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Radosław Gola, Czesław Urbanik, Dagmara Iwańska and Anna Madej

Abstract

Purpose. competitive performance in swimming depends on a number of factors including, among others, the development of relevant muscle groups. The aim of the study was to clarify the relationship between muscle strength and swimming velocity and the role of individual muscle groups in front crawl swimming. Methods. sixteen physical education university students participated in the study. The strength values, defined as torque produced during isometric contractions, of eight upper and lower extremity muscle groups were measured. Data were compared with participants' front crawl swim times in the 25m and 50m distances. Results. correlation analysis demonstrated a relationship between muscle strength and swimming velocity. statistically significant relationships were observed between swimming velocity and the torque values of the elbow flexor and shoulder extensor muscles as well as the sum of upper extremity muscle torque values (p ⋋ 0.05). Conclusions. The results indicate the need for a focus on training those muscle groups identified as having a statistically significant relationship with swimming velocity for a given distance, as the sample showed deficiencies in the strength of those muscle groups responsible for generating propulsive force in the front crawl. Additionally, the collected data can serve as a diagnostic tool in evaluating the development of muscle groups critical for swimming performance.

Open access

Ľubomíra Benčuriková and Matúš Putala

Summary

This paper reports on findings of a pilot research to determine the level of swimming ability of children with weak respiratory system aged between 10 - 11 years, who attended special classes for asthmatics. Swimming ability was assessed by 25 m free style swimming test. The results of asthmatics were compared with healthy peers (Benčuriková 2006; Kováčová 2010; Labudová 2011). The results confirmed that the level of swimming capability of asthmatic children, despite their handicap, is significantly higher than their healthy peers.

Open access

Tereza Nováková and Irena Čechovská

Summary

The text deals with neurophysiological and kinesiological developmental principles associated with the early development of young children as the fundamental prerequisites for physical education in the aquatic environment. Swimming in infancy and early childhood using the developmental principles and understanding of individual variability represent enormous potential to create a positive attitude of the child to exercise in aquatic environments. We believe that the experience with these basic tasks can play a key role in future exercise habits and swimming literacy of the individual. Parents attending infant swimming courses led by an instructor acquire practical skills and deeper insight into principles of their child's motor learning. All activities in the aquatic environment at an early age should allow transfer of child’s experiences to preswimming education and result in full swimming literacy.

Open access

Marek Strzała, Piotr Krężałek, Marcin Kaca, Grzegorz Głąb, Andrzej Ostrowski, Arkadiusz Stanula and Aleksander Tyka

The breaststroke kick is responsible for a considerable portion of the forward propulsion in breaststroke swimming. The aim of this study was to measure selected anthropometric variables and functional properties of a swimmer’s body: length of body parts; functional range of motion in the leg joints and anaerobic power of the lower limbs. Chosen kinematic variables useful in the evaluation of swimming performance in the breaststroke kick were evaluated. In the present research, swimming speed using breaststroke kicks depended to the largest extent on anaerobic endurance (0.46, p < 0.05 partial correlations with age control). In addition, knee external rotation and swimming technique index had an impact on swimming speed and kick length (both partial correlations with age control 0.35, p < 0.08). A kinematic analysis of the breaststroke kick hip displacement compatible with horizontal body displacement was significantly negatively correlated with foot slip in the water opposite to body displacement (partial correlations: with leg length control -0.43, p < 0.05; with shank length control -0.45, p < 0.05, respectively). Present research and measurements of selected body properties, physical endurance and kinematic movement analysis may help in making a precise determination of an athlete’s talent for breaststroke swimming.

Open access

Matteo Cortesi and Giorgio Gatta

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the head position on passive drag with a towing-line experiment in a swimming pool. The tests were performed on ten male swimmers with regional level swimming skills and at least 10 years of competitive swimming experience. They were towed underwater (at a depth of 60 cm) at three speeds (1.5, 1.7 and 1.9 m/s) and in two body positions (arms above the swimmer’s head and arms alongside the body). These two body positions were repeated while the swimmer’s head was positioned in three different ways: head-up, head-middle and head-down in relation to the body’s horizontal alignment. The results showed a reduction of 4-5.2% in the average passive drag at all speeds when the head was down or aligned to the swimmer’s arms alongside the body, in comparison to the head-up position. A major significant decrease of 10.4-10.9% (p < 0.05) was shown when the head was down or aligned at the swimmer’s arms above the swimmer’s head. The passive drag tended to decrease significantly by a mean of 17.6% (p < 0.001) for all speeds examined with the arms alongside the body position rather than with the arms above the head position. The swimmer’s head location may play an important role in reducing hydrodynamic resistance during passive underwater gliding.

Open access

Tiago Barbosa, Mário Costa, Jorge Morais, Marc Moreira, António Silva and Daniel Marinho

How Informative are the Vertical Buoyancy and the Prone Gliding Tests to Assess Young Swimmers' Hydrostatic and Hydrodynamic Profiles?

The aim of this research was to develop a path-flow analysis model to highlight the relationships between buoyancy and prone gliding tests and some selected anthropometrical and biomechanical variables. Thirty-eight young male swimmers (12.97 ± 1.05 years old) with several competitive levels were evaluated. It were assessed the body mass, height, fat mass, body surface area, vertical buoyancy, prone gliding after wall push-off, stroke length, stroke frequency and velocity after a maximal 25 [m] swim. The confirmatory model included the body mass, height, fat mass, prone gliding test, stroke length, stroke frequency and velocity. All theoretical paths were verified except for the vertical buoyancy test that did not present any relationship with anthropometrical and biomechanical variables nor with the prone gliding test. The good-of-fit from the confirmatory path-flow model, assessed with the standardized root mean square residuals (SRMR), is considered as being close to the cut-off value, but even so not suitable of the theory (SRMR = 0.11). As a conclusion, vertical buoyancy and prone gliding tests are not the best techniques to assess the swimmer's hydrostatic and hydrodynamic profile, respectively.

