Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Jim Dickey


In 2009, the international governing body of swimming approved the use of the Omega OSB11 platform. It features a back foot kick plate that can be shifted into five positions. The purpose of this thesis is to identify set stance characteristics of the track start that may produce a faster start from the OSB11. The first project evaluated: optimal kick plate location, its relationship to segment lengths, and rear foot position as high and low on the kick plate. The swimmers demonstrated significantly greater horizontal take-off velocity and decreased time to 2 m with the rear foot in the high position. However, no moderate or strong relationships were detected between optimal kick plate location and segment lengths. The second study examined the power limb position. The swimmers were tested for limb power using the single-leg triple hop for distance. They had a significantly greater horizontal take-off velocity when the power limb was placed at the front edge of the platform in the track start. The third study examined optimal, rear- and front-weighted center of mass (COM) location in the set stance. The rear-weighted start had a significantly greater horizontal take-off velocity and reaction time than the front-weighted. However, front-weighted track starts showed a significantly shorter block time than in the rear-weighted position. Most swimmers in the group demonstrated optimal performance when the COM locations were in a mid-weighted stance. The final project compared: coached and kinetic feedback (round 1), and the two forms of feedback in different orders (round 2) on 2 m time performance. After the first round, the kinetic group showed a significant increase in time but no significant change was found in the coached group. After the second round, there were no significant differences between groups. However, each group demonstrated a significant increase in time from the pre-test. Overall the thesis suggests that changes in start stance can impact performance. In addition, optimal positioning may also be unique to each swimmer which requires testing, and feedback and practice should be routine. The findings of this thesis support the need for future work to establish methods of determining optimal start positions for individual swimmers.

Doctoral Thesis Supervisor Approval.pdf (26 kB)
Doctoral Thesis Supervisor Approval

Included in

Biomechanics Commons