Swimming Energy Calculator

OttrLoggr: Energy Use Calculator

Swim Energy Usage


RER Value Guide

Slow (0.7)
A1 band - warm-up, recovery, cool-down sets
Moderate (0.85)
A2 band - aerobic capacity sets
Intense (1.00)
A3 band - aerobic power, VO2max sets

Data Source: Zamparo P, Bonifazi M (2013). Bioenergetics of cycling sports activities in water.

Coded for Swimming Science by Cameron Yick

Freestyle data

Total Cost

Quick Food Reference

48g Carbs
25g Carbs
Peanut Butter
16g (2 tablespoons) *

Cammile Adams Discusses Training and Biomechanics

1) Since your last interview you began training at SwimMac Carolina. What have biggest
transitions with your in-water training?

I'm actually still in school. Im in my last semester right now. So being back in Aggieland has been great! I really missed the girls team this summer so it’s been fun being back!

2) Currently, what are the biggest biomechanical aspects you're working on in your butterfly?

I’ve been working mainly on getting more out of my kicks and keeping that second kick in my stroke throughout the race. David had me doing some different things this summer and I’m still working on those things back here at school.

3) What specific training aspects are you working on for your 200 fly (improving take out
speed, finishing, etc.)?

I’m working on trying to get a little more front half speed. I’m usually really good back half so just trying to lay in on the line a little earlier has been my focus here lately.

4) Has your dryland training changed in the past few years, if so how?

It has quite a bit! Haven’t done a lot outside of the water besides dryland, cardio and weights. This summer I added in some yoga and pilates and really loved both of those. I felt like that really helped my body position in the water and I had a ton of fun doing it!

5) What about your meet preparation behind the block?

Meet preparation behind the blocks kind of changes depending on the meet. Some international meets you’re in the ready room for 20 or so minutes before you actually race. So then I try to just stay relaxed…I usually bring my music with me so that helps. I also like to stretch a bit before and just make sure I’m feeling loose. As far as right before the race starts…I usually splash some water in my face and just take in the atmosphere of the meet.

6) Last time you only took iron supplementation, has this changed at all?

Hasn’t changed at all.

7) What are your goals for 2015 and 2016?

My goals for 2015 and 2016…I’m really excited to have made the Worlds team! So that meet will be my main focus for the summer. Ill be going to SC words here pretty soon in late November so that will be a great time racing short course meters. As far as after that, I just want to continue training in order to put myself in a good place to medal in 2016.

Daniel Marinho Discusses Finger Position in Swimming

1. Please introduce yourself to the readers (how you started in the profession, education, credentials, experience, etc.).

My name is Daniel Marinho, I was a swimmer and a coach for many years. I started my PhD in 2005 regarding the analysis of swimming propulsion using CFD methodology. Since then we have been able to participate in several research projects but also to work in straight cooperation with the swimmers, the clubs, namely with the Portuguese Swimming Federation.

At this moment I am working at University of Beira Interior and at CIDESD Research Center, in Portugal.

2. You recently co-authored a paper regarding finger position during swimming. Has there been much research on this subject?

In the past there has been a great interest under this field, namely with the studies carried-out by Schleihauf. However, recently there has been again an increase interest on the analysis of the best finger position, namely with the use of CFD.

3. What did your study look at?

We analyzed the effect of finger spreading and thumb abduction on the hydrodynamic force generated by the hand and forearm during swimming. We would like to understand what could be the best finger position to increase the propelling force.

4. Did your team consider any other methods for monitoring finger position?

At this moment we were very interested in using CFD to conduct this study, especially to improve our previous studies regarding this field, although we believe the combination of different methods and different studies could be the best solution to improve our knowledge under this field.

5. How did you ensure the swimmers had the same finger position throughout their trial?

It is the advantage of CFD analysis. As we are using computational simulations, one can add some input data into the system and to be sure that this input data will remain the same during the analysis. We used 3D models of the swimmers, obtained with a 3D scanner, so after that procedure one can manipulate and insert the desired data into the system and verify what is the result.

6. What were the practical implications for coaches and swimmers from your study?

I would state that finger and thumb positioning in swimming is determinant for the propulsive force produced during swimming; indeed, this force is dependent on the direction of the flow over the hand and forearm, which changes across the arm’s stroke. Therefore, coaches should be aware that the most appropriate technique must include changes in the relative positions of the fingers and thumbs during the underwater path.

However, when referring to finger spreading, it seems fingers should be grouped or even slightly separated to maximize lift and propulsive drag force production for most sweepback and attack angles.

7. Do you think ideal finger position varies on the swimming stroke?

Yes, we do. The geometry of the hand circumstantially used by a swimmer, especially the position of the thumb, appears to be dependent on and determined by the predominance of the lift and drag forces in each phase of the propulsive action, aiming to best orient the resultant force and thus the effective propulsive force. Thus, thumb abduction and adduction tend to favor propulsive drag or lift under different conditions. It is interesting to notice this situation in high-level swimmers, who changed the position of the fingers, especially the thumb, during the stroke cycle (for instance, Alexander Popov seemed a good example of that).

8. How do you recommend teaching finger position from age-group through Olympic level swimmers?

Coaches should be aware that the most appropriate technique must include changes in the relative positions of the fingers and thumbs during the underwater path and that attention should be paid to the training of swimmers’ specific sensitivity to the hydrodynamic effects of water flow over the propulsive segments.

In age-group swimmers it is very important to allow the swimmer to test different finger position,
different hand position, different “sculling” and propelling drills, to allow improve the “feel of the water”. We believe this is the most important part regarding this issue. Later on, they will be ready and prepared to change the finger position, to be aware of the importance of these small changes during the stroke cycle to improve swimming velocity.

9. Do you think finger position varies much during a stroke cycle or is it static?

Yes, as stated before, we do believe there are important variations during the stroke cycle, allowing the swimmer to improve the capability of producing propelling force, especially regarding to changes in thumb abduction/adduction.

10. Who is doing the most interesting research currently in your field? What are they doing?

There are a lot of good works in swimming research. Fortunately swimming community is very active, as noticed in the last Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming Conference (Canberra, April 2014). Each year one can observe different research groups with good ideas, using interesting methods to allow a better understanding of swimming performance, thus it is always very difficult to highlight someone or some research group because at this moment it can be appearing an interesting study on a specific field.

