Augmented feedback can change body shape to improve glide efficiency in swimming

Christopher Papic, Jordan Andersen, Roozbeh Naemi, Ryan Hodierne, Ross H. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Curvatures of the body can disrupt fluid flow and affect hydrodynamic resistance. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a feedback intervention on glide performance and torso morphology. Eleven male and female national swimmers performed glides before and after augmented feedback. Feedback consisted of self-modelling visual feedback and verbal cuing, to manipulate body curvatures that affect hydrodynamic resistance. Two-dimensional landmark position data (knee, hip and shoulder) were used to enable computation of glide factor and glide coefficient as indicators of glide efficiency; posture (trunk incline and hip angle); and performance (horizontal velocity). Underwater images of the swimmers were manually traced to derive transverse and sagittal diameters, cross-sectional areas, and continuous form outlines (anterior and posterior) of the torso. Maximum rate of change in cross-sectional area and form gradient progressing caudally, were calculated for torso segments: shoulder-chest, chest-waist, waist-hip. Mean velocity, glide factor and glide coefficient values significantly (p< 0.001) improved due to the intervention, with large effect size (d) changes 0.880 (p= 0.015), 2.297 and 1.605, respectively. Significant changes to form gradients were related to reductions in lumbar lordosis and chest convexity. The study provides practical cuing phrases for coaches and swimmers to improve glide efficiency and performance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalSports Biomechanics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Passive drag
  • visual feedback
  • verbal cuing
  • swimming starts and turns
  • fluid dynamics


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