Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Exercise Science

First Advisor

Dr. Timothy L. Uhl

Second Advisor

Dr. David R. Mullineaux


Elite swimmers can be distinguished from novice swimmers by freestyle stroke technique. Elite swimmers move through multiple coordination modes, increases in stroke lengths, stroke rates, and body roll allowing for a more symmetrical stroke and increased speed compared with novice swimmer during 100m freestyle.

Coaches strive to improve swimmers’ performance by providing feedback about stroke technique, mostly from the pool deck where view of the full stroke cycle is obstructed by the water. Tools to assess swimming are often expensive and require extra training, which does not provide a pragmatic solution. A dryland rotational swimbench would provide a means to evaluate freestyle swimming. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the sensory motor system of elite and novice level swimmers by comparing kinematic, coordinative structures and spatial-temporal characteristics of freestyle stroke on a dryland swimbench with a rotational component.

Thirty elite and novice collegiate and masters swimmers were instrumented with reflective markers bilaterally on the upper extremity and torso. A series of four ten second trials of freestyle sprint swimming were performed on the swimbench. Repeated measures were used for statistical analysis for comparison between and within groups. Bonferroni corrections were used as post-hoc analysis.

Results indicated no significant difference between elite and novice swimmers’ sensory-motor system, kinematics or spatio-temporal systems on a rotational swimbench. Similarities could be accounted for by swimmers perceiving a novel task due to differences in sensory feedback, and mechanical limitations of the bench. It is noteworthy that catch-up/opposition coordination are more common than superposition which provides support for the swimbench providing a more similar representation to in water swimming.

Included in

Biomechanics Commons



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