Which phases of the stroke cycle are propulsive in front crawl swimming?

Stelios G. Psycharakis, Simon G. S. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Purpose: The aim of this study was fourfold: (1) to quantify acceleration, velocity, and phase overlap for each phase of the stroke cycle (SC) during 200 m front crawl; (2) for each variable, to identify any differences between the four SC phases; (3) to investigate changes in variables during the 200 m; (4) to explore any association between performance and each variable. Methods: Ten swimmers performed a 200 m maximum swim. Four SCs were analyzed, one for each 50 m, using three-dimensional methods. Each SC was split into four phases: entry, pull, push, and recovery. Center of mass (CM) acceleration; maximum, minimum, and average CM velocity; phase duration, and, overlap of a phase of one arm with each phase of the opposite arm were calculated. Results and Conclusion: Phase velocities were positively correlated with performance and decreased during the 200 m. The acceleration data showed high within and between-swimmer variability. When the entry of one arm overlapped with the pull, and sometimes push, phase of the opposite arm, it was propulsive for the whole body. The pull was the slowest phase and overlapped predominantly with the opposite arm’s recovery. The push phase was often propulsive for the whole body, regardless of the overlaps with the other arm, and together with the entry were the fastest phases. The recovery of each arm was mostly resistive for the whole body, except the short period of overlap with the opposite arm’s push phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-333
Number of pages9
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • biomechanics
  • kinetics
  • kinematics
  • acceleration
  • performance


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