Do you know the real effect science has had on swimming? Here are 5 of the most important scientific concepts behind today’s most competitive swimming technique.

1. Swimming forces are composed of both lift and drag.

Why is this important? Research on lift and drag forces made it possible to determine optimal angles for the hand pitch and the hand path that would maximize propulsion.


 2. Hand speed must increase throughout the underwater motion.

Why is this important? During the underwater motion of all strokes, a swimmer should continually increase hand speed. Hand acceleration is critical for faster times.


 3. The Index of Coordination (IdC) quantifies the relative positions of the arms during the stroke cycle.  

Why is this important? When a swimmer is completing the push phase with one hand, he or she should immediately begin the pull phase with the other hand. This technique adjustment (creating a positive IdC) produces a more continuous source of propulsion resulting in faster times.


 4. The Law of Levers applies to the strength of different arm positions.

Why is this important? Applying the concept of leverage (i.e. the Law of Levers) makes it possible to determine how best to position the arm throughout the stroke cycle.


 5. The Drag Coefficient quantifies the impact of technique changes.

Why is this important? An accurate measurement of technique provides valuable information that allows both the coach and swimmer to evaluate the benefit of any technique improvement.