ENERGY DEMANDS OF EACH COMPETITIVE SWIMMING STROKE DIFFER
White, J. C., & Stager, J. McC. (2004). The relationship between drag forces and velocity for the four competitive swimming strokes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 93.
This study determined the relationships between maximum velocity and maximum power for each competitive swimming stroke and derived the contribution of active drag. Competitive swimmers (butterfly N = 10; backstroke N = 13; breaststroke N = 13; crawl stroke N = 156) were measured swimming against a pulley-system weight resistance. Resistance was progressively increased until power peaked.
The order of strokes from most to least active drag was breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly, and crawl stroke.
Implication. Because active drag varies between each form of competitive swimming stroke, plans for racing at particular velocities will have to be tempered by the knowledge that the strokes differ in energy demands, which results in different rates of fatigue.
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