VIDEO: Student swimmers tackle starts using physics, slo-mo cameras

Amidst everyone’s favorite Taylor Swift shake-offs, here’s a unique video submitted by a group of SwimSwam readers. Blue Valley High School’s Colin Strickland, Sarah Herzberg, Chloe Breau and Kristina Jewell put together this video experiment to compare various styles of racing starts with physics equations.

The group tried out 5 different starting techniques, including a common track start, a two-foot-forward start and a relay start among others. They had Strickland, a swimmer for the Tsunami Swim Team of Kansas City, perform each start 4 times and used slow-motion video capture to grab the necessary measurements to compare the acceleration and final velocity of each start.

Swimmers and coaches should find the concept intriguing, and the slow-motion footage provides some interesting looks at the small and large differences between each starting style. And even beyond the technical details, the concept provides an encouraging anecdote of how the sport of swimming can inspire its athletes to engage both in the pool and in the classroom.

Check out the video above, courtesy of Strickland on YouTube.

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5 years ago

Nice experiment! Of course 1 experiment yields n questions, so I’d be interested to hear how they’d refine or extend their testing.

FWIW, I rarely see anyone lean back as far as the tester did, I’d be interested in seeing a hybrid of the normal and lean starts.

Reply to  cbswims
5 years ago

Really interesting results. I wish the constraints of the assignment had allowed more subjects, it would be cool to see how the strengths of each swimmer affected the results. To be totally honest, I’m a bit curious as to how the relay start ended up having the lowest final velocity and whether that would hold true with other swimmers. Regarding the degree of lean on the rear-weighted start, I agree. The closest I’ve seen to that is Cody Miller’s start in the 100m breast at Nationals this summer (2:01 of this video but his knee is much straighter than Colin’s, resulting in his hips sitting a bit higher and keeping his bottom over his rear foot instead of behind… Read more »

5 years ago

very cool and a very creative experiment!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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