Open access

Grzegorz Bielec

Variants of Development of Sports Career of 11-Year-Old Female Swimmers

Introduction. The development of a sporting career takes a course within a phased manner, the various stages are characterized by different goals and tasks. In competitive swimming there are many cases of athletes who achieved high sporting results in the category of children and youths and who soon after abandoned their interest in training. The aim of this study was to find the association between the sports achievements of 11-year-old girls competing in the 200 m backstroke events and their sports level in the subsequent years of their career. Material and methods. The results of the sporting careers of girls who ranked from 1st to 20th in the 200 m backstroke event in the Polish Correspondence Championships for 10 and 11-Year-Old Children in 2003 were presented. Their positions taken in subsequent editions of the summer Polish championship till 2009 were the criterion of their career development. An analysis of documents was used as a scientific method. The basis for the analysis were post-competition protocols listed on the official website of the Polish Swimming Federation. Results. Only 30% of the examined athletes took part in all main events intended for their age. Less than half of them participated in the Polish 17-18-Year-Old Junior Championships organized within the Nationwide Juvenile Olympics. 40% of the girls from the studied group ended their careers before the age of 15. Four basic variants of development of a sporting career were observed in the group. Conclusions. After analyzing the athletes' careers it can be stated that a high position in the national ranking of 11-year-olds does not guarantee significant sporting achievements in later years. In the studied group of girls the stroke and distance specialization had changed in most cases (80%).

Open access

Marcel Răsădean

Abstract

Introduction: Masters swimming competitions involve adults who practice swimming as a hobby, and it is focused on three main areas: fitness activity, recreational activity, and competitive activity. Masters swimming competitions are regulated at an international level by the FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation) and by the LEN (Ligue Europeenne de Natation). The Swimming Masters competitions are divided in age groups, starting at the age of 25, as follows: 25-29 years, 30-34 years, 35-39 years etc.

Aim: In this paper we wish to present a study on reduction of swimming speed in relation to age, in breaststroke men competitions (50 m, 100 m, and 200 m).

Methods: We analyzed the swimming speed for Masters Swimmers in a long swimming pool for the following events: 50 m, 100 m, 200 m – man breaststroke. The reference speed for each age group was calculated as the mean of the best 10 times obtained for that certain category.

Results: For competitors aged 60-69 the speed decreases reaching about 80-60% of the maximum speed, and it reaches 80% of the maximum value at ages that range from 70 to 84 years old. After 85 the speed decreases up to 30% to 58% of the maximum speed.

Conclusion: In breaststroke men events the speed at which master competitors swim decreases with age. Regarding the values of speed dependent on age and type of event we can state that it decreases more abruptly for older age in shorter distance events.

Open access

Ricardo Fernandes, João Ribeiro, Pedro Figueiredo, Ludovic Seifert and João Vilas-Boas

Kinematics of the Hip and Body Center of Mass in Front Crawl

The kinematic profiles of the hip and center of mass in front crawl swimming were compared to quantify the error of using a fixed body point to assess intracyclic velocity variations at moderate intensity exercise. The practical goal was to provide a useful tool, easy and fast to assess, and to use as feedback, for assessing swimming efficiency. Sixteen swimmers performed an intermittent incremental protocol that allowed assessing the individual anaerobic threshold velocity. One complete stroke cycle was analysed at the step intensity corresponding to each swimmer's anaerobic threshold. The subjects were videotaped in the sagittal plane using a double camera set-up for two-dimensional kinematical analyses. The hip and the center of mass presented similar mean velocity and displacement values, being highly related to both parameters. However, the hip reflects the center of mass forward velocity and horizontal displacement with 7.54% and 3.24% associated error, respectively. Differences between hip and center of mass were observed for intracyclic velocity variations (0.19±0.05 and 0.25±0.08, respectively, for a p<0.001), and the negative mean error value found (-0.06) evidenced a tendency of the hip to overestimate the center of mass velocity variation. It is possible to conclude that the hips forward movements might provide a good estimate of the swimmer's horizontal velocity and displacement that is relevant for diagnostic purposes, especially to assess swimming efficiency through the intracyclic velocity variations. Nevertheless, the hip point error magnitude should be taken into consideration in data interpretation.

Open access

Małgorzata Stachowicz, Katarzyna Milde and Marcin Janik

Anaerobic endurance of young swimmers aged 12 years

Study aim: To assess the effects of swimming training on anaerobic endurance, swimming velocity and chest girth in children aged 12 years.

Material and methods: Two groups of children aged 12 years were studied. Group S (14 boys and 6 girls) training swimming at a sport-oriented school 3 days a week, 90 min per session, and Group R (6 boys and 6 girls) engaged in competitive swimming for 4 years. Children from Group S were subjected twice (in September and in February) to a swimming test consisting of 6 bouts of swimming the 12.5-m distance, spaced by 30-s intermissions. Mean and maximum swimming velocities in the entire test were recorded together with their ratio (Performance Index, PI). In children from Group R the swimming velocity at one 12.5-distance was recorded.

Results: Apart from somatic indices, significant increases over the 5-month training period were noted in mean swimming velocity in boys and girls (p<0.001) and in maximum velocity in boys (p<0.01). No significant changes were noted in the performance index or in heart rate.

Conclusions: Performance index as a measure of anaerobic endurance may serve as a useful tool in assessing the adaptive performance changes in young swimmers.