Energetic, Kinematic, and Freestyle Performance Characteristics of Male Swimmers

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Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

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The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationship among propelling efficiency (Ep), velocity at a blood lactate (Bla) of 4 mM (V4.0mM), swimming performance, and kinematic parameters from a swim field test in trained male swimmers varying in freestyle talent level. Swimmers (n=14) completed a series of submaximal and one maximal swim in which expired air was collected (open circuit spirometry). Bla was determined for each swim, V4.0mM assessed, and Ep was estimated based on work by Toussaint et al. (15,16,18). Swimmers were categorized into a fast and slow group based on 91.4 m and 365.8 m performance swims. They also performed a 7 × 45.7 m freestyle field test at progressively faster velocities while stroke rate (SR) was monitored. Interpolation was employed to determine SR at velocities of 1.5 and 1.7 ms-1. Pearson r correlation coefficients were significant (p<0.05) for V4.0mM versus Ep (0.89), velocity for the 91.4 m swim (0.65), and velocity for the 365.8m swim (0.82). The faster swimmers had a greater V4.0mM (1.16±0.04 ms-1 vs 1.01±0.13 ms-1) and estimated Ep (48±5 vs 37±12%) compared to the slower group (p<0.05). The r values for SR at 1.5 and 1.7 ms-1 versus Ep, 91.4 m and 365.8 m performance swims were all> - 0.65 (p<0.05). The faster swimmers were able to partition more of the total mechanical power output into overcoming drag forces (useful power) and less into giving masses of water a kinetic energy change (wasted power). This finding supports the faster group's ability to sustain a greater V4.0mM and lower SR during the field test. Furthermore, the 7 × 45.7 m kinematic field test appears to be a time efficient diagnostic tool to discriminate between talent levels and perhaps monitor changes in skill throughout a training season.


This article was originally published in Journal of Swimming Research. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Swimming Research


Copyright 2007 American Swimming Coaches Association.