 335 male and female swimmers competing in 50-, 100-, and 200-m freestyle events at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games were videotaped and analyzed to determine stroke length (SL), stroke rate (SR), starting time (ST), turning times (TI = turn in, TO = turn out), finishing (end) time (ET), and average velocity (AV); relationships were then determined among these variables in addition to height, weight, age, and final time (FT). Differences were subsequently assessed within and among the events, and comparisons were made between male and female performances. ST, TI, TO, ET, and SL were identified as principal components of successful swimming performance at each distance. Results revealed statistically significant correlations between factors for all events. The men were older and taller; possessed longer stroke lengths; and started, turned, and swam faster than the women. As the race distance increased from 50 to 200 m, ST, TI, TO, SL, and ET increased for both men and women, while age, SR, and AV decreased.
Raul Arellano, Peter Brown, Jane Cappaert and Richard C. Nelson
Ana Gay, Gracia López-Contreras, Ricardo J. Fernandes and Raúl Arellano
Purpose: To observe changes in performance, physiological, and general kinematic variables induced by the use of wetsuits vs swimsuits in both swimming-pool and swimming-flume conditions. Methods: In a randomized and counterbalanced order, 33 swimmers (26.46 [11.72] y old) performed 2 × 400-m maximal front crawl in a 25-m swimming pool (with wetsuit and swimsuit), and their mean velocities were used later in 2 swimming-flume trials with both suits. Velocity, blood lactate concentration, heart rate (HR), Borg scale (rating of perceived exertion), stroke rate, stroke length (SL), stroke index, and propelling efficiency were evaluated. Results: The 400-m performance in the swimming pool was 0.07 m·s−1 faster when using the wetsuit than when using the swimsuit, evidencing a reduction of ∼6% in time elapsed (P < .001). Maximal HR, maximal blood lactate concentration, rating of perceived exertion, stroke rate, and propelling efficiency were similar when using both swimsuits, but SL and stroke index presented higher values with the wetsuit in both the swimming pool and the swimming flume. Comparing swimming conditions, maximal HR and maximal blood lactate concentration were lower, and SL, stroke index, and propelling efficiency were higher when swimming in the flume than when swimming in the pool with both suits. Conclusions: The 6% velocity improvement was the result of an increase of 4% in SL. Swimmers reduced stroke rate and increased SL to benefit from the hydrodynamic reduction of the wetsuit and increase their swimming efficiency. Wetsuits might be utilized during training seasons to improve adaptations while swimming.
Pedro G. Morouço, Tiago M. Barbosa, Raul Arellano and João P. Vilas-Boas
Context: In front-crawl swimming, the upper limbs perform alternating movements with the aim of achieving a continuous application of force in the water, leading to lower intracyclic velocity variation (dv). This parameter has been identified as a crucial criterion for swimmers’ evaluation. Purpose: To examine the assessment of intracyclic force variation (dF) and to analyze its relationship with dv and swimming performance. Methods: A total of 22 high-level male swimmers performed a maximal-effort 50-m front-crawl time trial and a 30-s maximal-effort fully tethered swimming test, which were randomly assigned. Instantaneous velocity was obtained by a speedometer and force by a strain-gauge system. Results: Similarity was observed between the tests, with dF attaining much higher magnitudes than dv (P < .001; d = 8.89). There were no differences in stroke rate or in physiological responses between tethered and free swimming, with a high level of agreement for the stroke rate and blood lactate increase. Swimming velocity presented a strong negative linear relationship with dF (r = −.826, P < .001) and a moderate negative nonlinear relationship with dv (r = .734, P < .01). With the addition of the maximum impulse to dF, multiple-regression analysis explained 83% of the free-swimming performance. Conclusions: Assessing dF is a promising approach for evaluating a swimmer’s performance. From the experiments, this new parameter showed that swimmers with higher dF also present higher dv, leading to a decrease in performance.