Brooks, R. W., Lane, C. C., & Rix, J. D. (2001). The interrelationship of force-velocity dynamics and propulsion impulse in freestyle swimmers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(5), Supplement abstract 574.

This study investigated the relationship between hand velocities and force on the forward impulse of swimmers. Twenty college male and female swimmers were tethered to a strain gauge that measured hand force and duration of stroke. Curves were fitted to show stroke patterns. Stroke velocity, hand force resistance, and stroke length were controlled under separate protocols.

Two strategies for stroking were revealed. The first was velocity dependent, with the swimmer attempting to move the hand as fast as possible. The second was force or time dependent, with the swimmer stroking to "build" force, or propel for the longest stroke possible. The choice of strategy is individual and related to arm and/or stroke length.

Implication. Freestyle swimming techniques are dependent upon the purpose for the stroke chosen by the swimmer and length of arm and/or stroke.

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