Nevertheless, if you allow me I would like to say that I am very proud to be part of the Portuguese Research Team Network who has been doing very interesting works on swimming research.

11. What makes your research different from others?

Basically, one can point out two main things: (i) the use of CFD with realistic models, and the use of different hand/forearm models, and (ii) combining different finger spreading and different thumb positions within the same CFD simulation, which was a step forward in the analysis of swimming propulsion.

12. Which teachers have most influenced your research?

A lot of people have been influencing my work, some of them were my teachers and some cooperated with me in different research projects. All of them played an important role on my education process and I have the pleasure to keep working with them in different projects.

I would refer by a chronological order professor João Paulo Vilas-Boas and Professor Ricardo Fernandes, from the Faculty of Sport in Oporto, who were very important during my undergraduate studies and the ones who integrated me in swimming research projects. Later on Professor António José Silva and Professor Abel Rouboa, from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro and CIDESD Research Centre, for allowing me to be part on the CFD project applied to swimming research and supervised my work during the PhD. I would also indicate my colleague at CIDESD Research Centre Professor Tiago Barbosa and my colleague at University of Beira Interior (where I am working nowadays) Professor Mário Marques for the sharing of new ideas regarding swimming research and training methods.

I can not forget my father (Fernando Marinho), a swimming coach and teacher, who helped me think out of the box regarding swimming training, and my swimming coach professor António Vasconcelos (Tonas) who were always up to date regarding swimming training methods and enjoyed to share his knowledge with the others.

13. What research or projects are you currently working on or should we look from you in the future?

We want to continue improving the use of CFD in swimming research, and this should be one of our main focuses in the following years with some PhD students working under this scope and with some projects shared with different Research Centers.

On the other hand, we are very interested in developing and testing new ideas regarding swimming training methods, especially related to strength training and the effects of the use of different warm up routines in swimming performance. We have at this moment at University of Beira Interior and at CIDESD some PhD and Master degree students working under these topics, so we believe in a new future we can present some interesting results.

Victor G. Sarramian Discuses Post-activation Potentiation for Swimmers

1. Please introduce yourself to the readers (how you started in the profession, education,
credentials, experience, etc.). (pictures)

I completed my Sport Science degree at University of Leon (Spain), followed by a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. Soon after finishing my studies I took a job as a swimming coach in a small team.

In 2005, I moved to London and started working as a PE teacher and swimming instructor. My increasing interest in endurance sports, led me to train a number of athletes in and out of the pool. I realized that I wanted to learn more, in which to improve their performance and my knowledge, a MSc in Strength & Conditioning seemed to be a perfect match for my degree in Sport Science. So that's exactly what I did, I attained my Msc and was delighted when my dissertation was awarded with a distinction and proposed for publication. It has been finally published in one of the most prestigious journals in the field of sports science. (http://goo.gl/CJvoxY)

I also gained sound knowledge on different subjects such as applied strength training, research methods, and corrective exercise...but mostly, I learned how important it was to manipulate every training variable with evidence-based facts.

Alongside my studies, I worked at Barnet Copthalls Swimming Club under the supervision, of one of the best coaches in England; I assisted the club with the strength & conditioning programmes. Working with Rhys Gromnley was an invaluable experience, he gave me the opportunity to get involved with the making of national champions. During my time in the squad, I learned that bridging the gap between sport science and day-to-day coaching is a key factor to enhance performance.

Currently, I deliver S&C sessions for endurance athletes with a strong scientific input. Personal training customers also benefit from my knowledge and experience.

2. You recently published an article on post-activation potential (PAP) and sprint swimming performance. First, what is PAP?

Postactivation Potentiation (PAP) is a relatively new phenomenon in sport and exercise science that provides coaches with a new tool to potentially impact sports and exercise performance. PAP can be defined as a condition whereby acute muscle force is increased due to a previous high resistance exercise.

Popular training methods implemented to seek an acute augmentation in maximal power output have been already benefiting from PAP by utilizing the method of complex training where by a heavy-load exercise is followed by a low-load high velocity or plyometric exercise e.g. barbell back squats followed by box jumps or bench press followed by bench throws.

The inclusion of a PAP protocol in the warm up has been object of study in a number of researches, having shown enhanced performance in a variety of sports such us rugby (Kilduff et al, 2007), weightlifting (Chiu et al, 2003), football (Mc Bride and Erickson, 2005) and track and field (Linder et al., 2010 ).

The underlying mechanisms behind PAP are not fully understood yet, but the phosphorylation of the regulatory light myosin chains and the increased recruitment of high threshold motor units have been proposed as the two most coherent underlying PAP mechanism theories .

3. Has there been previous research on PAP and swimmers? If so, what do we know?

There is paucity of published research on the effects of PAP in competitive swimmers. To the best of my knowledge, the first study to address this topic was conducted by Kilduff et al. (2011). The research reveals that sprint times over 15m were similar after PAP using 3RM backsquats or a traditional warm-up.

Recently, a group of Spanish researches from the University of Granada published a really interesting paper, they demonstrate that start performance can be enhanced after a warm up with two different PAP stimuli , 3x85% RM of the lunge exercise and 4x YOYO squat.

Basically, we know that start performance can be enhanced using a PAP protocol and, based on our study, we also know that PAP is as effective as a traditional warm -up in the water, with the potential to increase performance over 50m in some individuals.

4. There is a lot of research on PAP in other sports, how did you decide on the exercises, loads, and rest you picked for your study?

The most important factor when choosing the exercises was practicality, we wanted to propose exercises that could be done in a real situation. I cannot imagine any swimming coach taking a squat rack, barbells and plates to a swimming meeting in order to warm-up the sprinters.

The exercise for the lower body was chosen based on previous research that showed increased power output of the leg extensors after jumping into a box wearing a weighted vest . (Fig 1) The external load of the weighted vest worn to perform the test equalled 10% of their body weight. (Thompsen et al 2007 and Burkett et al 2005). Three squat jumps performed 4, 8 and 12 minutes after the PAP stimulus were performed in order to establish optimal rest periods for power output enhancement for the lower body. For example, if a swimmer achieved the highest jump 12 minutes after the weighted jump to the box , we obviously established 12 minutes as his optimal rest period for the lower body. Simple.

