Analysis of the entry speed in the swimming start

INTRODUCTION: The ability to perform a fast start is a fundamental factor to obtain a high performance in swimming sprint events, such as 50 m distance. For an optimal start, the swimmer must be able to limit the loss of speed subsequent to the impact to the water. A poor management of the dive technique and entry leads to a disadvantageous loosing of speed. When the hands enter the water, swimmers still have the high speed gained in the pushing from the starting blocks, plus the gravity acceleration. Therefore the flight phase and the entry speed are very important. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a specific training to improve the pushing and the flight phases of the start, by high definition cameras and Speed RT device, which allow to accurately assess the swimmers’ speed and the distance from the wall of the entry. METHODS: Ten male sprint swimmers (age 22.6 ± 2.02 years; height 184.6 ± 3.9 cm; weight 77.5 ±3.8 kg) participated in the study. The start’s analysis was assessed by two synchronized cameras, placed in line with the starting block and at 3.5 m of distance. Speed RT device was used for real-time sampling data of the swimmers’ speed during the start. Measurements were carried out before and after a specific training program addressed to improve the strength of the lower limbs (4x6 rip. 75% max, for two months) and the buoyancy improvement, assumed by swimmers during the flight phase. The effectiveness of the training program to improve the entry speed and the length of the flight phase was evaluated. Data analysis was performed with the Student’s t-test, whose significance was placed at p < 0.05. RESULTS Training improved the distance covered by swimmers during the flight phase from 3.36 ±0.15 to 3.51 ± 0.16 m (p < 0.01). The specific training also improved the swimmers’ speed at the entry, from 5.49 ± 0.12 to 5.58 ± 0.15 m/s (p < 0.001). DISCUSSION: The specific strength and high-intensity training produced a positive effect on the start performance. Therefore, for sprint swimmers, we propose modifications to the current start training methodology, with particular attention to strength and high-intensity training. The analysis of the technique’s details is essential to improve performance. If a higher strength of the lower limbs may induce a farther start, perfect position during the flight is also very important to keep a high entry speed.
© Copyright 2014 19th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Amsterdam, 2. -5. July 2014. Published by VU University Amsterdam. All rights reserved.

Subjects: swimming start technique movement velocity speed velocity
Notations: endurance sports
Published in: 19th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Amsterdam, 2. -5. July 2014
Editors: A. De Haan, C. J. De Ruiter, E. Tsolakidis
Published: Amsterdam VU University Amsterdam 2014
Pages: 210-211
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced