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, 679 - 689

Research article
A Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis of Hydrodynamic Force Acting on a Swimmer’S Hand in a Swimming Competition
Yohei Sato1,2, , Takanori Hino3
Author Information
1 Center for CFD Research, National Maritime Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan
2 Nuclear Energy and Safety, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland
3 Faculty of Engineering, Yokohama National University, Yokohama, Japan

Yohei Sato
✉ Nuclear Energy and Safety, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen PSI, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
Publish Date
Received: 20-12-2012
Accepted: 16-09-2013
Published (online): 01-12-2013
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A stroke-analysis system based on a CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulation has been developed to evaluate the hydrodynamic forces acting on a swimmer’s hand. Using the present stroke-analysis system, a stroke technique of top swimmers can be recognized with regard to the hydrodynamic forces. The developed analysis system takes into account the effect of a transient stroke motion including acceleration and a curved stroke path without using assumptions such as a quasi-static approach. An unsteady Navier-Stokes solver based on an unstructured grid method is employed as the CFD method to calculate a viscous flow around a swimmer’s hand which can cope with the complicated geometry of hands. The CFD method is validated by comparison with experiments in steady-state and transient conditions. Following the validations, a stroke-analysis system is proposed, in which a hand moves in accordance with a stroke path measured by synchronized video cameras, and the fluid forces acting on the hand are computed with the CFD method. As a demonstration of the stroke-analysis system, two world class swimmers’ strokes in a race of 200 m freestyle are analyzed. The hydrodynamic forces acting on the hands of the top swimmers are computed, and the comparison of two swimmers shows that the stroke of the faster swimmer, who advanced at 1.84 m·s-1 during the stroke-analysis, generated larger thrust with higher thrust efficiency than that of the slower swimmer, who advanced at 1.75 m·s-1. The applicability of the present stroke analysis system has been proved through this analysis.

Key words: Computational fluid dynamics, swimming, drag, thrust, thrust efficiency, stroke analysis

           Key Points
  • The stroke-analysis system using CFD technique has been established.
  • The stroke path and the hand orientation are obtained from a swimming competition with two synchronized underwater video camera, and used for the input data to the CFD analysis.
  • The hydrodynamic force acting on the swimmer’s hand and thrust efficiency are analyzed, and the stroke technique can be evaluated.
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