Fig 1

Choosing an exercise for the upper body was a bit more complex because all the previous PAP studies focused investigated pushing actions such as bench presses. We thought that a pull-up was a simple exercise that replicated to some extend the underwater pulling motion of front crawl. The 3RM was determined by adding the athlete's body weight to a vest's additional weight that was worn during the 3RM PU test.

The swimmers completed a medicine-ball-throw test in order to determine optimal time to upper body muscle enhancement following the loaded pull-ups. (Fig 2)

Fig 2

5. What your study specifically looked at?

The primary aim was to compare the effectiveness of the PAP protocols with a traditional warm-up in the water. Secondly, the research examined the effect of the loaded pull-up and the weighted jump to a box as conditioning activities to produce potentiation on sprint swimming.

6. What were the practical implications for coaches and swimmers from your study?

There are several implications:

(1) Postactivation potentiation has the potential to be a useful tool for coaches to warm-up swimmers participating in sprinting events, especially when space and time limitations can impede performance of a warm-up in the water.

(2) It is imperative to identify the conditioning activities and following rest intervals that trigger potentiation in each swimmer. The combined protocol showed to be a valuable method to boost performance to some extent in some individuals.

In my opinion, knowing how to interpret the data is key to understand the outcome of a research. Most data is published as average and standard deviation and we look for statistically significant differences, but in the pool we work with individuals. If you look at the data from a pure statistical point of view, you might think 'ok, the results of the PAP protocols are not so impressive', but some swimmers achieved reasonably good improvements that could mean a lot in a championship. Those performances will not be reflected in the results section of a paper because a few remarkable individual performances using PAP may be diluted in the overall results or hindered by those swimmers who performed poorly under a PAP protocol. Knowing that some swimmers may respond positively to PAP, makes it worth trying.

Another promising fact about this study is that 12 out of the 18 swimmers performed better following one of the three PAP protocols.

For that reason, the coaches should be encouraged to experiment with different exercises to determine what works best for each swimmer. I know this is hard work but in elite swimming, very small improvement in times are crucial amongst competitors in sprint events.

(3) Conditioning activities such as the weighted jump to the box described in the present study represent an effective and simple method to warm-up the lower body, the vest's load can be easily adjusted to meet individual needs and can be taken into any swimming pool, as opposed to more voluminous and heavier weight-lifting material.

7. Why do you think PAP for the upper body impaired performance?

When swimming, the hands do not apply force against a solid base of support and follow curvilinear patterns of movement under the water. Consequently, the kinematic characteristics of the freestyle stroke are extremely hard to replicate out of the water, which may impede the transfer into performance enhancement. The PU, regardless of its pulling nature may differ extensively from the actual motion of the arms under the water. Furthermore, Figueiredo et al. (2013) revealed high activation of the triceps brachii muscle during the upsweep phase of the freestyle stroke. The upsweep is the most propulsive sweep in freestyle swimming and the PU may not be an appropriate exercise to produce high activation of the triceps brachii.

8. Did any of the swimmers have greater performance in the upper body PAP condition?

Only one out of 18 swimmers, what makes me think that there is a lot of room for improvement for the combined PAP protocol. Imagine for a moment, that the combined PAP protocol was composed by an improved upper body exercise and the 4 x YoYo Squat for the lower body, which has already shown positive outcomes to enhance performance of the lower body (Cuenca- Fernandez et al, 2014). Maybe we could have a superb protocol that is exceptionally valuable for some sprinters.

9. Since the regular swimming warm-up and combined warm-up had similar results, how can coaches decide who to prescribed the combined protocol?

Trial and error, I am afraid. As I mentioned before, it is the coach's task to experiment and get to know his/her swimmers' responses to different stimuli.

10. Do you think PAP is something that can be done before major meets or just high-intensity practices?

I would experiment with different PAP protocols in practices and low key events. If it works under those circumstances, I think there is no excuse for not trying.

Additionally, it can be performed when space and time limitations can impede the performance of a warm-up in the water. It is not unusual to hold a swimming event in facilities without a warm up pool and some swimmers may compete long after they warm-up in the water.

11. What makes your research different from others?

(1) Despite the significance of upper body pulling performance on a variety of sports (e.g., swimming, judo), no studies have investigated the outcome of specific conditioning activities to trigger PAP for pulling motions. I believe we have been the first researchers investigating PAP for pulling motions.

(2) This is also the first study investigating the effects of a combined PAP protocol to enhance upper and lower body performance simultaneously. Previously, all PAP studies focused on upper or lower body separately.

(3) Finally, we look at performance on a swimming event, the 50m freestyle. Former research studied performance only on swim starts.

12. Which teachers have most influenced your research?

The research was my dissertation project for a MSc in Strength and Conditioning (Middlesex University, London) and I was most influenced by the whole environment during the course. From the very beginning I understood that all the knowledge that I was acquiring was based on the latest research, so I knew that I had to back up all my ideas with science and reflect that in my research project. When I presented my first literature review for this project, my tutor (Anthony Turner) suggested that I needed to improve and elaborate my ideas quite a lot. That moment was a real eye-opener, now I look back in time and realize that my original ideas, such us combining an upper and lower body PAP protocol were very innovative but at the same time I realized that I needed to raise the bar to write a decent paper. To be honest, I thought I wasn't going to pass the course and I got a bit obsessed with this research. Probably that obsession helped me to work extremely hard to produce a reasonably good research (at least for a student). I encourage every MSc student to publish their research project if they believe their work is good enough. They may contribute somehow to the development of sport science. Despite being a difficult and time-consuming task, preparing and submitting a research can be emotionally satisfying, and give a student a great sense of accomplishment and a confidence boost.

13. What are some unanswered questions regarding PAP and swimming performance?

We still need much more research on the topic. We need to test different PAP stimuli, try protocols over different distances, test PAP stimuli that are specific to different strokes or simply play around with the sets and repetitions of the exercises. A recent meta-analysis on PAP studies showed that performance enhancement was greater following multiple sets of a PAP stimuli than a single set.
In my opinion we know very little, we only know that PAP has a great potential to became a good tool for coaches to enhance performance.

