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Matthew R. Hodler

In 2000, fifteen-year-old Michael Phelps swam in his first Olympics, finishing fifth in the 200-meter butterfly in Sydney, Australia, “where swimming is as popular as football and baseball are in America.” 1 The following year, Phelps signed an endorsement deal with swimwear company Speedo to

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Scott P. McLean and Richard N. Hinrichs

This study investigated the relationship of gender and buoyancy to sprint swimming performance. The center of buoyancy (CB) and center of mass (CM) were measured using reaction board principles. Performance was evaluated as the time needed to complete the middle 13.7 m of a 22.9-m sprint for kicking and swimming trials. Nineteen female swimmers (mean ± SD, 21.9 ± 3.2 years) had significantly more body fat (24.1 ± 4.5%) than 13 male swimmers (21.7 ± 4.2 years, 14.8 ± 5.0%). Males swam and kicked significantly faster (p < .01) than females. Percent body fat, upper body strength, the distance between the CB and CM (d), and the buoyant force measured in 3 body positions all met the criteria for entrance into a regression equation. When gender was not controlled in the analysis, these variables accounted for 70% of the variance in swim time (p < .008). When gender was controlled in the analysis, these variables accounted for 45% of the variance in swim time (p = .06). Percent body fat accounted for the largest amount variance in both regression analyses (39%, p < .001; 18%, p = 0.02, respectively). Upper body strength accounted for 14% of the variance in swim time (p = .006) when gender was not controlled but only 4% when gender was controlled (p = .27). The distance d as measured in a body position with both arms raised above the head was the buoyancy factor that accounted for the greatest amount of variance in swim time (6% when gender was not controlled, p = .06, 10%; when gender was controlled, p = .07). Percent body fat, d, and the buoyant force accounted for no significant amount of variance in kick time. These data suggested that a swimmer’s buoyancy characteristics did have a small but important influence on sprint swimming performance.

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Scott P. McLean, Michael J. Holthe, Peter F. Vint, Keith D. Beckett and Richard N. Hinrichs

Ten male collegiate swimmers (age = 20.2 ± 1.4 years, height = 184.6 ± 5.8 cm, mass = 82.9 ± 9.3 kg) performed 3 swimming relay step starts, which incorporated a one or two-step approach, and a no-step relay start. Time to 10 m was not significantly shorter between step and no-step starts. A double-step start increased horizontal takeoff velocity by 0.2 m/s. A single-step together start decreased vertical takeoff velocity by 0.2 m/s but increased takeoff height by 0.16 m. Subjects were more upright at takeoff by 4°, 2°, and 5° in the double-step, single-step apart, and single-step together starts, respectively, than in the no-step start. Entry angle was steeper by 2°, entry orientation was steeper by 3°, and entry vertical velocity was faster by 0.3 m/s in the single-step together start. Restricting step length by 50% had little effect on step starts with the exceptions that horizontal velocity was significantly reduced by 0.1 m/s in the double-step start and vertical takeoff velocity was increased by 0.2 m/s in the single-step together start. These data suggested that step starts offered some performance improvements over the no-step start, but these improvements were not widespread and, in the case of the double-step start, were dependent on the ability to take longer steps.

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Courtney J. McGowan, David B. Pyne, Kevin G. Thompson and Ben Rattray


Targeted passive heating and completion of dryland-based activation exercises within the warm-up can enhance sprint freestyle performance. The authors investigated if these interventions would also elicit improvements in sprint breaststroke swimming performance.


Ten national and internationally competitive swimmers (~805 FINA (Fédération internationale de natation) 2014 scoring points; 6 men, mean ± SD 20 ± 1 y; 4 women, 21 ± 3 y) completed a standardized pool warm-up (1550 m) followed by a 30-min transition phase and a 100-m breaststroke time trial. In the transition phase, swimmers wore a conventional tracksuit and remained seated (control) or wore tracksuit pants with integrated heating elements and performed a 5-min dryland-based exercise routine (combo) in a crossover design.


