A video race analysis was conducted on 100-m freestyle performances of 72 male and 62 female finalists at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Races were won or lost in the second half of each 50-m race lap and differences in speed between swimmers were more related to stroke length than stroke rate. Within-race speed changes were more related to changes in stroke rate. Stroke rate changes were also responsible for speed changes between qualifying heats and finals in the first part of races, while stroke length was responsible for better speed maintenance at the end of races. Results indicate that Paralympic finalists use race speed patterns similar to able-bodied elite swimmers.
Daniel J. Daly, Stefka K. Djobova, and Yves Vanlandewijck are with the Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium. Laurie Malone is with Research and Education at Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama. Robert D. Steadward is with the Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement at the University of Alberta in Canada.