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
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2013) 12, 623 - 629

Research article
Backstroke Technical Characterization of 11-13 Year-Old Swimmers
Ana Filipa Silva1, Pedro Figueiredo1,2, Ludovic Seifert3, Susana Soares1, João Paulo Vilas-Boas1,4, Ricardo J. Fernandes1,4, 
Author Information
1 Centre of Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport (CIFI2D), Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
2 Higher Education Institute of Maia (ISMAI), Maia, Portugal
3 University of Rouen, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Rouen, France
4 Porto Biomechanics Laboratory (LABIOMEP), University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

Ricardo J. Fernandes
✉ Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Head of the Swimming Department, Rua Dr. Plácido Costa, 91 4200-450 Porto Portugal
Publish Date
Received: 05-12-2012
Accepted: 09-04-2013
Published (online): 01-12-2013
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The aim of this study was to characterize the backstroke swimming technique of 11-13 year-old swimmers when performing at very high intensity. A sample of 114 swimmers was divided into four groups regarding maturational and gender effect, who performed 25- m backstroke swimming at 50-m pace. Using two underwater cameras the general biomechanical parameters (speed, stroke rate, stroke length and stroke index), the arm stroke phases and two indexes of arm coordination (Index of Coordination 1, which characterizes the continuity between propulsive phases of each arm and Index of Coordination 2 that evaluates the simultaneity between the beginning of the pull of one arm and of the recovery of the other arm) were measured. Post- pubertal swimmers achieved higher values of speed (1.06 ± 0.14 and 1.18 ± 0.14 m·s-1 for pubertal and 1.13 ± 0.14 and 1.24 ± 0.12 m·s-1 for post-pubertal girl and boy swimmers, respectively), stroke length (1.64 ± 0.26 and 1.68 ± 0.25 m·cycle-1 for pubertal and 1.79 ± 0.22 and 1.75 ± 0.27 m·cycle-1 for post-pubertal girls and boys, respectively) and stroke index. Regar-ding genders, male were faster than female swimmers. Boys also showed a higher stroke rate and stroke index than girls, who achieved higher results in the ratio between stroke length and arm span. As it was expected, no hand lag time was noticed in young swimmers. Although no differences were noticed between genders, the Index of Coordination 1 was in catch-up mode (-9.89 ± 3.16 and -10.16 ± 3.60 % for girls and -9.77 ± 2.93 and -10.39 ± 2.44 % for boys pubertal and post-pubertal, respectively) and the Index of Coordination 2 was in superposition mode (1.86 ± 4.39 and 2.25 ± 2.25 % from girls and 1.72 ± 2.62 and 1.95 ± 2.95 % for boys, pubertal and post-pubertal, respectively).

Key words: Swimming, backstroke, age group, kinematics, coordination

           Key Points
  • Young swimmers adopt the catch-up arm coordina-tion when swimming backstroke.
  • These swimmers present lower stroking parameters then those published for older and higher level swimmers.
  • No hand lag time at the thigh was noticed, meaning that young swimmers perform the final phase of their arm cycle without inducing discontinuity be-tween the propulsive actions of the two arms.
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