TRIATHLETES SHOULD DRAFT IN SWIMMING SO THAT CYCLING IS BETTER
Delextrat, A., Tricot, V., Bernard, T., Vercruyssen, F., Hausswirth, C., & Brisswalter, J. (2003). Drafting during swimming improves efficiency during subsequent cycling. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35, 1612-1619.
Drafting by swimming directly behind another competitor reduces resistance and allows the drafting swimmer to "save" energy while maintaining a particular velocity. This investigation evaluated the effect of swimming-drafting on subsequent cycling in a simulation of that phase of a triathlon.
Male triathletes (N = 8) performed a 750-m swim without drafting followed by 15 minutes of cycling at 75% of VO2max. The sequence was repeated with direct-follow drafting in the swimming segment.
Cycling efficiency was significantly improved (+4.8%) when preceded by drafting in swimming.
Implication. Because of the inefficiency of swimming, it would be a good strategy for serious triathletes to draft and save energy in the swimming portion of a competition and apply the saved energy to subsequent cycling or running. Time gains would be greater in cycling or running than in swimming given a specific amount of energy use.
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