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The key kinematic determinants of undulatory underwater swimming at maximal velocity

Connaboy, Chris; Naemi, Roozbeh; Brown, Susan; Psycharakis, Stelios; McCabe, Carla; Coleman, Simon; Sanders, Ross


Chris Connaboy

Roozbeh Naemi

Stelios Psycharakis

Carla McCabe

Simon Coleman

Ross Sanders


The optimisation of undulatory underwater swimming is highly important in competitive swimming performance. Nineteen kinematic variables were identified from previous research undertaken to assess undulatory underwater swimming performance. The purpose of the present study was to determine which kinematic variables were key to the production of maximal undulatory underwater swimming velocity. Kinematic data at maximal undulatory underwater swimming velocity were collected from 17 skilled swimmers. A series of separate backward-elimination analysis of covariance models was produced with cycle frequency and cycle length as dependent variables (DVs) and participant as a fixed factor, as including cycle frequency and cycle length would explain 100% of the maximal swimming velocity variance. The covariates identified in the cycle-frequency and cycle-length models were used to form the saturated model for maximal swimming velocity. The final parsimonious model identified three covariates (maximal knee joint angular velocity, maximal ankle angular velocity and knee range of movement) as determinants of the variance in maximal swimming velocity (adjusted-r2 = 0.929). However, when participant was removed as a fixed factor there was a large reduction in explained variance (adjusted r2 = 0.397) and only maximal knee joint angular velocity continued to contribute significantly, highlighting its importance to the production of maximal swimming velocity. The reduction in explained variance suggests an emphasis on inter-individual differences in undulatory underwater swimming technique and/or anthropometry. Future research should examine the efficacy of other anthropometric, kinematic and coordination variables to better understand the production of maximal swimming velocity and consider the importance of individual undulatory underwater swimming techniques when interpreting the data.


Connaboy, C., Naemi, R., Brown, S., Psycharakis, S., McCabe, C., Coleman, S., & Sanders, R. (2016). The key kinematic determinants of undulatory underwater swimming at maximal velocity. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34(11), 1036-1043.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 25, 2015
Online Publication Date Sep 14, 2015
Publication Date Jun 2, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 28, 2016
Journal Journal of Sports Sciences
Print ISSN 0264-0414
Electronic ISSN 1466-447X
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 11
Pages 1036-1043
Keywords Maximum velocity, cycle length, cycle frequency, sport science support,
Public URL