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Yuji Matsuda, Yoshihisa Sakurai, Keita Akashi and Yasuyuki Kubo

approximately 10% during front crawl swimming. Thus, practical CoM velocity estimation methods, using a minimal effort, are needed for the analysis of front crawl swimming. During the front crawl, swimmers move their right and left arms alternately, and the velocity of the arm movement in swimming direction is

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Sacha M. Bradley, Helen E. Parker and Brian A. Blanksby

The Modified Erbaugh Rating Scale–Front Crawl (MERS-F) (a rating scale for assessing stages of front-crawl swimming patterns) was used to measure performance change by 6-year-old male and female beginner swimmers participating in either 10 daily (Group D) or 10 weekly (Group W) lessons. The MERS-F was found to be a relatively objective (r = .98) and moderately valid (r = .78) assessment instrument. The maximal front-crawl skill rating of each lesson was subjected to a three-way ANOVA (Group × Gender × Lesson–repeated), which revealed that (a) the rate of improvement was the same for daily and weekly lesson schedules despite the higher performance rating for children in the daily lessons throughout; (b) front-crawl swimming skill increased significantly for both groups after the third of 10 lessons; and (c) there was no significant difference in the performance of boys and girls (p < .05).

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Toshimasa Yanai

This study was conducted to describe the kinematics of bodyroll and investigate whether bodyroll was propelled primarily by the turning effect of the fluid forces (external torque) or by the reaction effect due to the acceleration of the limbs. The performances of 11 competitive swimmers were recorded using two panning periscopes, and the three-dimensional movement of the subjects was reconstructed from digitized video recordings. The external torque acting on the whole body was determined as the first time-derivative of the angular momentum of the whole body. The reaction effect of limb acceleration was determined as the first time-derivative of the angular momenta of the limbs. Shoulder roll and hip roll angles changed synchronously with the stroke frequency but their amplitudes were substantially different, indicating that the bodyroll consisted of a roll of the entire torso and a twist of the torso. The overall contribution of the external torque was to propel bodyroll, while that of the reaction effects of limb accelerations was to resist bodyroll. These results clearly indicate that the primary source for propelling bodyroll was the external torque. Implications towards the mechanical interactions among bodyroll, stroke frequency, and forward propulsion in front crawl swimming were discussed.

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Fabrício de Mello Vitor and Maria Tereza Silveira Böhme

Youth swimming performance may be influenced by anthropometric, physiology and technical factors. The present paper examined the role of these factors in performance of 100m freestyle in swimmers 12–14 years of age (n = 24). Multiple regression analysis (forward method) was used to examine the variance of the 100 meters front crawl. Anaerobic power, swimming index and critical speed explained 88% (p < .05) of the variance in the average speed of 100 meters front crawl among young male pubertal swimmers. To conclude, performance of young swimmers in the 100 meters front crawl is determined predominantly by physiological factors and swimming technique.

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Tanghuizi Du, Ikumi Narita and Toshimasa Yanai

Low back pain is a common problem among competitive swimmers, and repeated torso hyperextension is claimed to be an etiological factor. The purpose of this study was to describe the three-dimensional torso configurations in the front crawl stroke and to test the hypothesis that swimmers experience torso hyperextension consistently across the stroke cycles. Nineteen collegiate swimmers underwent 2 measurements: a measurement of the active range of motion in 3 dimensions and a measurement of tethered front crawl stroke at their maximal effort. Torso extension beyond the active range of torso motion was defined as torso hyperextension. The largest torso extension angle exhibited during the stroke cycles was 9 ± 11° and it was recorded at or around 0.02 ± 0.08 s, the instant at which the torso attained the largest twist angle. No participant hyperextended the torso consistently across the stroke cycles and subjects exhibited torso extension angles during tethered front crawl swimming that were much less than their active range of motion. Therefore, our hypothesis was rejected, and the data suggest that repeated torso hyperextension during front crawl strokes should not be claimed to be the major cause of the high incidence of low back pain in swimmers.

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Ana Silva, Pedro Figueiredo, Susana Soares, Ludovic Seifert, João Paulo Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Our aim was to characterize front crawl swimming performed at very high intensity by young practitioners. 114 swimmers 11–13 years old performed 25 m front crawl swimming at 50 m pace. Two underwater cameras was used to assess general biomechanical parameters (velocity, stroke rate, stroke length and stroke index) and interarm coordination (Index of Coordination), being also identified each front crawl stroke phase. Swimmers presented lower values in all biomechanical parameters than data presented in studies conducted with older swimmers, having the postpubertal group closest values to adult literature due to their superior anthropometric and maturational characteristics. Boys showed higher velocity and stroke index than girls (as reported for elite swimmers), but higher stroke rate than girls (in opposition to what is described for adults). In addition, when considering the total sample, a higher relationship was observed between velocity and stroke length (than with stroke rate), indicating that improving stroke length is a fundamental skill to develop in these ages. Furthermore, only catch-up coordination mode was adopted (being evident a lag time between propulsion of the arms), and the catch and the pull phases presented the highest and smallest durations, respectively.

