• Ross Sanders
Keywords: swimming, technique, race analysis, video analysis, propulsion, resistance, hydrodynamics


Race analysis is now well entrenched as an important part of the application of science to swimming and is keenly sought by coaches and swimmers. At present, race analysis emphasizes stroke length and stroke frequency and component times such as mid-pool (free swimming) time, turn time, and start time. A new model for identifying important variables is presented. Many of these variables are not, as yet, determined routinely. The model comprises three ‘global goals’ – the minimization of resistive impulse, the maximization of propulsive impulse, and the development of techniques that restrain physiological cost. The section of the model dealing with maximising propulsive impulse is described. Problems involved in indirectly estimating forces produced by the arm and hand are briefly addressed. It is concluded that, at this time, accurate quantification of propulsive forces by indirect means is problematic. However, it is suggested that important ‘critical features’ such as the time of ‘catch’ and ‘release’ might by estimated with reasonable accuracy provided that the effect of acceleration is taken into account. Further investigation is required to establish the accuracy and reliability of estimating these times.