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Isabelle Rogowski, Karine Monteil, Pierre Legreneur and Pierre Lanteri

This study investigated the influence of the covering swimsuit and the fabric surface properties on the butterfly stroke kinematics. Surface properties were evaluated by wetting measurements of two fabric samples: one for training suits and one for competition suits. The surface of the second one was coated by mechanochemical treatment in order to modify its surface properties. Nine national level swimmers performed a 50-m butterfly at submaximal velocity in three swimsuit conditions: conventional, long, and coated long swimsuits. From video recording, the hip was digitized at the entry and exit of the swimmer's hand in order to calculate the duration, hip displacement, and hip linear velocity during underwater and recovery phases and during stroke. The results for wetting show that competition fabric was more water-repellent than training fabric, but both were isotropic. Moreover, the mechanochemical treatment increased water repellency and anisotropy. The swimming results indicated that, when compared to a conventional swimsuit, wearing a coated long swimsuit increased hip linear velocity during stroke, and particularly during the recovery phase which had a shorter duration. These results suggest that the covering swimsuit should be coupled with the water repellent and anisotropic properties of the fabric surface in order to improve swimming performance.

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Luis Rodriguez and Santiago Veiga

race. 17 However, at the moment, it remains unknown whether successful open water swimmers use drafting strategies to increase swimming velocity at the end of races or, conversely, if they adopt a leading strategy from the beginning of the race. Therefore, in the present research, we aimed to (1

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

swimming velocity, it is demonstrated that, for maximal swimming velocity, higher efficiency is obtained lowering the speed-specific drag. 3 Theoretically, intracyclic velocity variations are the result of intracyclic variations of the resultant horizontal force ( dF ) applied by the swimmer to the water

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Nicole Leenders, W. Michael Sherman, David R. Lamb and Timothy E. Nelson

The purpose of this study was to determine if oral creatine (CR) ingestion, compared to a placebo (PL), would enable swimmers to maintain a higher swimming velocity across repeated interval sets over 2 weeks of supplementation. Fourteen female and 18 male university swimmers consumed a PL during a 2-week baseline period. Using a randomized, double-blind design, during the next 2 weeks subjects consumed either CR or PL. Swimming velocity was assessed twice weekly during 6 × 50-m swims and once weekly during 10 × 25-yd swims. There was no effect ofCR on the 10 × 25-yd interval sets for men and women and no effect on the 6 × 50-m interval sets for women. In contrast, for men, CR significantly improved mean overall swimming velocity in the 6 × 50-m interval after 2 weeks of supplementation, whereas PL had no effect. Although ineffective in women, CR supplementation apparently enables men to maintain a faster mean overall swimming velocity during repeated swims each lasting about 30 s; however, CR was not effective for men in repeated swims each lasting about 10-15 s.

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Jane M. Cappaert, David L. Pease and John P. Troup

Twelve male 100-m freestyle swimmers were videotaped during the 1992 Olympic Games. Four cameras, two above water and two below, recorded the same stroke cycle of the swimmer at approximately the 40- to 45-m mark. The whole body and the recovering arms were digitized from the videotapes to recreate a complete stroke cycle. Body position variables and hand reaction forces (Schleihauf, 1979) were calculated. Swimmers were divided into elite and subelite groups based on their swimming velocity and were compared for differences in biomechanical variables. Elites used slightly lower hand forces while maintaining a higher propelling efficiency. Subelites had opposite rotations about the longitudinal axis of the body rather than symmetrical body roll. The elite swimmers were different from subelites in that their pulling patterns were more efficient and their body position was more streamlined. These variables assisted them in achieving faster swimming velocities without requiring higher propulsive forces.

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Sergei V. Kolmogorov, Olga A. Rumyantseva, Brian J. Gordon and Jane M. Cappaert

The purpose of this study was to describe the hydrodynamic characteristics of the four strokes by gender and performance level. Active drag during maximal swimming was measured in each of the four swimming strokes (freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke) on males and females of varying ability levels using the perturbation method developed by Kolmogorov and Duplisheva (1992). Active drag (FDa), the hydrodynamic coefficient (Cx Da), and total external mechanical power output (Pto) were calculated at each swimmer's maximal swimming velocity. There were complex, nonlinear relationships between maximum swimming velocity and the three hydrodynamic indicators. The four swimming strokes were ranked in order of resistance based on the three hydrodynamic indicators. The order, from least to most resistance, was (1) freestyle, (2) backstroke, butterfly, (3) breaststroke. No statistical difference was seen between the backstroke and butterfly. Within each stroke, the most important factor for reducing active drag appeared to be individual biomechanical technique.

