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Effect of body roll amplitude and arm rotation speed on propulsion of arm amputee swimmers

Lecrivain, Gregory and Payton, Carl J. and Slaouti, Arezki and Kennedy, Ian (2010) Effect of body roll amplitude and arm rotation speed on propulsion of arm amputee swimmers. Journal of Biomechanics, 43 (6). pp. 1111-7. ISSN 1873-2380

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Abstract

Only a limited amount of research has gone into evaluating the contribution made by the upper arm to the propulsion of elite swimmers with an amputation at elbow level. With assistance of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling, the swimming technique of competitive arm amputee swimmers can be assessed through numerical simulations which test the effect of various parameters on the effectiveness of the swimming propulsion. This numerical study investigates the effect of body roll amplitude and of upper arm rotation speed on the propulsion of an arm amputee swimmer, at different mean swimming speeds. Various test cases are simulated resulting in a thorough analysis of the complex body/fluid interaction with a detailed quantitative assessment of the effect of the variation of each parameter on the arm propulsion. It is found that a body roll movement with an amplitude of 45° enhances greatly the propulsive contribution from the upper arm with an increase of about 70% in the propulsive force compared to the no roll condition. An increase in the angular velocity of the upper arm also leads to a concomitant increase in the propulsive forces produced by the arm. Such results have direct implications for competitive arm amputee front crawl swimmers and for those who coach them. One important message that emerges in this present work is that there exists, for any given swimming speed, a minimum angular velocity at which the upper arm must be rotated to generate effective propulsion. Below this velocity, the upper arm

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