14. What research or projects are you currently working on or should we look from you in the future?

At the moment I am 100% focused on running my company, I deliver S&C programmes for endurance athletes and personal training. I am not involved in any research but in the future I would love to keep working with endurance athletes. There are some topics I am very interested in, such as gluteus maximus strengthening in endurance runners, not only to prevent injury but to increase performance.

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss about my study and do not hesitate to contact me with your questions, research proposals or comments.

Victor G Sarramian
+44 (0) 7809719251

Interview: Roland Schoeman Discusses Swimming Biomechanics and Training

1) When did you begin swimming and get involved in the sport?

I only started swimming after I had turned 14 (I knew how to swim, because of some lessons when I was a kid), my entire life however had been spent playing a wide variety of other sports, Soccer, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, track and field, Field hockey and even Karate. I was my happiest in a sporting arena.

2) As a "late starter", what do you think about kids specializing in sports (particularly swimming) at such a young age?

Personally I don’t see the need in specializing at a young age, kids need to be kids, I believe they need to build their athleticism and concept of self by participating in individual sports as well as team sports. There is definitely a need for variety as it allows the kids to see exactly where they will succeed. I believe allowing kids to specialize later in life will allow for increased longevity.

3) In the past year, have you tried any new things in your swimming training? 

I’ve never been afraid of experimenting and trying something new. After the hype surrounding USRPT I decided that I would give it a try. While the science behind it may be sound and while there may have been success for some swimmers with this modality I found it impossible to buy into. It is my experience that most coaches succesfully incorporate elements of USRPT into their “well balanced” programs. Ultimately I have a problem with anyone functioning in absolutes. In everything in life, as in swimming there is a need for balance. Since Commonwealth games I have switched back to a more balanced swimming program and I couldn’t be happier.

4) What items are you currently working on with your freestyle technique

We made some changes before Barcelona in 2013 and while there were some benefits I believe I lost the “connection” especially as I started fatiguing. Lately we’ve been focusing on trying to be a bit flatter in the water and trying to avoid too much shoulder rotation

5) What do you do for dryland training

I’ve been working with Nick Folker and Train FASST for quite some time now. Nick and I go back to 1999 and he’s one of the best in the business. He tailor makes our workouts based on our specific needs and weaknesses. I have also been working with two Ki-Hara practitioners here in Phoenix. I love the difference the Ki-Hara resistance stretching has helped me with recovery and injury prevention

6) How about nutrition, do you follow any program for food and supplements? 

I’ve gone back and forth with various diets. PH Balanced diet, High Fat Low Carb, Blood type diet etc. I’ve found that at this point in time as long as I am eating healthy, avoiding excess sugar that I will recover properly and feel great on a day to day basis. I believe I had a tendency to over think my dietary requirements but now I just trust my body and intuition about what I need and how much of it I need.

7) As a veteran swimmer, what things do you wish you knew 10 years ago?

I wish I’d had a chance to help the overall development of South African swimming from a far earlier stage, after 2004 we had a huge platform to improve the professionalism and marketability of swimming. We unfortunately didn’t capitalize on that. Secondly I wish I’d done better to market myself and my successes. Unfortunately at this point in time with 2016 Olympics less than 2 years away I do not have a single sponsor.

8) Do you perform any particular injury prevention or recovery techniques? 

I have spent quite a bit of time talking to Kelly Starrett and have been following his principles for mobility. He’s an unbelievable guy with a wealth of knowledge, I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to tap into that.

9) What are some of the most important things you've implemented into your training? 

I think one of the most underrated things in terms of training is recovery. I have tried to ensure that I get as much sleep as possible at night. I have a device called an Earthpulse, it is an electromagnetic sleep device that helps improve sleep and overall performance.

10) What are you goals for 2015 and 2016?

Between now and 2016 I’d like to find several sponsors who will be willing to walk on this Olympic journey with me. If I attend the Olympics in Rio I will be the first South African to ever attend 5 Olympic games. It is an honor that I would like to achieve more than anything else. When it comes to the Rio games, I would like to represent South Africa in the 50 freestyle and I would like to be a part of the 4x100 free and 4x100 medley relays.

11) Why do you think there is resistance in adding 50 meter stroke events during international competition? 

Ultimately I can only speculate as to the real rational behind not including the 50m of strokes. In all honesty it makes no sense, if you want the crowd involved you have to cater to them. Modern sport is about the excitement, creating characters, setting events apart. As far as I am concerned there is a need for the 50’s of stroke and a 4x50 medley relay. I think we should question the current event order and scheduling. The World Championship schedule works fairly flawlessly and caters to the 50’s. At the end of the day it would be foolish not to include 50’s of stroke. Smaller nations who may not have top 100m swimmers all of a sudden also have the opportunity to compete for medals.

12) What are you working biomechanically for your butterfly?

For butterfly I am trying to improve my thoracic mobility as well as improve my shoulder flexibility. I need to improve my initial catch on the water so everything we are doing is geared towards that right now.

Follow @rolandschoeman and Instagram is Roland-Schoeman

Friday Interview: Shinichiro Moriyama, PhD, Discusses Intra-Abdominal Pressure

1. Please introduce yourself to the readers (how you started in the profession, education,
credentials, experience, etc.).
My name is Shinichiro Moriyama. I am an associate professor and competitive swimming coach at Japan Women’s College of Physical Education in Japan. I was awarded my PhD from National Institute of Fitness and Sports in 2014. My mentors are Department director of Sports Science Yuichi Hirano at Japan Institute of Sports Sciences and Professor Futoshi Ogita at National Institute of Fitness and Sports. Professor Hirano granted the advice about the importance of trunk training in human performance, and Professor Ogita guided me in the swimming science. It was the splendid experience for me to have studied under them.

I started coaching of the swimming club from 2002 at Japan Women’s College of Physical Education. I want to take a role to relate competition swimming to science.

2. You recently published an article on intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and swimming. What is IAP and how is it tested?
IAP changes as a result of synchronous contraction of the abdominal muscles, diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles and, through synergistic action with muscle activity of the trunk, contributes to lumbar spine stability.

