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Ana Sousa, Pedro Figueiredo, David Pendergast, Per-Ludvik Kjendlie, João P. Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Swimming has become an important area of sport science research since the 1970s, with the bioenergetic factors assuming a fundamental performance-influencing role. The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical evaluation of the literature concerning oxygen-uptake (VO2) assessment in swimming, by describing the equipment and methods used and emphasizing the recent works conducted in ecological conditions. Particularly in swimming, due to the inherent technical constraints imposed by swimming in a water environment, assessment of VO2max was not accomplished until the 1960s. Later, the development of automated portable measurement devices allowed VO2max to be assessed more easily, even in ecological swimming conditions, but few studies have been conducted in swimming-pool conditions with portable breath-by-breath telemetric systems. An inverse relationship exists between the velocity corresponding to VO2max and the time a swimmer can sustain it at this velocity. The energy cost of swimming varies according to its association with velocity variability. As, in the end, the supply of oxygen (whose limitation may be due to central—O2 delivery and transportation to the working muscles—or peripheral factors—O2 diffusion and utilization in the muscles) is one of the critical factors that determine swimming performance, VO2 kinetics and its maximal values are critical in understanding swimmers’ behavior in competition and to develop efficient training programs.

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Jesús J. Ruiz-Navarro, Pedro G. Morouço and Raúl Arellano

, physiological variables in tethered swimming are not significantly different to free swimming of similar duration. 5 Still, there are kinematical differences between free swimming and tethered swimming, 10 especially in the first half of the aquatic path where the hand is oriented perpendicular earlier and

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Pedro G. Morouço, Tiago M. Barbosa, Raul Arellano and João P. Vilas-Boas

swimming, which has been used since it implies a similar use of all body structures 16 and muscle activity patterns 17 to free swimming. In addition, using a strain gauge makes it possible to assess force–time curves and to analyze and compare the upper limbs cycle profiles in a reliable manner. 18

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Gina B.D. Sacilotto, Nick Ball and Bruce R. Mason

Resistive or drag forces encountered during free swimming greatly influence the swim performance of elite competitive swimmers. The benefits in understanding the factors which affect the drag encountered will enhance performance within the sport. However, the current techniques used to experimentally measure or estimate drag values are questioned for their consistency, therefore limiting investigations in these factors. This paper aims to further understand how the resistive forces in swimming are measured and calculated. All techniques outlined demonstrate both strengths and weaknesses in the overall assessment of free swimming. By reviewing all techniques in this area, the reader should be able to select which one is best depending on what researchers want to gain from the testing.

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Elaine Tor, David L. Pease and Kevin A. Ball

During the underwater phase of the swimming start drag forces are constantly acting to slow the swimmer down. The current study aimed to quantify total drag force as well as the specific contribution of wave drag during the underwater phase of the swimming start. Swimmers were towed at three different depths (surface, 0.5 m, 1.0 m) and four speeds (1.6, 1.9, 2.0, 2.5 m·s–1), totaling 12 conditions. Wave drag and total drag were measured for each trial. Mixed modeling and plots were then used to determine the relationships between each towing condition and the amount of drag acting on the swimmer. The results of this study show large decreases in total drag as depth increases, regardless of speed (–19.7% at 0.5 m and –23.8% at 1.0 m). This is largely due to the significant reduction in wave drag as the swimmers traveled at greater depth. It is recommended that swimmers travel at least 0.5 m below the surface to avoid excessive drag forces. Swimmers should also perform efficient breakouts when transitioning into free swimming to reduce the duration spent just below the surface where drag values are reported at their highest.

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Danielle P. Formosa, Huub M. Toussaint, Bruce R. Mason and Brendan Burkett

The measurement of active drag in swimming is a biomechanical challenge. This research compared two systems: (i) measuring active drag (MAD) and (ii) assisted towing method (ATM). Nine intermediate-level swimmers (19.7 ± 4.4 years) completed front crawl trials with both systems during one session. The mean (95% confidence interval) active drag for the two systems, at the same maximum speed of 1.68 m/s (1.40–1.87 m/s), was significantly different (p = .002) with a 55% variation in magnitude. The mean active drag was 82.3 N (74.0–90.6 N) for the MAD system and 148.3 N (127.5–169.1 N) for the ATM system. These differences were attributed to variations in swimming style within each measurement system. The inability to measure the early catch phase and kick, along with the fixed length and depth hand place requirement within the MAD system generated a different swimming technique, when compared with the more natural free swimming ATM protocol. A benefit of the MAD system was the measurement of active drag at various speeds. Conversely, the fixed towing speed of the ATM system allowed a natural self-selected arm stroke (plus kick) and the generation of an instantaneous force-time profile.

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Carlos Augusto Kalva-Filho, Argyris Toubekis, Alessandro Moura Zagatto, Adelino Sanchez Ramos da Silva, João Paulo Loures, Eduardo Zapaterra Campos and Marcelo Papoti

determined by tethered swimming was related to both maximal lactate steady state ( 22 ) and free-swimming performance (eg, 100–400 m) ( 20 ). Thus, LT determination in tethered swimming represents an appropriate tool for the evaluation of swimmer’s aerobic potential, intensity prescription within training

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Luke Hogarth, Brendan Burkett, Peter Van de Vliet and Carl Payton

. The measurement of propulsive forces during free swimming is complex due to the aquatic environment. Computational fluid dynamics has been used to estimate many previously immeasurable quantities explaining the forces experienced by the body during swimming. 3 , 4 These models require accurate

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David Simbaña Escobar, Philippe Hellard, David B. Pyne and Ludovic Seifert

, turns, and finish. The effect of turns and starts on stroking parameters has also been observed during competitive swimming events. 11 – 13 In particular, Veiga and Roig 12 compared the free swimming and underwater speed after the start and turns for the 200 m at the FINA 2013 World Swimming

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Ana Gay, Gracia López-Contreras, Ricardo J. Fernandes and Raúl Arellano

. Therefore, as this study suggested, physiological responses could be reduced due to flume swimming (Table  1 ). Complementarily, RPE was higher in the swimming pool compared with the flume, probably due to differences in swimming strategies (free swimming in the pool, in which swimmers determine the