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Vassilios Gourgoulis, Nikolaos Aggeloussis, Georgios Mavridis, Alexia Boli, Panagiotis Kasimatis, Nikolaos Vezos, Argyris Toubekis, Panagiotis Antoniou and Georgios Mavrommatis

The purpose of the current study was to investigate the acute effect of sprint resisted front crawl swimming on the propulsive forces of the hand. Eight female swimmers swam 25 m with maximal intensity, with and without added resistance. A bowl with a capacity of 2.2, 4 and 6 L was used as low, moderate and high added resistance, respectively. The underwater motion of the swimmer’s right hand was recorded using 4 cameras (60 Hz) and the digitization was undertaken using the Ariel Performance Analysis System. Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed that the velocity of the hand, the pitch and the sweepback angles of the hand, as well as the magnitude and the relative contribution of the drag and lift forces were not significantly modified and thus the magnitude of the resultant force did not change. Moreover, the magnitude of the effective force, as well as the angle formed between the resultant force and the axis of the swimming propulsion were not significantly affected. Thus, it could be concluded that resistance added as in this study did not alter the pattern of the propulsive hand forces associated with front crawl sprinting.

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Kelly de Jesus, Ross Sanders, Karla de Jesus, João Ribeiro, Pedro Figueiredo, João P. Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes


Coaches are often challenged to optimize swimmers’ technique at different training and competition intensities, but 3-dimensional (3D) analysis has not been conducted for a wide range of training zones.


To analyze front-crawl 3D kinematics and interlimb coordination from low to severe swimming intensities.


Ten male swimmers performed a 200-m front crawl at 7 incrementally increasing paces until exhaustion (0.05-m/s increments and 30-s intervals), with images from 2 cycles in each step (at the 25- and 175-m laps) being recorded by 2 surface and 4 underwater video cameras. Metabolic anaerobic threshold (AnT) was also assessed using the lactate-concentration–velocity curve-modeling method.


Stroke frequency increased, stroke length decreased, hand and foot speed increased, and the index of interlimb coordination increased (within a catch-up mode) from low to severe intensities (P ≤ .05) and within the 200-m steps performed above the AnT (at or closer to the 4th step; P ≤ .05). Concurrently, intracyclic velocity variations and propelling efficiency remained similar between and within swimming intensities (P > .05).


Swimming intensity has a significant impact on swimmers’ segmental kinematics and interlimb coordination, with modifications being more evident after the point when AnT is reached. As competitive swimming events are conducted at high intensities (in which anaerobic metabolism becomes more prevalent), coaches should implement specific training series that lead swimmers to adapt their technique to the task constraints that exist in nonhomeostatic race conditions.

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Carl Payton, Vasilios Baltzopoulos and Roger Bartlett

The purpose of this study was to present a method of determining the contributions made by rotations of the trunk and upper extremity to hand velocity during the front crawl pull, and to illustrate this with an example. Six male swimmers performed front crawl trials at their middle distance pace (1.52 ± 0.12 m.s−1). Their underwater arm stroke was recorded from the front and side using video cameras suspended over periscope systems. Recordings were digitized at 50 Hz and the 3-D coordinates of the upper extremity were obtained using a DLT algorithm. Shoulder kinematics (flexion/extension, transverse abduction/adduction, internal/external rotation) and elbow kinematics (flexion/extension) were then calculated. Trunk roll kinematics were obtained by digitizing above-water video recordings of a fin attached to each swimmer’s back. The contribution of each body segment rotation to hand velocity was computed using |ɷ × r| cos ϕ, where ɷ was the segment’s angular velocity, r was the position vector of the hand from the segment’s axis of rotation, and ϕ was the angle between hand velocity v hand/pool and v (where v = ɷ × r). Analysis revealed that shoulder extension was the joint motion primarily responsible for producing hand velocity during the insweep (relative contribution: min 66% to max 118%). This was due to the angular velocities and hand-to-joint axis distances for shoulder extension being greater than those of the other joint motions analyzed. The other rotations at the shoulder also contributed to hand velocity during the insweep, but to a lesser extent (transverse adduction: 13% to 49%; internal rotation: −1% to +40%). On average, elbow flexion accounted for 25% of the hand velocity in the middle of the insweep. Trunk roll did not make a positive contribution to hand velocity during the insweep phase (–3% to –48%), contradicting the findings of previous studies.

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Hiroshi Suito, Yasuo Ikegami, Hiroyuki Nunome, Shinya Sano, Hironari Shinkai and Norio Tsujimoto

The purpose of this study was to indicate the effect of fatigue on the underwater right arm stroke motion during the 100-m front crawl. The arm stroke motions of eight male competitive swimmers were captured three-dimensionally at 60 Hz in the positions of 15 m and 65 m from the start. The hand velocity, the arm angular velocities and the relative contribution of the arm angular velocities to the hand velocity were computed at each instant during the arm stroke motion. A significant decrease of the hand velocity and the peak angular velocity of shoulder adduction were observed in the second half than in the first half. The contribution of shoulder adduction was especially large in the pull phase and subsequently that of shoulder horizontal abduction became dominant in the push phase. However, in the second half, the contribution of shoulder adduction tended to decrease while that of shoulder internal rotation tended to increase. Thus, it is quite likely that the arm stroke motion of swimmers were driven to be influenced by induced fatigue and resulted in an increase in the contribution of shoulder internal rotation to compensate the decreased contribution of shoulder adduction angular velocity.