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Propulsive efficiency of alternative underwater flykick techniques for swimmers

Propulsive efficiency of alternative underwater flykick techniques for swimmers
Propulsive efficiency of alternative underwater flykick techniques for swimmers

Analysis of video and speed data is used to evaluate the efficiency of human underwater flykick. The authors show that by coupling Lighthill’s theory of fish locomotion with human musculoskeletal modelling, it is possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the mechanical and hydrodynamic propulsive components of human underwater flykick. This allows the effect of subtle variances in technique to be assessed by measurement of athlete motion alone. This is demonstrated in an experimental case study of an elite athlete performing two different techniques; one more knee-based or thunniform, and the second more undulatory or carangiform/anguilliform. In finding the mean kinematics of each technique, it is first shown that maintaining stroke-by-stroke consistency of technique leads to an increase in propulsive efficiency. It is further demonstrated that in changing technique, an athlete may swim at the same kick rate but have different propulsive efficiency. This demonstrates the need to determine the energy cost in order to evaluate differing techniques. For the sprint athlete in this case study, it was shown to be more effective to swim with a thunniform technique when at higher velocities and a more anguilliform at lower velocities.

Dolphin kick, musculoskeletal model, propulsive efficiency, swimming, underwater undulatory swimming
1754-3371
354-364
Phillips, Christopher W.G.
64d39da7-ce38-4265-9c8e-6c20c9ce4bba
Forrester, Alexander I.J.
176bf191-3fc2-46b4-80e0-9d9a0cd7a572
Hudson, Dominic A.
3814e08b-1993-4e78-b5a4-2598c40af8e7
Turnock, Stephen R.
d6442f5c-d9af-4fdb-8406-7c79a92b26ce
Phillips, Christopher W.G.
64d39da7-ce38-4265-9c8e-6c20c9ce4bba
Forrester, Alexander I.J.
176bf191-3fc2-46b4-80e0-9d9a0cd7a572
Hudson, Dominic A.
3814e08b-1993-4e78-b5a4-2598c40af8e7
Turnock, Stephen R.
d6442f5c-d9af-4fdb-8406-7c79a92b26ce

Phillips, Christopher W.G., Forrester, Alexander I.J., Hudson, Dominic A. and Turnock, Stephen R. (2021) Propulsive efficiency of alternative underwater flykick techniques for swimmers. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, 235 (4), 354-364. (doi:10.1177/1754337120912610).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Analysis of video and speed data is used to evaluate the efficiency of human underwater flykick. The authors show that by coupling Lighthill’s theory of fish locomotion with human musculoskeletal modelling, it is possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the mechanical and hydrodynamic propulsive components of human underwater flykick. This allows the effect of subtle variances in technique to be assessed by measurement of athlete motion alone. This is demonstrated in an experimental case study of an elite athlete performing two different techniques; one more knee-based or thunniform, and the second more undulatory or carangiform/anguilliform. In finding the mean kinematics of each technique, it is first shown that maintaining stroke-by-stroke consistency of technique leads to an increase in propulsive efficiency. It is further demonstrated that in changing technique, an athlete may swim at the same kick rate but have different propulsive efficiency. This demonstrates the need to determine the energy cost in order to evaluate differing techniques. For the sprint athlete in this case study, it was shown to be more effective to swim with a thunniform technique when at higher velocities and a more anguilliform at lower velocities.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 21 January 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 14 May 2021
Additional Information: Funding Information: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by the EPSRC (grant reference EP/H501568/1). Publisher Copyright: © IMechE 2020. Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: Dolphin kick, musculoskeletal model, propulsive efficiency, swimming, underwater undulatory swimming

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 449137
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/449137
ISSN: 1754-3371
PURE UUID: fd65be54-66a0-4705-b8aa-2697541e459f
ORCID for Christopher W.G. Phillips: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6315-474X
ORCID for Dominic A. Hudson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2012-6255
ORCID for Stephen R. Turnock: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6288-0400

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Date deposited: 18 May 2021 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:37

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