Performance Level Differences in Swimming:
A Meta-Analysis of Passive Drag
Rod Havriluk, Ph.D.
Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 2005, 76(2), 112-118.
The streamline is a basic position for competitive swimming starts and turns and has been used in many studies on resistive forces. However, there is a wide variety of theoretical interpretations in these articles, leading to diverse and questionable conclusions. The purpose of this study was to determine performance level differences in the streamline position using a meta-analysis. Data on 6 studies on passive drag were organized by performance level and gender with the coefficient of drag (Cd) as the criterion variable. The swimmers in the faster performance level group had a significantly lower Cd than the swimmers in the slower group, (M = .57, z = 4.30, p<.001, SE = .13, 95% CI = .32-.82) and therefore, a more effective streamline position. This study supports: 1) the use of Cd as an appropriate means to discriminate between performance levels in swimming; 2) the importance of mastering basic skills in competitive swimming; and 3) the need for considering all the related variables in a study of passive drag.