We measured intra-rectal pressure as IAP using 1.6-mm-diameter catheter-type pressure transducer. Intra-rectal pressure that is more than 10cm from anus gives almost the same value as IAP measured using a laparoscope.

3. What did your study look at?
We hypothesized that IAP during front crawl swimming is affected by stroke rate, one of the factors affecting swimming velocity, and increases with swimming velocity.

We investigated to ascertain IAP during front crawl swimming at different velocities in competitive swimmers using swimming flume and to clarify the relationships between stroke indices and changes in IAP.

4. What were the practical implications for coaches and swimmers from your study?
It is difficult to suggest the practical implications from our study. Because it was no relationships between IAP and stroke indices. Additionally IAP during swimming was less than 15% of maximum voluntary IAP.

On the other hand, within-subject, IAP tends to increase with increased swimming velocity. Therefore the training to increase IAP during swimming may be effective means to swim faster.

5. Do you think the results would be different if you had older, elite or untrained swimmers?
We compared IAP of elite swimmers with untrained swimmers. As results, under their maximal efforts, we could not see significant difference between elite and untrained.

From this result, significant difference may not be accepted between the elite swimmer with older swimmer.

6. What if you had the swimmers perform around 2.0 m/s?
I instruct the swimmer who advanced to the A finals by the 50m free-style at Japan championship. Her IAP is not remarkably different from other swimmers.

7. Would other strokes change the results?
We are very interested in about IAP during other strokes. We are making an experiment plan now. Crawl stroke and back stroke have rolling motion, and butterfly stroke and breast stroke have up-down motion. Therefore we expect that the former’s (crawl stroke and back stroke) IAP waveforms are remarkably different from the latter’s (butterfly stroke and breast stroke). Additionally IAP development during butterfly strokes that are the highest load to trunk are highest in all strokes.

8. How should the results of your study be used for dryland and core training?
This question is very difficult for us. Recently, including me, many coaches and swimmers work on core training. We wanted to solve the meaning of core training by measuring IAP during swimming. But as results, IAP during swimming was much lower than we expected. Therefore, at least, our findings do not appear to support the effectiveness of core training performed by competitive swimmers aimed at increasing maximal IAP.

9. What research or projects are you currently working on or should we look from you in the future?
Even now, we are continuing experiment of IAP during swimming. We want to solve the meaning of core training and roles of trunk during swimming someday.

Friday Interview: Dr Chris Mills and Dr. Mitch Lomax Discusses Breast Influence on Biomechanics

1. Please introduce yourself to the readers (how you started in the profession, education,
credentials, experience, etc.).
Dr Chris Mills
I completed my PhD in 2005 at Loughborough University in the UK, where I was funded by British Gymnastics to investigate force dissipation characteristics of landing mats and gymnasts with the aim of reducing injury. I continued to focus my research on lower and upper body soft tissue motion and for the past 6 years have worked closely with the research group in breast health at the University of Portsmouth. As a part of this group we work closely with garment manufactures to improve their design, as well as conducting fundamental scientific research studies. Most of the research within breast biomechanics to date has been land based however recently a swimwear manufacturer approached our group with an interesting project. We combined our experience of breast biomechanics, swimming mechanics and physiology (via Dr Mitch Lomax, who has contributed to your website in the past) to investigate the effect of breast support on trunk motion during swimming.
I’m a Sport and Exercise Scientist and a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology at the University of Portsmouth, UK. I gained both my PhD (2007) and MSc (with distinction, 2001) from Brunel University, UK, and my BSc (Hon) from Luton University (1998). I’m an accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), Chartered Scientist (Science Council). I have been an advisor to the Amateur Swimming Association of England and was involved in the preparations of the English Pistol Shooting squad for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. My main sporting research interest is in swimming and predominantly breathing limitations.

2. You recently published an article on breast displacement in freestyle and breaststroke. Is there any other research on this area in swimming?
At present there is very limited research on breast mechanics, let alone the movement behavior of the breasts in water and the impact breast support has on swimming technique. Clearly more research is needed in this area to ascertain whether swimming costume design modifications could benefit performance.

3. What did your study look at?
We were interested in investigating whether varying levels of breast support influence swimming technique. On land, a lack of sufficient breast support has been shown to decrease performance and increase pain, however we did not know if the same was true in water. We were also particularly interested to understanding whether regular swimsuits afforded any support to the breast during swimming.

4. What were the results of your study?
Key findings suggested that although trunk motion was not altered with varying levels of breast support, a swimsuit was no more effective at reducing the movement of the breasts than not wearing one at all! Despite trunk motion not being effected by breast support conditions, ongoing research hopes to determine whether other aspects of swim stroke mechanics (such as hand path etc.), that may influence swim performance, are effected by the amount of breast support.

5. What were the practical implications for coaches and swimmers from your study?
Female swimmers with larger breasts may wish to consider wearing an additional sports bra under their swimsuit to reduce breast motion and compress the breasts against the chest wall (decreasing the trunk moment of inertia and the possibility of the breasts obstructing the desired hand path during swimming). Our findings revealed that a sports bra (traditionally used for landing based activities) was more effective as reducing breast motion than a swimsuit.

6. Do you think the same results would have occurred with faster women? Hi-tech suits? Women of smaller breast size?
This is difficult to answer however if the women swim faster the drag created would also increase. If the breasts are not ‘restrained’ sufficiently this may increase the ‘bagging’ effect (from our paper) and increase form drag and hence decrease performance. Hi Tech suits usually have a higher level of compression (similar to compression garments on land), however we have not tested this. Unpublished research from the group has found that upper body compression garments do reduce breast motion during land based running. It may be possible that a similar increase in compression may also reduce breast motion (similar to that of the sports bra in this study). Women with smaller breasts do not experience the same magnitudes of breast motion (on land) therefore in the water they are also likely to experience reduced magnitudes of breast motion when compared to women with larger breasts. The ‘bagging’ effect and potential increases in form drag may not be as great for women with smaller breasts.

7. Does male pec size influence swimming? Could this be one reason why "bulkier" male swimmers anecdotally did better with the full body suits?
This is a difficult one to comment on and really outside our area of expertise. The only aspect to consider is that men pecs are mainly muscle and hence are used to generate joint motion; however the female breast does not contain any muscle (just mainly fat and glandular tissue), hence minimizing their form drag may be beneficial to swimming performance.

