Millet, G. P., Chollet, D., Chalies, S., & Chatard, J. C. (2002). Coordination in front crawl in elite triathletes and elite swimmers. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 23, 99-104.

The arm coordination of elite triathletes (N = 19) and swimmers (N = 15) were compared at six different crawl stroke velocities (range 80-100% of maximum velocity). The stroke phases of entry, pull, push, and recovery were identified. An index of coordination (IDC) was the time between the start of the propulsive phase of one arm from the end of the propulsive phase of the other.

As velocity increased, triathletes increased the recovery phase and only moderately increased the propulsive phase. On the other hand, swimmers increased the propulsive phase and decreased recovery. As swimmers performed faster, the "catch-up" style of swimming rapidly disappeared. Swimmers also had a longer stroke length than the triathletes at maximum velocity. The IDC and stroke length appear to be indexes of swimming performance.

Implication. As the velocity of swimming increases, most elite swimmers gravitate to overlap arm stroking rather than catch-up stroking. Triathletes are relatively unskilled when compared to elite swimmers.

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