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Undersea Hyperb Med. 2003 Spring;30(1):75-85.

Underwater fin swimming in women with reference to fin selection.

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Center for Research and Education in Special Environments, School of Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.


Underwater swimmers use fins, which provide thrust to overcome drag and propel the diver. The type of fin used has been shown to affect diver performance, however data are lacking for women. The oxygen consumption (VdotO2) of swimming as a function of speed, velocity as a function of kick frequency, maximal speed (v), maximal VdotO2 and the maximal thrust were determined for 8 female divers swimming at 1.25 m depth in a 60 m annular pool. VdotO2 increased as a function of v as; 0.52 + -0.485 V + 2.85 V2 (r2 = 0.996) and 0.12 + 1.52 V +1.275 V2 (r2 = 0.999) for high (5 fins) and low (3 fins) groupings, respectively. Splits, vents and flanges did not significantly affect VdotO2. Kick frequency increased linearly with v, with unique slopes for each fin. Maximal VdotO2 was not affect by fin type (1.46 +/- 0.05 l/min). Velocities that could be stained aerobically were 0.60 +/- 0.02 m/sec on average, with the most flexible fin higher (0.71 m/sec). Maximal v averaged 0.87 +/- 0.03 m/sec, with the most rigid fin lower (0.77 m/sec). Maximal thrust was not affected by fin and averaged 104 +/- 9 N. It can be concluded that female divers preferred the most flexible fins, which were also the most economical. This is most likely due to low leg power, which could also explain the absence of differences in maximal thrust and velocity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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