DIFFERENT STARTS ARE POSSIBLE FOR ADAPTATION TO INDIVIDUAL SWIMMERS' PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS

Vantorre, J., Seifert, L., Bideau, B., Nicolas, G., Fernandes, R. J., Vilas-Boas, J. P., & Chollet, D. (2010). Influence of swimming start styles on biomechanics and angular momentum. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 1619, 2010.

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This study analyzed the relationship between the angular momentum generated during the start and different start styles (flat, pike trajectory, and arm-swing). Elite swimmers performed three 25-m laps at 50-m race pace using a preferred start technique. Durations of the block and flight phases, the body angles at take-off and entry, kinetic momentum and its standard deviation, kinetics, and 15 m time were assessed.

Performances to 15 m were similar between starting forms. Concerning start variables, take-off angle, flight distance, and total and standard deviation of angular momentum, were significantly lower for the flat start when compared to the two other start styles. Entry angle was significantly greater for the pike start.

Implication. Lower angular momentum and shorter flight phase of the flat start suggests a strategy of reducing air time and entering the water quickly. Flat-start swimmers reduced the temporal deficit instead of trying to travel a greater distance in the air and obtain a higher velocity at water entry. Both strategies have advantages that should be optimized for each swimmer's personal characteristics.

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