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Tiago M. Barbosa, Mário Costa, Daniel A. Marinho, Joel Coelho, Marc Moreira and António J. Silva

The aim was to develop a path-flow analysis model for young swimmers’ performance based on biomechanical and energetic parameters, using structural equation modeling. Thirty-eight male young swimmers served as subjects. Performance was assessed by the 200-m freestyle event. For biomechanical assessment the stroke length, the stroke frequency and the swimming velocity were analyzed. Energetics assessment included the critical velocity, the stroke index and the propulsive efficiency. The confirmatory model explained 79% of swimming performance after deleting the stroke index-performance path, which was nonsignificant (SRMR = 0.06). As a conclusion, the model is appropriate to explain performance in young swimmers.

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Inês Marques-Aleixo, Ana Querido, Pedro Figueiredo, João Paulo Vilas-Boas, Rui Corredeira, Daniel Daly and Ricardo J. Fernandes

This study examined the differences in intracycle velocity variation and arm coordination in front crawl in swimmers with Down syndrome in three breathing conditions. International swimmers with Down syndrome (N = 16) performed 3 × 20 m front crawl at 50 m race speed: without breathing, breathing to the preferred side, and breathing to the nonpreferred side. A two dimensional video movement analysis was performed using the APASystem. Breathing conditions were compared using Repeated Measures ANOVA. Swimming velocity was higher without breathing and intracyclic velocity variation was higher while breathing. Swimmers tended to a catch up arm coordination mode for both breathing conditions and a superposition mode when not breathing. These data reflect arm coordination compromising swimming performance, particularly when comparing with non disabled swimmers in literature. The physical and perhaps cognitive impairment associated with Down syndrome may result in a disadvantage in both propulsion and drag, more evident when breathing.

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Jorge E. Morais, António J. Silva, Daniel A. Marinho, Ludovic Seifert and Tiago M. Barbosa

Purpose:

To apply a new method to identify, classify, and follow up young swimmers based on their performance and its determinant factors over a season and analyze the swimmers’ stability over a competitive season with that method.

Methods:

Fifteen boys and 18 girls (11.8 ± 0.7 y) part of a national talent-identification scheme were evaluated at 3 different moments of a competitive season. Performance (ie, official 100-m freestyle race time), arm span, chest perimeter, stroke length, swimming velocity, speed fluctuation, coefficient of active drag, propelling efficiency, and stroke index were selected as variables. Hierarchical and k-means cluster analysis were computed.

Results:

Data suggested a 3-cluster solution, splitting the swimmers according to their performance in all 3 moments. Cluster 1 was related to better performances (talented swimmers), cluster 2 to poor performances (nonproficient swimmers), and cluster 3 to average performance (proficient swimmers) in all moments. Stepwise discriminant analysis revealed that 100%, 94%, and 85% of original groups were correctly classified for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd evaluation moments, respectively (0.11 ≤ Λ ≤ 0.80; 5.64 ≤ χ2 ≤ 63.40; 0.001 < P ≤ .68). Membership of clusters was moderately stable over the season (stability range 46.1–75% for the 2 clusters with most subjects).

Conclusion:

Cluster stability is a feasible, comprehensive, and informative method to gain insight into changes in performance and its determinant factors in young swimmers. Talented swimmers were characterized by anthropometrics and kinematic features.

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Pedro Morouço, Kari L. Keskinen, João Paulo Vilas-Boas and Ricardo Jorge Fernandes

The purpose of the current study was to identify the relationships between competitive performance and tether forces according to distance swam, in the four strokes, and to analyze if relative values of force production are better determinants of swimming performance than absolute values. The subjects (n = 32) performed a 30 s tethered swimming all-out effort. The competitive swimming velocities were obtained in the distances 50, 100 and 200 m using official chronometric values of competitions within 25 days after testing protocol. Mean force and velocity (50 m event) show significant correlations for front crawl (r = .92, p < .01), backstroke (r = .81, p < .05), breaststroke (r = .94, p < .01) and butterfly (r = .92, p < .01). The data suggests that absolute values of force production are more associated to competitive performance than relative values (normalized to body mass). Tethered swimming test seems to be a reliable protocol to evaluate the swimmer stroking force production and a helpful estimator of competitive performance in short distance competitive events.