Jerzy Sadowski, Andrzej Mastalerz, Wilhelm Gromisz, Ewa Jówko and Mariusz Buszta
Introduction. The aim of the study was to estimate the influence of combined swimming and dry-land resistance training on swimming force, swimming performance and strength in non-swimmers.
Material and methods. Thirty male non-swimmers took part in the research. They were randomly assigned to one of the two groups: experimental (n=17) and control (n=13). The experimental group took part in combined swimming and dry-land resistance training. The control group took part in swimming training only. The swimming and dry-land resistance training programme lasted twelve weeks (48 training sessions of swimming and 36 sessions of dry-land resistance training). Average training volume and intensity were the same for all swimmers throughout the study protocol. The training programme included dominant aerobic work in front crawl.
Results. Dry-land resistance training applied in the experimental group significantly improved the upper body strength. In spite of the theory that dry-land strength training is probably not specific enough to improve the sprint swim performance, the experimental group tended to demonstrate greater improvement in sprint performance. The imitation of the underwater phase of shoulder work during front crawl provided by the ergometer can be a useful training method in non-swimmers.
Maria Novais, António Silva, Vishveshwar Mantha, Rui Ramos, Abel Rouboa, J. Vilas-Boas, Sérgio Luís and Daniel Marinho
The Effect of Depth on Drag During the Streamlined Glide: A Three-Dimensional CFD Analysis
The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of depth on drag during the streamlined glide in swimming using Computational Fluid Dynamics. The Computation Fluid Dynamic analysis consisted of using a three-dimensional mesh of cells that simulates the flow around the considered domain. We used the K-epsilon turbulent model implemented in the commercial code Fluent® and applied it to the flow around a three-dimensional model of an Olympic swimmer. The swimmer was modeled as if he were gliding underwater in a streamlined prone position, with hands overlapping, head between the extended arms, feet together and plantar flexed. Steady-state computational fluid dynamics analyses were performed using the Fluent® code and the drag coefficient and the drag force was calculated for velocities ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 m/s, in increments of 0.50m/s, which represents the velocity range used by club to elite level swimmers during the push-off and glide following a turn. The swimmer model middle line was placed at different water depths between 0 and 1.0 m underwater, in 0.25m increments. Hydrodynamic drag decreased with depth, although after 0.75m values remained almost constant. Water depth seems to have a positive effect on reducing hydrodynamic drag during the gliding. Although increasing depth position could contribute to decrease hydrodynamic drag, this reduction seems to be lower with depth, especially after 0.75 m depth, thus suggesting that possibly performing the underwater gliding more than 0.75 m depth could not be to the benefit of the swimmer.
Qualitative Evaluation of Water Displacement in Simulated Analytical Breaststroke Movements
One purpose of evaluating a swimmer is to establish the individualized optimal technique. A swimmer's particular body structure and the resulting movement pattern will cause the surrounding water to react in differing ways. Consequently, an assessment method based on flow visualization was developed complimentary to movement analysis and body structure quantification. A fluorescent dye was used to make the water displaced by the body visible on video. To examine the hypothesis on the propulsive mechanisms applied in breaststroke swimming, we analyzed the movements of the surrounding water during 4 analytical breaststroke movements using the flow visualization technique.
Marek Strzała, Andrzej Ostrowski and Zbigniew Szyguła
Altitude Training and its Influence on Physical Endurance in Swimmers
It is possible to plan an altitude training (AT) period in such a way that the enhanced physical endurance obtained as a result of adaptation to hypoxia will appear and can be used to improve performance in competition. Yet finding rationales for usage of AT in highly trained swimmers is problematic. In practice AT, in its various forms, is still controversial, and an objective review of research concentrating on the advantages and disadvantages of AT has been presented in several scientific publications, including in no small part the observations of swimmers. The aim of this article is to review the various methods and present both the advantageous and unfavourable physiological changes that occur in athletes as a result of AT. Moreover, AT results in the sport of swimming have been collected. They include an approach towards primary models of altitude/hypoxic training: live high + train high, live high + train low, live low + train high, as well as subsequent methods: Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure (IHE) and Intermittent Hypoxic Training (IHT). Apnoea training, which is descended from freediving, is also mentioned, and which can be used with, or as a substitute for, the well-known IHE or IHT methods. In conclusion, swimmers who train using hypoxia may be among the best-trained athletes, and that even a slight improvement in physical endurance might result in the shortening of a swimming time in a given competition, and the achievement of a personal best, which is hard to obtain by normal training methods, when the personal results of the swimmer have reached a plateau.
