Swimming - A Study Of The Differences In Swimming Speed For Breaststroke Swimmers
Short course (25 m) and long course (50 m) pools are typically used for indoor swimming competitions.
The increased number of turns and push offs causes a redistribution of muscular load, which can result in lower blood lactates and physiological recovery during the turn. Long courses require more turns than short courses, as the distance between turns increases.
The breaststroke, like the butterfly, is a swimming style that uses a discontinuous technique. In breaststroke and butterfly, the velocity variation was twice as large as in freestyle swimming.
The butterfly stroke had a faster speed than the backstroke and breaststroke. The frequency of strokes is also higher than in breaststroke, as is the stroke length.
The purpose of this study was to look at the differences in breaststroke swimming speed between short and long courses, as well as how breaststroke swimming speed changed over time.
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To achieve these goals, we compared the swimming speeds of elite breaststroke swimmers at national and international levels, using data from the Swiss swimming high score list from 2000 to 2011 and the FINA World Championships finals from 2001 to 2012.
How to swim: Breaststroke
The Swiss Swimming Federation provided data for national swimmers, and the European Swimming Federation provided data for international swimmers. Breaststroke swimmers at the national level (i.e., finalists from the FINA World Championships between 2001 and 2012) and international level (i.e., athletes ranked in the Swiss swimming high score list between 2000 and 2011) were included. We looked at the difference in breaststroke swimming speed between long and short courses, as well as the change in breaststroke swimming speed over time.
For long course and short course, the annual top 10 (i.e., 10 fastest swimming times) men and women for the three race distances (i.e., 50 m, 100 m, 200 m) were determined and analyzed in terms of change in swimming speed and sex difference over time. The top 10 athletes per sex, distance, and course length from the previous 12 years were pooled (i.e., 12 years x 10 athletes = n = 120 per distance and course length) and analyzed for the effect of sex and course length on swimming speed. Prior to analysis, all race times were converted to swimming speed to improve the comparability of the results with other studies. [swimming speed in m/s] = [race distance in m]/[race time in seconds] was the formula used to calculate swimming speed.
The sex difference in performance was calculated using the equation ([swimming speed in women] – [swimming speed in men])/[swimming speed in men] 100, where the sex difference was calculated for each pairing of equally placed athletes (e.g., between men and women 1st place, etc.) before calculating the mean value and standard deviation of all the pairings. Prior to the analyses, all gender differences were converted to absolute values to make reading easier.
To compare top swimming speed between long and short course swimmers, the overall top 10 (i.e., 10 fastest swimming speed) female and male swimmers from the Swiss swimming high score list between 2000 and 2011, as well as the eight finalists from the FINA World, were identified and compared in terms of swimming speed and sex difference.
Prior to statistical analyses, each set of data was checked for normal distribution and homogeneity of variances to increase the reliability of the data analyses. The D'Agostino and Pearson omnibus normality test was used to determine the normal distribution, and homogeneity of variances was determined using a Levene's test in the case of two groups and a Bartlett's test in the case of more than two groups. Significant changes in a variable over time were discovered using linear regression. Significant differences between two groups were found using a Student's t-test with Welch's correction in cases of unequal variances.
To find significant differences between more than two groups (i.e., the fastest age group and the other age groups), a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with subsequent Dunnett post-hoc analysis was used. To determine the effect of sex and course length on swimming speed, a two-way ANOVA (sex vs. course length) was used. IBM SPSS Statistics (Version 19, IBM SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA) and GraphPad Prism (Version 5, GraphPad Software, La Jolla, CA, USA) were used for statistical analysis. For t-tests, significance was accepted at p < 0.05 (two-sided). The mean ± standard deviation are given in the text.
Breaststroke Swimming Technique | Stroke
Data from 26,556 athletes, including 13,277 women and 13,279 men on the short course, and 25,111 athletes, including 12,627 women and 12,484 men on the long course, were available from the Swiss swimming high score list. There were 125 finalists from the FINA World Championships, 56 women and 69 men on the short course, and 112 athletes on the long course, including 54 women and 58 men.
For 50 meters, 100 meters, and 200 meters, the short course was faster than the long course. The elite Swiss swimmers had a difference in swimming speed of 2.7% ± 0.9 [range: 1.8–3.6%] between 25 m and 50 m pools. At the FINA World Championships, the average difference between 25m and 50m pools was 3% ± 1.15 [range: 1.9–4.2%].
The third key finding was that in the short course, gender differences in swimming speed were greater than in the long course. In the short course, women achieved 90% of men's swimming speed, which is consistent with international data. World records were set faster in 25-meter pools than in 50-meter pools, according to Sharp et al., due to more turns and push-offs and lower blood lactate levels. The turns also cause a redistribution of muscular load, allowing for physiological recovery.
Over time, swimmers appeared to have improved their turn technique as well as their anaerobic performance (i.e. sprint). On a long course, the decrease in velocity could be related to the fact that endurance performance was harmed due to improved anaerobic performance due to increased muscle mass. This means that the longer the course, the more muscle fatigue there will be, which may impair swimming technique due to less streamlining and increased drag. As a result, an increase in energy cost and velocity will be impossible to maintain.
The fourth key finding was that the greater the competition distance, the smaller the disparities in swimming speed between men and women. Women have lower energy costs as a result of their anthropometric values for swimming long distances. Women are more streamlined and have less hydrodynamic resistance than men. According to Zuniga et al., women's performance could be improved by reducing body fat, because a higher body fat percentage can slow down swimming speed. In order to generate power, they must also gain fat-free weight.
While the short course emphasizes turns, the long course focuses on increasing endurance and speed over the course of each lap. In a pool that is twice as long, swimmers must maintain their technique and build speed on a consistent basis, which is no easy task.
On an average, the men were found to have a lower stroke rate and to be faster than the women. The latter finding could be a result of the men's longer stroke length and greater height.
The fastest and most efficient swimming stroke is freestyle, also known as the front crawl. That means you can go a lot further with the same amount of energy as you would with other strokes. Because of its efficiency, many swimmers prefer it as their preferred stroke for long distance swimming.
The four strokes are freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke in international swimming competitions. According to world records posted on USAswimming.com, the fastest competitive swimming stroke is freestyle, which is followed by butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke.
For distances between 50 and 200 meters, elite breaststroke swimmers at both national and international levels were ~3% faster in 25 m pools than in 50 m pools. Breaststroke swimming speed increased on short and long courses between 1.2 and 5.2% in elite swimmers competing at both national and international levels over the years, regardless of sex or distance. From 50 to 200 meters, the sex difference in breaststroke swimming speed was close to 11%, but it appeared to be slightly higher in 50 meter pools than in 25 meter pools. Other swim strokes should be studied in the future to see if there are any gender differences in short and long course.