KICK START ON THE OSB11 BLOCK IS FASTER THAN THE CONVENTIONAL TRACK START
Honda, K. E., Sinclair, P. J., Mason, B. R., & Pease, D. L. (2010). A biomechanical comparison of elite swimmers' start performance using the traditional track start and the new kick start. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 16–19, 2010.
"The international governing body for swimming (FINA) has approved the use of a new starting block (Omega, OSB11) with an inclined kick plate. This has required the development of a kick start technique. The kick plate is angled at 30° to the surface of the block and can move through five different locations on the platform. To date, no study has examined the biomechanical factors associated with a start using the OSB11."
This study determined the effects of the new start platform on performance relative to that of the track start on a standard platform. Elite swimmers (M = 9; F = 5), whom had personal best times of a minimum of 850 FINA points, completed six dive and glide starts (three kick starts and three track starts) in a randomized sequence. The analysis system included a series of calibrated high speed digital cameras, one above water to capture the start and three underwater from 0 m to 15 m. A video camera timing system was used to obtain the times at 5 and 7.5 m.
The mean time on block was 0.77 s for the kick start, which was significantly less than the track start (0.80 s). The kick start was also significantly faster at 5 and 7.5 m than the track start (~.04 s differences). The kick start produced a significantly higher horizontal take-off velocity (4.48 m/s) compared to the track start (4.41 m/s) and a higher average horizontal force (0.60 N/kg compared to 0.57 N/kg). The average velocity between 5 and 7.5 m was not significantly different between the two techniques.
Implication. The kick start on the new OSB11 start platform was significantly faster than the track start on a conventional platform. Despite Ss' own preference for the track start, the kick start was significantly faster off the block, with a higher horizontal velocity and an increased on-block horizontal force. This advantage was maintained through 5 and 7.5 m. Adapting to the new block and the new starting technique is advisable.
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