Do Swimmers Conform to Criterion Speed during Pace-Controlled Swimming in a 25 m Pool Using a Visual Light Pacer?

Tomohiro Gonjo, Carla McCabe, Simon Coleman, Susana Soare, Ricardo J. Fernandes, João Paulo Vilas-Boas, Ross Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether swimmers follow the instructed speed (v target ) accurately with the aid of a commercial visual light pacer during front crawl and backstroke swimming in a 25 m pool. Ten male swimmers performed 50 m front crawl and backstroke at different speeds (controlled by a visual light pacer) in a 25 m pool. The mean speed during the 50 m swimming (v S ) was quantified from the time measured by a stopwatch. The mean speed of the centre of mass during a stroke cycle in the middle of the pool (v COM ) was calculated from three-dimensional coordinates obtained from Direct Linear Transformation of two-dimensional digitised coordinates of 19 segment endpoints for each of six cameras. Swimmers achieved accurate v S in front crawl and backstroke (ICC = 0.972 and 0.978, respectively). However, v COM for the single mid-pool sample had lower correlations with v target (ICC = 0.781 and 0.681, respectively). In backstroke, v COM was slower by 4.1–5.1% than v target . However, this was not the case in front crawl (1.0–2.7%). With the use of a visual light pacer, swimmers can achieve accurate mean speed overall but are less able to achieve the target speed stroke by stroke.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSports Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

The manuscript was not uploaded within three months of Acceptance or Publication dates but the output was made Open Access by a co-author at Edinburgh University. The evidence of the compliance has been uploaded to the 'Other Files' field.


  • aquatic locomotion
  • backstroke
  • front crawl
  • pacing


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