2008 SWIMWEAR PROVIDES AN ADVANTAGE THROUGH DRAG REDUCTION
Ogita, F., Huang, Z., Kurobe, K., Ozawa, G., Taguchi, N., & Tanaka, T. (2010). Effects of swimwear developed in 2008 on drag during front crawl swimming. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 16–19, 2010.
This study investigated the effect of types of swimwear developed in 2008 on drag during front crawl swimming. Well-trained male college swimmers (N = 8) used four different brands of swimwear; one was a conventional swimsuit (pants-short) and the others were three different pants-long swimsuits developed in 2008. Ss swam 25 m more than 10 times at different but constant swimming velocities successively wearing the swimsuits, in order to establish the drag-swimming velocity relationship for all the suits. The active drag force was directly measured during the arm stroke of front crawl swimming using a system of underwater push-off pads instrumented with a force transducer (Toussaint's MAD system).
Mean drag values were lowered by 1-5 N (2-6%) in the three new types of swimwear when compared to conventional wear, but the differences were not statistically significant [possibly because of the small number of Ss which lowered the power of the statistical analysis]. There were no significant differences in drag among three new types of swimwear. However, when race times in 100 m to 400 m were estimated based on the drag, metabolic power of each subject, and assumed mechanical (9%) and propelling efficiency (60%), time reductions in the one to four second range would be expected by wearing new types of swimwear.
Implication. When swimmers are taken as a group, there is no significant reduction in drag during front crawl swimming when conventional and 2008-developed swimsuits are compared. However, when the small differences are magnified over longer racing distances, a considerable competitive advantage is revealed.
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