8. What can swim suit manufactures do to improve swim suits for women?
I would recommend an increase the amount of compression afforded around the breasts to move their center of mass closer to the trunk and help to streamline their shape to decrease form drag. A higher neckline may also help to decrease the ‘bagging’ effect described in our paper. Possibly some structured support, similar to an encapsulation bra. Finally, appropriate sizing, that can cater more for trunk circumference and breast sizes variations, within a, for example, UK size 12 swimsuit.

9. What research or projects are you currently working on or should we look from you in the future?
We currently have two more papers under review associated with breast motion during water based activities. We are also seeking collaborative links with garment manufacturers interested in developing this area of research.

Friday Interview: Stefan Szczepan Ph.D. Discusses Immediate Feedback in Swimmers

1. Please introduce yourself to the readers (how you started in the profession, education, credentials, experience, etc.).
Hi, my name is Stefan Szczepan. I'm a scientist at University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw, Poland and I work at the Department of Swimming. This year I received a doctor degree. I'm interested in motor control and learning included motor skill acquisition processes in water environment, especially teaching communication, forms of instruction, augmented feedback, and practice schedules. My mentor is Professor Krystyna Zaton, the head of Institute of Physical Activity in Water Environment in my University. She guides me in the science. I’m very proud with this relationship and I am very thankful for the trust and the knowledge transfer. My most recent research is about the impact of immediate verbal feedback and concurrent visual feedback on the improvement of swimming technique. I am the author or co-author of few articles in research journals. I connect theory with practice while teaching swimming and swimmers trainer.

2. You recently published an article immediate feedback and swimming. What are the different types of feedback?
Feedback is sensory information that results from movement. There are two types of feedback: intrinsic (integral) and extrinsic (augmented feedback). Intrinsic feedback is the sensory information arising as a result of physical activity by the means of sensory mechanisms (exteroreceptors and proprioreceptors). Information that derives from the receptor allows for movement regulation as well as the adjustment of motor task completion to the desired model of physical activity. Extrinsic feedback is formed after the completion of a motor activity and is transmitted by a third. Examples of extrinsic information are verbal communication, gestures, video, timer displays. There are several distinct types of feedback which are categorized according to the time of its transmission: concurrent feedback (provided during motor task concern continuous information), immediate feedback (provided during motor task concern discrete information) and delayed (transmitted after the completion of the motor action). Types of feedback are the most important for me. The most effective information is verbal and immediate. If you are interested in it – follow this link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25114741

3. In your study you worked on improving the swimmers stroke length, can you explain how
you did this?
This study that we conducted together with Professor Zaton concerns the issues related to the importance of the transfer of feedback in an immediate manner to the learner during the learning swimming process. The work shows that the time in which the feedback reaches the learner is important in the motor control and that it improves swimming technique. The feedback communicated to the learner in real time manner regarding a performed motor function allows for the removal of errors in the short-term memory or prevents their formation. I chose a simple kinematic parameter of swimming movement as stroke length to confirm the importance of immediate verbal feedback. In this way the emergence of an error in the time-space structure of swimming motility was eliminated. The objective numerical dimension of the mistakes made allowed for a quantified relationship between the shortening of the swimming stroke length and the constant frequency of the propulsive movements. These factors led to a decrease in the efficiency of swimming, which was noted in the swimming velocity and a decrease in the economization of the swimming techniques, as indicated by the index SI. For these purpose I used special wireless tools including a system, transmitter and receiver for swimmer and teacher. This gave a possibility of a verbally and immediately control of swimming movement. It's an amazing technology that I spent significant money to develop and it works incredibly well.

4. What were the main results of your study?
The use of these tools in an experiment conducted on the experimental group, in which the information regarding the execution of the performed activity was transferred to students in an immediate manner, indicated that the swimming stroke is significantly improved along with an increased swimming speed while maintaining the same frequency of movements. This resulted in an effective movement in the aquatic environment. In the control group, however, where such information was not given, there was no observed swimming stroke elongation while maintaining the same frequency of movements. The transmission of immediate feedback in order to prevent the occurrence of errors or to eliminate them entirely, this also resulted in an improvement in the economization of swimming motor functions. The economization of swimming techniques was assessed using the index of SI [stroke index], which was considered as its measurement. Increase in the index SI values will see a decrease in the physiological cost of effort. In the control group this increase was not observed. It looks like that work tool and the assumptions of study can be used in any other motor swimming motor activity, not only stroke length. An example would be learning and improving movements of the legs and hands, body position in the water or coordination aspects, as well as other swimming motor elements.

5. What were the practical implications for coaches and swimmers from your study?
With the breaking of communication barriers, the following improve:
  1. Preventing the occurrence of errors and removing them from the motor memory.
  2. Improving motor structures and the cost reduction of physiological effort.
  3. Conditions will be created to improve the quality of swimming techniques with various degrees of accomplishment of utilitarian.
  4. Recreational values of physical culture, as well as antagonistic values noticeable in the competitive sports oriented towards maximizing achievement. 
The applied value of the method used, in which the verbal feedback was transmitted instantaneously in an immediate manner, in the practice of teaching and coaching is the enrichment of the communication technology regarding the correct structure of swimming motor functions. This is the main principle. The above assumptions are based on the physiological structure of human memory, whose different types are classified depending on how long information is stored in them. At first site, takes include human motor memory and second site augmented immediate verbal feedback. I give a method with used immediate verbal feedback for improves swimming technique and effectively the swimming learning process.
6. Do you think the results would be different if you had older, elite or untrained swimmers?
For sure people perceive information differently, due to age, sex or seniority. Probably we would observe differences between elite and non swimmers. This study showed the impact of immediate feedback on young swimmers. It can be apply for all swimmers, but the results may be a little different. In the future, I will plan other studies that answer on this question clearly.

