The effect of full body swimsuits on swimmers’ morphology and glide performance.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Introduction:Full body (FB) swimsuits improve performance by either decreasing frictional (Dfr) or pressure drag (Dp). Recent findings indicate that the benefit when wearing FB suits is not linked to Dfr (Oeffner and Lauder, 2012) while the effect of pressure drag on performance has not been studied. The purpose of the current study was to assess the effect of FB swimsuits on swimmers’ morphology and gliding performance. 
Method: A male and a female swimmer of international level were scanned with the use of a 3D body scanner while standing in the streamline position and wearing either a normal (N) or a FB swimsuit. To assess the effect of swimsuit on swimmers’ morphology, the cross-sectional area (CSA) in the axial plane was computed at different heights from the 3D models and the frontal surface area, the maximum CSA at the level of the pelvis and the thorax as well as the minimum CSA at the level of the lower back were reported. The glide performance was assessed from the kinematic data collected when gliding after a controlled push off the wall, analyzed with the use of the Hydro-Kinematic method (HKM) and reported as Glide Factor (GF). 
Results:The frontal surface area was reduced for both participants (1.95% for the male swimmers and 0.92% for the female swimmer) when wearing the FB swimsuit while the CSA at the level of the pelvis, thorax and low back was altered for the male participant (1.95%, 3.67% and 8.21%). The glide efficiency increased significantly only for the male swimmer (16.7% for male and 0.2% for the female swimmer). 
Conclusions:Considering that only the male swimmer’s body morphology was altered due to the compression of the FB suit, indicating that the swimmer’s body has been flattened, it is suggested that the improved gliding performance is linked to the local compression level of the FB suit. 
References: Oeffner, J. & Lauder, G. V. (2012). The hydrodynamic function of shark skin and two biomimetic applications. The Journal of experimental biology, 215(5), 785–795.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event12th International Symposium on Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming - Australia, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 28 Apr 20142 May 2014


Conference12th International Symposium on Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming


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