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How to Swim Faster – The Pressure Meter


Pressure Meter & Velocity Meter The race club uses cutting-edge technology to improve our ability to analyze the techniques of swimmers from all over the world. The latest example of this technology is the pressure meter, which measures the pressure on the palms of the hands as they pull through the water during the stroke cycle. It also simultaneously measures the degree and speed of the swimmers body rotation, a powerful coupling motion. For the first time this vital information derived from the pressure meter is synchronized to the swimmer video, enabling us to better understand the details of fast swimming. We invited postgraduate swimmers from Indiana University along with coach Coley Stickels to come to The Race Club headquarters in Islamorada Florida for some testing with this new technology. The group included distance freestyler and American record holder Zane Grothe, a sprint freestyle ace Margaux Gear. Nunzio Lanotte, the developer of this exciting technology, flew in from Italy to help us with the testing. Do you want to do, Margaux, first? Nancy? I’m gonna let you paddle her up it Devin kind of watch how he does this so we can make sure we do it the right way. The small paddles that measure pressure on both sides of the hands slip through the middle finger and remain securely in place. The tubing connects the paddles along the arms to a device worn on the swimmer’s back, which includes an accelerometer and a gyroscope. While it may look cumbersome, both swimmers claim that the pressure meter is very easy to get used to in the water and has minimal impact on swimming technique. Strapped in, paddled up. Get in the paddle line. And Margaux, let me put this on and go ahead and get the acquisition. We elected to combine two technologies with both world-class athletes using the pressure meter and the velocity meter simultaneously in order to attain as much information as possible from each test. So Margaux what do you want to test one freestyle 50? With Margaux we tested her 50 and 100 freestyle techniques. And for Zane, we tested his sprint, little distance, and distance freestyle techniques. Go ahead and slide in. All right. Rich, are you ready? All ready. Margaux, ready. (whistle blow!~) At each 200s of a second, we determine the pressure on each hand, the degree and speed of body rotation, the swimmer’s velocity, acceleration and deceleration. On the top graph, the orange line indicates the pressure of the right hand, while the green line indicates the pressure of the left hand. In freestyle, when the force from the pulling hand peaks, the force of the recovering hand is low. Below, the pink line indicates the speed of Margaux’s body rotation in both directions, and the blue line indicates how far Margaux rotates her body in either direction. The peak rotational body speed occurs during the propulsion phase of the pulling arm. So you got that Devin? Zane, you just go ahead and do your normal breathing pattern which is high stroke rate, fast. You, roll in. (Whistle blow!~) Using sprint technique, Zane Grothe achieves more pressure with his left pulling hand than with his right hand. Peak Pressure of Left Hand Pulling Motion Left PA=5956.7 Peak Pressure of Right Hand Pulling Motion Right PA=4919.41 His body rotational speed is greater clockwise and than counterclockwise, which increases the propulsion coming from his left hand. Such is the power of strong coupling energy. All right. I think Zane you’re done. Did we get that, Nunzio? The more data we get the better. It’s their is. It’s yours to use. In an upcoming webisode, you’ll find out who generates the greater pulling force Margaux, using a deeper elbow sprint technique and faster body rotation or Zane, using a higher elbow distance technique with slower body rotation. More importantly, you’ll find out who is swimming faster, Margaux or Zane.

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