7. Do you think immediate tactile or visual feedback would have different results?
Teaching and improvement of swimming technique is effective when external information is transmitted in three forms: words, images and practical actions. In case of the tactile I need to appeal to kinesthetic differentiation. It is one of the most important motor abilities. This ability is a precise perception of strength, time, and space. Feeling spatial movements, feeling of movement speed, what it’s called "water feeling” makes precise control of the movements. Tactile feedback can improve kinesthetic differentiation and makes to decrease energy cost and achieving better results. We deal this issue at my University. As regards the visual feedback I use special device. For example, it is the optical fiber giving the swimmer concurrent visual information. The light beam also provides the swimmer with the information on swimming speed. The ability to control the speed of swimming is an important part of preparation during swimming training. This is especially important when the desire is to obtain a pure training stimulus. Swimming with a defined - constant speed impacts on economical labor, and allows for maintaining a low physiological cost. Therefore, the development of a method that allows for acquisition and improvement of that skill is an important methodical goal in the process of swimming training optimization.

8. When working on biomechanics, how do you suggest tapering down feedback when the swimmer is progressing?
The role of the teacher is to provide feedback as long as the swimmer will acquire motor habit. Motor habit in human motor memory are formed after several thousand repetitions, therefore, the time of their acquisition is different. The next step in order to improve the quality of swimming mobility is multiple individual repetitions of the correct structure for motion, which was acquired by the use of immediate, verbal regulation regarding the swimming motor structures. Of course, if there are errors the teacher must again respond. Feedback can be addictive. In order to avoid the negative effects of frequent augmented feedback various techniques have been applied such as faded, bandwidth, summary, average or self-controlled schedules have been used.

9. Should teams utilize immediate auditory feedback?
I have a plan to develop my device and bring it to the swimming team. This allows the delivers of the individual swimmer and for the whole group. It will be easier to conduct training.

10. What makes your research different from others?
An innovative aspect of the subject undertaken is to identify empirically, that the time in which the information reaches the learner is important in the learning process and that it improves swimming technique. My work examines important aspect impeding the process of teaching of swimming and technique improvement. The interference in didactic communication – it is particularly noticeable when an exercise is executed in an atypical environment, for example in water. The aquatic environment hinders the reception of information because a number of disruptive factors such as the distance between the teacher and the learner or ambient noise favors errors in a given exercise. Thus, the environmental factors make it hard to use verbal feedback to its full communicative potential in the process of swimming acquisition or technique improvement. It may also be challenging to immediately eliminate or prevent (within short-term memory) errors as or before they appear, as I said early. I believe that the results of the present research work should contribute to defining the actual significance of immediate verbal feedback in swimming acquisition and improvement.

11. Which teachers have most influenced your research?
The person who influenced the most on my research has been my professor Krystyna Zatoń. For me she is a really big scientist. All the time she teaches me how to be better. It requires a lot of my sacrifices. Since I started working with her at Department of Swimming my life sped up, but I like it. I can learn a lot from a great biomechanic of swimming, a professor Marek Rejman too. We work together. I guess that we are good scientific team. Also I take inspiration from different scientists who are engaged in motor control and learning. There are many in the world, so I need to check of the database brand new publications.

12. What research or projects are you currently working on or should we look from you in the future?
I’m currently working on the evaluation of the achievements of swimmers. This evaluation is performed during motor activity in real time. Ability to take correct feedback to evaluation swimming technique can increase swimming performance. Usually, data are obtained from delay, e.g. with using movement analysis software. In addition, the aquatic environment interferes common available device for the evaluation, e.g. Infrared. Therefore I develop telemetry measuring swimming techniques. It enables in real-time provide feedback on the structure of the swimming movement. Wireless method of assessing swimming techniques can be used for research purposes to create maps of swimming techniques, to quantify. In addition, I’m interested in biofeedback and the implementation of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the verification of feedback in swimming learning. Both issues seem to be good for my future. Many questions pertaining to increase the process of swimming acquisition and teaching remain unanswered and further research appears necessary. I hope it finishes successfully. I have one rule in my life, that says never stop.

Thanks Stefan!

Friday Interview: Liz Sanil Discusses Motor Learning

1) Please introduce yourself to the readers (how you started in the profession,
education, credentials, experience etc.).
I first became interested in kinesiology after a visit to an athletic therapist following a high school wrestling injury. During my undergraduate degree I became particularly interested in motor learning and control. My MSc, Ph.D. and postdoctoral research have focused on practice factors such as practice scheduling and feedback and providing choice to the learner during practice.

2) You have published many articles on motor learning. What are the different theories on motor learning?
Theory plays a large role in my research projects. The predominant formal theory in motor leaning today is Schmidt's schema theory, which addresses movement production and evaluation. This theory borrowed the effective parts of earlier motor learning and psychology theories and built upon them with knowledge about motor control and leaning processes. Schmidt's Schema theory does not however provide us with a complete understanding of motor learning and there are other important theoretical perspectives and hypotheses which can contribute to our understanding of motor learning.  Schmidt and Lee (2011, chapter 13) divide these perspectives into categories including the cognitive perspective which addresses the role of cognitive processes such as planning and evaluation of movement in motor leaning, the hierarchical control perspective which addresses the construction of motor programs, shifting control of a skill from higher to lower-level control processes, and the Bernstein perspective which addresses stages of learning though which degrees of freedom (e.g. joints) are progressively released and reorganized. This perspective also emphasizes the interaction between the sensory-motor system and the environment. Recently, some aspects of motor learning have also been examined from motivational perspectives originating in psychology theory.

3) What is the motor learning research confident about?
Much of the application of motor learning research is dependent upon factors such as the type of task to be learned, the characteristics of the learner (such as age or experience level) and the type of environment in which the skill is learned and performed. New theoretical perspectives and hypotheses are also being examined in attempts to address the shortfalls of current theories. Nonetheless, there are several general concepts we can be reasonably confident about that are applicable to coaching. One very  straightforward concept is termed "law of practice", which states that with all other things being equal, the more practice trials completed, the more learning will occur. Improvements are generally large at the start of practice and decrease in magnitude over time (Schmidt & Lee, 2011, chapter 11). Another example is the concept of stages of learning; several researchers have proposed that learners move through a series of stages in the learning of a motor skill.  While the number of stages and their specific names differ between researchers, it is generally agreed that at the start of practicing a new skill, learners engage in a lot of cognitive activity figuring out appropriate strategies. At this early stage performance is quite variable and many training techniques are most effective, aiding in the development of appropriate strategies. In the next stage learners have already figured out what it is they need to do and now focus more on adjustments to how the skill is performed. In this stage the movements become more consistent and effective through relatively small changes. After quite some time of practice the skill may become relatively automatic, freeing up resources for the learner to use on other tasks (Schmidt & Lee, 2011, chapter 13). Understanding approximately where a particular learner or athlete is in terms of these stages of learning can help a coach choose appropriate training techniques to benefit learning.

