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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2006 June;46(2):232-7


language: English

Effect of two different sized hand paddles on the front crawl stroke kinematics

Gourgoulis V., Aggeloussis N., Vezos N., Mavromatis G.

Department of Physical Education and Sport Science Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini, Greece


Aim. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of two different sized hand paddles on the three-dimensional underwater stroke pattern of front crawl swimming at a fixed stroke rate.
Methods. Nine male adolescent competitive freestyle swimmers participated in the study. Each subject swam a series of 25 m trials at a constant stroke rate, without and with hand paddles of two different cross sectional areas (small paddles: 116 cm2, large paddles: 311 cm2). An acoustic metronome connected with a sound amplifier was used to help the subject keep the stroke rate constant. Stroke rate was calculated for each subject using the time for 3 complete right arm stroke cycles. The underwater motion of each subject’s right arm was filmed using two S-VHS cameras, operating at 60 fields/s, which were located behind two underwater viewing windows. The spatial coordinates of selected points on the right arm and the hip were calculated using the DLT procedure with 30 control points and after the digital filtering of the raw data with a cut-off frequency of 6 Hz, the hand’s linear displacements and velocities, as well as the mean swimming velocity, were calculated. Moreover, the displacement of the hip in the direction of propulsion, from the right hand’s entry to the next entry of the same hand, was calculated in order to determine the stroke length. For the statistical treatment of the data the analysis of variance for dependent samples was used.
Results. The analysis of the data revealed that when hand paddles were worn, the stroke length (F2,16=10.329; P<0.05) and the mean swimming velocity (F2,16=5.076; P<0.05) were significantly increased, while the temporal characteristics of the underwater stroke and the displacement of the hand were not significantly altered. On the other hand, the peak backward hand speeds during the insweep (F2,16=4.794; P<0.05) and the push phase (F2,16=5.827; P<0.05) were greatly reduced. These modifications were greater when large paddles were worn.
Conclusion. From the results of the present study it was concluded that the movement pattern was not significantly modified when swimmers swam with hand paddles, at a constant stroke rate. However, large hand paddles caused a decrease in their hand velocities during the underwater stroke.

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