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.
Mário J. Costa, Govindasamy Balasekaran, J. Paulo Vilas-Boas and Tiago M. Barbosa
The purpose of this systematic review was to summarize longitudinal studies on swimming physiology and get implications for daily practice. A computerized search of databases according to the PRISMA statement was employed. Studies were screened for eligibility on inclusion criteria: (i) present two testing points; (ii) on swimming physiology; (iii) using adult elite swimmers; (iv) no case-studies or with small sample sizes. Two independent reviewers used a checklist to assess the methodological quality of the studies. Thirty-four studies selected for analysis were gathered into five main categories: blood composition (n=7), endocrine secretion (n=11), muscle biochemistry (n=7), cardiovascular response (n=8) and the energetic profile (n=14). The mean quality index was 10.58 ± 2.19 points demonstrating an almost perfect agreement between reviewers (K = 0.93). It can be concluded that the mixed findings in the literature are due to the diversity of the experimental designs. Micro variables obtained at the cellular or molecular level are sensitive measures and demonstrate overtraining signs and health symptoms. The improvement of macro variables (i.e. main physiological systems) is limited and may depend on the athletes’ training background and experience.
Pedro Figueiredo, Leandro Machado, João Vilas-Boas and Ricardo Fernandes
Reconstruction Error of Calibration Volume's Coordinates for 3D Swimming Kinematics
The aim of this study was to investigate the accuracy and reliability of above and underwater 3D reconstruction of three calibration volumes with different control points disposal (#1 - on vertical and horizontal rods; #2 - on vertical and horizontal rods and facets; #3 - on crossed horizontal rods). Each calibration volume (3 × 2 × 3 m) was positioned in a 25 m swimming pool (half above and half below the water surface) and recorded with four underwater and two above water synchronised cameras (50 Hz). Reconstruction accuracy was determined calculating the RMS error of twelve validation points. The standard deviation across all digitisation of the same marker was used for assessing the reliability estimation. Comparison among different number of control points showed that the set of 24 points produced the most accurate results. The volume #2 presented higher accuracy (RMS errors: 5.86 and 3.59 mm for × axis, 3.45 and 3.11 mm for y axis and 4.38 and 4.00 mm for z axis, considering under and above water, respectively) and reliability (SD: underwater cameras ± [0.2; 0.6] mm; above water cameras ± [0.2; 0.3] mm) that may be considered suitable for 3D swimming kinematic analysis. Results revealed that RMS error was greater during underwater analysis, possibly due to refraction.
Jorge E Morais, Nuno D Garrido, Mário C Marques, António J Silva, Daniel A Marinho and Tiago M Barbosa
The aim of this study was to assess the: (i) gender; (ii) performance and; (iii) gender versus performance interactions in young swimmers’ anthropometric, kinematic and energetic variables. One hundred and thirty six young swimmers (62 boys: 12.76 ± 0.72 years old at Tanner stages 1-2 by self-evaluation; and 64 girls: 11.89 ± 0.93 years old at Tanner stages 1-2 by self-evaluation) were evaluated. Performance, anthropometrics, kinematics and energetic variables were selected. There was a non-significant gender effect on performance, body mass, height, arm span, trunk transverse surface area, stroke length, speed fluctuation, swimming velocity, propulsive efficiency, stroke index and critical velocity. A significant gender effect was found for foot surface area, hand surface area and stroke frequency. A significant sports level effect was verified for all variables, except for stroke frequency, speed fluctuation and propulsive efficiency. Overall, swimmers in quartile 1 (the ones with highest sports level) had higher anthropometric dimensions, better stroke mechanics and energetics. These traits decrease consistently throughout following quartiles up to the fourth one (i.e. swimmers with the lowest sports level). There was a non-significant interaction between gender and sports level for all variables. Our main conclusions were as follows: (i) there are non-significant differences in performance, anthropometrics, kinematics and energetics between boys and girls; (ii) swimmers with best performance are taller, have higher surface areas and better stroke mechanics; (iii) there are non-significant interactions between sports level and gender for anthropometrics, kinematics and energetics.
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.
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%).