The research provides consistent evidence for the effectiveness of many training techniques in relation to factors such as practice scheduling, feedback, focus of attention, models, guidance and part versus whole practice, but in interest of space I won't go into great detail here (See chapters 11 & 12 in Schmidt & Lee, 2011).

4) What are some big unknowns or misconceptions?
Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about motorlearning, particularly in sport, is
that performance during practice is indicative of learning that has taken place. Because motor learning is considered a relatively permanent change in performance, due to practice, sometimes the changes that are taking place with learning are not immediately evident. Many strategies that have been shown to benefit learning can be detrimental to performance during a practice session. Dr. Damian Farrow gives a great example of this distinction using an example of swimming training sessions (see pages 372-375 in Skill Acquisition in Sport: Research, Theory and Practice, Hodges, N.J. & Williams A.M. eds.) He distinguishes between performance-based practice sessions and learning-focused practice sessions. Performance-based sessions have a focus on performance outcome measures (e.g. time, stoke rate) and the inclusion of all elements of a race environment (e.g. starting with a dive rather than at the edge of the pool), while learning-focused sessions focus on technical skill production, sometimes including trial and error, with much less emphasis on outcome measures. Even though swimmers may indeed be learning and improving technique during the learning-focused sessions, the changes may not be evident until a later performance -based session.

Another misconception is that learners (athletes) are good at predicting how well they have learned a skill. As discussed above, some training strategies may lead to poorer performance during a practice session even though significant learning has occurred. Conversely, a practice session during which an athlete has shown very good performance, may have resulted in relatively little learning. Often learners who have performed well during a practice session using a less effective training strategy for learning will over-estimate how much they have learned, while those who produced poorer performance using a more effective strategy will under-estimate how much they have learned (e.g. Simon & Bjork, 2001.)

5) What aspects of motor learning should coaches, particularly swim coaches use?
There are several training strategies, in particular, practice organization, instruction and feedback strategies with evidence from motor learning research, that are helpful for coaches. Distinguishing between performance and learning as discussed above is one aspect  of practice that should be considered by coaches. In general, coaches should also consider variety in practice schedules when deciding upon drills for a particular practice session. A simple application of this would be to space out the practice of a particular skill (e.g. flip-turn) throughout the practice rather than completing several in a row at the beginning of practice. Another consideration for coaches is that too much feedback from external sources, such as a coach, can produce a dependency on that feedback. One way to guard against this dependency is to ask swimmers how they felt they performed before providing feedback. Another way would be to withhold feedback from certain trials or delay the feedback provision until several trials have been performed. Dr. Farrow gives specific examples of changes he has suggested for typical swimming training sessions in the past. (see pages 372-375 in Skill Acquisition in Sport: Research, Theory and Practice, Hodges, N.J. & Williams A.M. eds.)

6) What were the practical implications for coaches and swimmers from your study?
One important thing to note is that our study used what we call a discrete skill (a skill with a definite beginning and end) while the majority of swimming would be considered a continuous skill (a skill with no inherent beginning and end). With this in mind, this study would be most applicable to aspects of swimming such as a dive or flip turn. However, please keep in mind that these swimming-specific skills are more complex and difficult than the simple crokinole-type skill used in our study. In our study one group started with the easiest version of a task and progressed through more difficult versions throughout practice. The other group began with the most difficult version and progressed through easier versions. In most sport situations where an athlete is learning a new skill, the schedule of the first group (easy-to-difficult progression) is the one followed. In our study the second group (difficult-to-easy progression) performed better during practice and on a transfer test. A transfer test measures how well a learner (or athlete) is able to adapt what has been practiced to a new version of a task. In swimming the need for this type of adaptation may arise when an athlete encounters an unfamiliar starting block, or begins a turn from a less-than-ideal location. In our study, the second group started practice with a large amount of error and decreased the amount of error throughout practice as the versions of the task got easier and as the learners gained more experience. This suggests that for some tasks (such as our relatively easy discrete task) error at the start of practice isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, we suggest that the challenge of a more difficult task at the right time during practice may be what benefits the learner on later transfer tests. In terms of practical implications for coaches, of course, with the safety of the athlete kept in mind, a coach might consider that errors at the beginning of practice are not necessarily detrimental to learning in the long run and may help with adaptation to new situations. Some factors to consider when designing practice schedules are the difficulty of the task itself, the experience of the learner and how important adaptation of the skill is. With further studies examining the role of errors at the beginning of practice for more difficult and/or continuous tasks, more specific recommendations applicable to swimming may come forth.

7) What is the future of motor learning and sports?
Motor learning researchers and coaches have much to offer each other. For example, coaches can help researchers understand the applied nature of skill-learning for his or her sport, while researchers can provide new evidence-based training strategies for coaches to consider. Skill acquisition specialists, knowledgeable about motor learning are currently working together with high-performance sport organizations (e.g. in Australia and New Zealand) to impact the performance of elite athletes.

8) What research projects are you currently working on or should we look from you in the future?
Plans for my future research program focus on practice variables such as scheduling and feedback and taking a look at the wider picture of the practice context as a whole. This work will be based in motor learning and control theory as well as sport and exercise psychology theory.

References and relevant reading
Schmidt, R. A., & Lee T.D. (2011) Motor Control and Learning a Behavioral Emphasis (5th ed.) Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics.
Hodges, N. J. & Williams, A.M. (Eds.).(2012). Skill Acquisition in Sport Research, Theory and Practice (2nd ed.) New York, NY, Routledge.
Simon, D.A., & Bjork, R.A. (2001) Metacognition in Motor Learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 27, 907-912.
Farrow, D., Baker, J., & MacMahon, C. (Eds.).(2013). Developing Sport Expertise Researchers and Coaches put Theory into Practice (2nd ed.) New York, NY, Routledge.