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Gliding to gold -- world-beating software could boost British swimming
Date:2/13/2008

New computer software could enable Britains swimmers to improve a key aspect of their technique more quickly and effectively than previously possible and so help them win more medals in major championships in future.

The software provides instant, in-depth feedback on a swimmers glide technique. Swimmers glide following starts and turns, when a swimmer is not moving their arms or legs but is just using their momentum to travel through the water. As well as supplying data on head position, body posture/alignment etc, the software actively suggests ways a swimmer can improve their posture to minimise resistance and pinpoints the optimum moment to begin kicking.

The new system offers two key benefits beyond the capabilities of any other currently used in elite swimming training. First, the feedback it generates is available immediately, so swimmers and coaches can use it at the poolside and implement its recommendations while a training session is still in progress; this will speed up the whole process involved in improving glide technique. Second, it generates data of unprecedented quality in terms of detail and accuracy.

Ultimately, the result will be faster times in races. Gliding more efficiently, with less drag, can cut vital fractions of a second from a swimmers time. The difference between winning an Olympic title and finishing out of the medals is often measured in hundredths of a second, so this innovative software could give British swimmers a valuable edge in their quest for glory.

The software is being developed by sports scientists at the University of Edinburghs Centre for Aquatics Research and Education (CARE) with additional input from Sheffield Hallam University, and funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in collaboration with UKSPORT. Once tested and validated, it should be available to swimmers throughout the UK within around 12 months.

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Contact: Natasha Richardson
natasha.richardson@epsrc.ac.uk
44-017-934-44404
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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