Researched, produced, and prepared by Brent S. Rushall, Ph.D., R.Psy.


Each frame is .1 seconds apart. In this race, Domenico Fioravanti recorded a time of 2:10.87, the second fastest time in history. It was his second gold medal of the Olympic Games, as he also won the 100m breaststroke event.

Fioravanti is one of the tallest breaststrokers competing today. His height causes him to rate slower than shorter individuals because it takes longer for him to complete a full movement sequence.

This stroke analysis includes a moving sequence in real time, a moving sequence where each frame is displayed for .5 of a second, and still frames.

The following image sequence is in real time. It will play through 10 times and then stop. To repeat the sequence, click the browser's "refresh" or "reload" button.

The following image sequence shows each frame for half a second. It will play through 10 times and then stop. To repeat the sequence, click the browser's "refresh" or "reload" button.

At the end of the following narrative, each frame is illustrated in detail in a sequential collage.

Notable Features

From a cursory glance, adherents of "wave breaststroke" would claim that Domenico Fioravanti swims with a wave motion, and derives some "mystical" benefit from that notion. However, it can be seen from this series that the diving and then ascending hand movements are purely reactionary or counterbalancing movements to a head and shoulder action that is excessively high. This is the typical reason why most "wave breaststrokes" swim with a wave action. It is a symptom of a fault, not evidence of a hydrodynamic benefit. If would be interesting to see what would happen if Fioravanti did not lift so high to breathe. For one thing, it would increase his rate, reduce the development of unnecessary drag resistance (such as that on the top of the arms), and would reduce wave resistance that results from unnecessary body movements. His head and shoulders lift and breathing action are mainly supported by hyperextension of the back, a feature becoming more noticeable in all top-breaststrokers of both genders.

The strength of Domenico Fioravanti's stroke comes from his adduction-powered, but short, arm thrust, and his powerful direct kick that uses every bit of his very long legs. This kick might well be the most powerful exhibited on this web site.

The superb streamlining displayed for most of the stroke could serve as an ideal depiction of one of the technical demands of this stroke. The length of time that the streamline is maintained is notable.

Domenico Favioranti

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