TAKE HOME POINT FOR WHEN TO START KICKING OFF A SWIMMING START
The moment a swimmer loses their speed after a start is a critical moment to begin stroking, as it is likely velocity will only decrease at this moment. This is vitally important for sprint swimming, as the 50 and 100-m races are strongly linked to starting performance. When should a swimmer start to kick off the start?
Eight swimmers (~24.41 mean 50 m freestyle) on the French national team performed three grab starts as efficiently as possible. The swimmers were filmed using a 4 mini-DV camera during the entire underwater phase.
Nine anatomical landmarks were identified on the swimmer’s body. To minimize the error during the digitizing process, both sides of the swimmers were assumed to be symmetric.
When to Start Kicking
The swimmers reached a velocity between 2.2 and 1.9 m/s after their center of mass covered between 6.02 – 6.51 m. The main change in speed occurred between 5.63 – 6.01 m.
Elite swimmers must find the ideal time to initiate their underwater kick to maintain horizontal velocity. Elite swimmers should start their kick between 5.63 – 6.01 m. This should be a guide as individualized starting plans are necessary for elite success.
- Elipot M, Hellard P, Taïar R, Boissière E, Rey JL, Lecat S, Houel N. Analysis of swimmers’ velocity during the underwater gliding motion following grab start. J Biomech. 2009 Jun 19;42(9):1367-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.03.032. Epub 2009 Apr 24.
Dr. John Mullen
DOCTOR OF PHYSICAL THERAPY, STRENGTH COACH, PERFORMANCE CONSULTANT
PERSONAL TRAINING WITH NATIONAL STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING ASSOCIATION
Dr. John Mullen, DPT, CSCS is a World renowned expert and speaker in sports training and rehabilitation. He received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at USC, as well as the Josette Antonelli Division Service Scholarship, Order of the Golden Cane, and the Order of Areté. At USC, he also performed research on strength training and rehabilitation. Dr. John has worked with multiple professional and Olympic athletes, helping them earn Olympic medals.
His dedication to research and individualization spurred him to open COR in 2011. Since 2011, Dr. John has been featured in Gizmodo, Motherboard, Stack Magazine, and much more.
He has worked with the numerous colleges and teams regarding rehab and performance. Before his Doctoral program, Dr. John swam on an athletic scholarship at Purdue University.
At Purdue, Dr. John was an Academic Honorable Mention All-American and was awarded the Red Mackey Award and R. O. Papenguh Award. He also won the Purdue Undergraduate business plan and elevator pitch competition, as well as 1st prize with the Indiana Soy Bean Alliance.
Dr. John was born in Centerville, Ohio and was a 24-time high school All-American Swimmer. Dr. John is still a swimmer and holds a Masters Swimming World and Pacific Swimming Record.