Date of Award
Master of Science
Exercise and Sport Science
The introduction of new body swimsuits to competitive swimming has caused a great deal of controversy. These suits are snug to the body and supposedly reduce drag, therefore improving swim efficiency and performance by reducing the energy required to attain speed during races. The purpose of this study was to examine one particular body swimsuit, the Fastskin[Registered trademark symbol] (Speedo Int. Ltd., Los Angeles, CA), on biomechanical variables and the physiological cost of swimming. Subjects same three 183-m freestyle trials at "moderate, moderately hard and hard" paces while wearing the body suit and a traditional brief-style suit. Post-swim blood lactate concentrations, oxygen uptake, and ratings of perceived exertion were gathered. Average stroke length and rate, and breakout distance were determined for each swimming trial. Passive drag and buoyant force were determined wearing both suits. Post-swim blood lactate concentration and stroke length were significantly higher when wearing the body suit.Comparison of physiological variables at standardized speeds of 1.4 and 1.6 m/s revealed no significant difference between the two suit conditions. Passive drag was not significantly different between the body suit and brief-style suit, but the brief-style suit was slightly more buoyant than the body suit. Swimmers swam at a higher absolute mean velocity while wearing the body suit, but this was accompanied by a significant increase in metabolic cost. If the suits had provided the benefit of decreased drag as claimed by the manufacturer, the swimmer would have swum at a lower metabolic cost for a given speed when wearing the body suit as compared to the brief-style suit. Therefore, it is concluded that combined effect of increased body surface area covered and design of the suit material had no measurable effect on submaximal physiological responses to swimming.
Benjamin Scott Roberts
Roberts, Benjamin Scott, "Effect of the Fastskin[registered trademark symbol] swimsuit on physiological and biomechanical responses of freestyle swimming" (2001). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 17547.