Taylor & Francis, European Journal of Sport Science, 8(15), p. 687-695
The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between different variables measured with a force plate during the swimming start push-off phase and start performance presented by times to 5, 10 and 15 m. Twenty-one women from the Slovenian national swimming team performed two different swim starts (freestyle and undulatory) on a portable force plate to a distance further than 15 m. Correlations between push-off variables and times to 5, 10 and 15 m were quantified through Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficient (r). The variables that significantly correlated (p < .05) to all times measured in the two starts performed were: average horizontal acceleration (freestyle: r = -0.58 to -0.71; and undulatory: r = -0.55 to -0.66), horizontal take-off velocity (freestyle: r = -0.56 to -0.69; and undulatory: r = -0.53 to -0.67) and resultant take-off velocity (freestyle: r = -0.53 to -0.65; and undulatory: r = -0.52 to -0.61). None of the variables derived from the vertical force were correlated to swimming start performance (p > .05). Based on the results of this study, we can conclude that horizontal take-off velocity and average horizontal acceleration (calculated as the average horizontal force divided by swimmer's body mass) are the variables most related to swimming start performance in experienced swimmers, and therefore could be the preferred measures to monitor swimmers' efficiency during the push-off phase.