Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008) 07, 60 - 66

Research article
Analysis of Drafting Effects in Swimming Using Computational Fluid Dynamics
António José Silva1,2, , Abel Rouboa1, António Moreira3, Victor Machado Reis1,2, Francisco Alves4, João Paulo Vilas-Boas5, Daniel Almeida Marinho1,2
Author Information
1 University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal,
2 Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, Vila Real, Portugal
3 Sports Science Institute of Rio Maior, Portugal,
4 Faculty of Human Kinetics, Lisbon, Portugal,
5 Faculty of Sports, University of Porto, Portugal.

António José Silva
✉ Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Departamento de Ciências do Desporto – CIFOP, R. Dr. Manuel Cardona, 5000 Vila Real, Portugal
Email: ajsilva@utad.pt
Publish Date
Received: 18-09-2007
Accepted: 19-11-2007
Published (online): 01-03-2008
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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of drafting distance on the drag coefficient in swimming. A k-epsilon turbulent model was implemented in the commercial code Fluent® and applied to the fluid flow around two swimmers in a drafting situation. Numerical simulations were conducted for various distances between swimmers (0.5-8.0 m) and swimming velocities (1.6-2.0 m.s-1). Drag coefficient (Cd) was computed for each one of the distances and velocities. We found that the drag coefficient of the leading swimmer decreased as the flow velocity increased. The relative drag coefficient of the back swimmer was lower (about 56% of the leading swimmer) for the smallest inter-swimmer distance (0.5 m). This value increased progressively until the distance between swimmers reached 6.0 m, where the relative drag coefficient of the back swimmer was about 84% of the leading swimmer. The results indicated that the Cd of the back swimmer was equal to that of the leading swimmer at distances ranging from 6.45 to 8. 90 m. We conclude that these distances allow the swimmers to be in the same hydrodynamic conditions during training and competitions.

Key words: Training, human body, drag, tandem, finite element modeling


           Key Points
  • The drag coefficient of the leading swimmer decreased as the flow velocity increased.
  • The relative drag coefficient of the back swimmer was least (about 56% of the leading swimmer) for the smallest inter-swimmer distance (0.5 m).
  • The drag coefficient values of both swimmers in drafting were equal to distances ranging between 6.45 m and 8.90 m, considering the different flow velocities.
  • The numerical simulation techniques could be a good approach to enable the analysis of the fluid forces around objects in water, as it happens in swimming.
 
 
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