Swimming Stroke Mechanical Efficiency and Physiological Responses of 100-m Backstroke with and without the use of paddles

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Spilios Messinis, Nikos Beidaris, Spyros Messinis, Helen Soultanakis, Petros Botonis, Theodoros Platanou

The use of swimming aids during training contributes to greater swimming efficiency by the improvement of the swimming specific power of the athlete. The purpose of this study was to compare the swimming stroke technical characteristics and the physiological responses of swimming 100-m backstroke, with and without the use of paddles at maximum and sub-maximum intensities at the same swimming speed. Eight swimmers competing at the national level participated in this study. The measurements took place at 4 different sessions. At every session, each participant swam individually one 100-m backstroke swimming trial with or without paddles at the same speed and two levels of intensity (100% and 85% of maximum speed). The results revealed lower stroke length, greater stroke number and gliding length without the use of swimming paddles at both intensities. Βlood lactate concentration (10.03±2.96 vs. 5.85±2.23 mmol/l) and Rating of Perceived Exertion (17.43±2.07 vs. 12±2.82) were greater without the use of swimming paddles only at 100% of maximum speed. Thus, swimming backstroke with paddles compared to unaided swimming, at a similar speed, showed a greater efficiency at maximal but not at sub-maximal intensity.
DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2014-0019
Key words
swimming, training aids, stroke length, stroke number, gliding length, blood lactate

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