Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Influence of Block Time in the Final 50 and 100 Meter Swimming Events Classification

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Influence of Block Time in the Final 50 and 100 Meter Swimming Events Classification

Article excerpt

Introduction

In high level championships small details define the swimming medalists. In the Beijing Olympic Games (2008), the 100m men's Butterfly Olympian champion won by a difference of just 0.01 seconds (50.58s x 50.59s). As known, to achieve the best performance in targeted competitions it requires a complex model of interactions (e.g. power, technique, and strategy), especially in sprint events (Costa et al., 2010; Costill,et al., 1992; Tor, Pease, & Ball, 2015). Traditionally, it is possible to segment the swimming events into three or four distinct phases, depending on the pool (25 or 50m) or event lengths (50 or 100m): start; swimming; turn; and arrival (Costill et al., 1992; Vantorre et al., 2010). This segmentation helps to identify and promote fine adjustments throughout the training process, possibly improving the final performance in events (Costill et al., 1992). As featured in literature (K. De Jesus, K. De Jesus K, Fernandes, Vilas-Boas, & Sanders, 2014; Tor et al., 2015; Vantorre et al., 2014), biomechanical factors influence the start performance in swimming events, e.g. take off horizontal velocity, entry angles, and underwater trajectories. The start phase is the first and shortest in swimming events, and could be defined as the point between the start signal and the very beginning of the first stroke cycle breaking the water surface (K. De Jesus et al. 2014; Vantorre et al., 2010). In addition, the start phase is traditionally subdivided into five other sub phases: block; flight; entry; glide; and leg kicking (Vantorre et al., 2010). According to our best knowledge, no other start sub phase has received more scientific attention than the block phase, including several perspectives: biomechanics (Alptekin, 2014; Galbraith, et al., 2008; Tor et al., 2015), training methods (Bishop et al., 2009; Cuenca-Fernández et al., 2015; West et al., 2011), and block geometry (Honda et al., 2012; Kibele et al., 2015; Takeda et al., 2012).

Changes that occurred in FINA rules (SW 7; FR 2.7) at the FINA World Championships (Rome, 2009) (K. De Jesus et al., 2013; Honda et al., 2012; Kibele et al., 2015), resulted in a large amount of studies that have investigated the impact of the new block (OSB11) configuration on swimming performance (Garcia-Hermoso et al., 2013; Slawson et al., 2011; Takeda et al., 2012). Those changes were, for example, the inclusion of an "adjustable, slanted footrest" to ventral strokes (butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle) (Vantorre et al., 2014) and three different start handgrips (i.e., two horizontal and one vertical) for dorsal stroke (backstroke) (K. De Jesus et al., 2014). One parameter used to investigate the impact of block configuration changes is the "reaction time" (RT), the official term used by FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation), or the scientific term "block time" (BT), is the combination of the time interval between the start signal and the first movement and the time interval between the first movement and the last contact of the feet with the block or wall (Sanders, 2002; Vantorre et al., 2010). A few studies showed correlations of BT (r ~0.6) with the total start time until the 15 m mark (Cossor & Mason, 2001; Vantorre et al., 2010). In addition, other studies related the BT with the final time (FT) events (Garcia-Hermoso et al., 2013; Mason and Cossor, 2000; Tanner, 2011). In this sense, the results of Mason and Cossor (2000) and Garcia-Hermoso et al. (2013) showed that BT is related to the FT in the traditional block version, (50m: r = 0.84, p < 0.01; r = 0.278, p < 0.001; 100m: r = 0.50, p < 0.05; r = 0.302, p < 0.001, respectively). Moreover, Garcia-Hermoso et al. (2013) analyzed swimmers based on their classification; medalists (1st to 3rd), finalists (4th to 8th), e semi-finalists (9th to 16th) of 50 and 100m freestyle events. They found that medalists BTs were faster when semi-finalists in 50 and 100m events (p= 0.006 and 0.017, respectively) for the traditional block (OSB9). …

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