Performance in the 100-m time trial (control: 68.6 ± 4.0 s, combo: 68.4 ± 3.9 s, P = .55) and start times to 15 m (control: 7.3 ± 0.6 s; combo: 7.3 ± 0.6 s; P = .81) were not different between conditions. It was unclear (P = .36) whether combo (–0.12°C ± 0.19°C [mean ± 90% confidence limits]) elicited an improvement in core temperature maintenance in the transition phase compared with control (–0.31°C ± 0.19°C). Skin temperature immediately before commencement of the time trial was higher (by ~1°C, P = .01) within combo (30.13°C ± 0.88°C [mean ± SD]) compared with control (29.11°C ± 1.20°C). Lower-body power output was not different between conditions before the time trial.


Targeted passive heating and completion of dryland-based activation exercises in the transition phase does not enhance sprint breaststroke performance despite eliciting elevated skin temperature immediately before time trial commencement.

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Josje van Houwelingen, Sander Schreven, Jeroen B.J. Smeets, Herman J.H. Clercx and Peter J. Beek

In this paper, a literature review is presented regarding the hydrodynamic effects of different hand and arm movements during swimming with the aim to identify lacunae in current methods and knowledge, and to distil practical guidelines for coaches and swimmers seeking to increase swimming speed. Experimental and numerical studies are discussed, examining the effects of hand orientation, thumb position, finger spread, sculling movements, and hand accelerations during swimming, as well as unsteady properties of vortices due to changes in hand orientation. Collectively, the findings indicate that swimming speed may be increased by avoiding excessive sculling movements and by spreading the fingers slightly. In addition, it appears that accelerating the hands rather than moving them at constant speed may be beneficial, and that (in front crawl swimming) the thumb should be abducted during entry, catch, and upsweep, and adducted during the pull phase. Further experimental and numerical research is required to confirm these suggestions and to elucidate their hydrodynamic underpinnings and identify optimal propulsion techniques. To this end, it is necessary that the dynamical motion and resulting unsteady effects are accounted for, and that flow visualization techniques, force measurements, and simulations are combined in studying those effects.

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

Performance in competitive swimming is measured through the time spent to complete an established distance. Muscular force production while stroking, 1 swimming technique, 2 and aerobic/anaerobic energy production 3 are determinants in competitive swimming performance. Over short distances, the

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Eva Piatrikova, Nicholas J. Willsmer, Ana C. Sousa, Javier T. Gonzalez and Sean Williams

The main aim of swimming training is to enable swimmers to swim a given event in the shortest possible time. This is primarily determined by swimmers’ physiological and technical abilities. 1 Despite the majority of competitive events lasting less than 5 minutes, coaches are known to place a great

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Brennan K. Berg, Michael Hutchinson and Carol C. Irwin

This case study illustrates the complexity of decision making in public organizations, specifically highlighting the public health concern of drowning disparities in the United States. Using escalation of commitment theory, students must consider various factors in evaluating the overextended commitments of a local government in a complicated sociopolitical environment and with vital public needs that must be addressed through a local parks and recreation department. Facing a reduction in allocated resources, the department director, Claire Meeks, is tasked with determining which programs will receive higher priority despite the varied feedback from the management staff. To ensure students are provided a realistic scenario, this case offers a combination of fictional and real-life events from Splash Mid-South, an innovative swimming program in Memphis, Tennessee. Students must critically evaluate not only the merits of the swimming program, but the other sport, recreation, and parks programs that also merit an equitable share of the limited resources. Therefore, students are placed in a decision-making role that is common to managers of both public and private organizations. This case study is appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate sport management courses, with specific application to strategic management, organizational behavior, and recreation or leisure topics.

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

The mainstream procedure to monitor elite swimmers’ performance is to conduct either physiological or biomechanical assessments. With the assessments performed separately, it is challenging to provide a well rounded and holistic insight of the swimmer’s performance (ie, swimming speed). Swimming

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Yuji Matsuda, Yoshihisa Sakurai, Keita Akashi and Yasuyuki Kubo

In swimming, horizontal velocity fluctuations in the whole-body center of mass (CoM) are related to the energy cost. 1 , 2 Furthermore, variations in the CoM velocity, maximal and minimal CoM velocities in swimming direction during a stroke cycle, are related to the swimming performance. 2 , 3