Biomechanical analyses of synchronised swimming standard and contra-standard sculling

Lara Elena Gomes, Vera Diogo, Flávio Antônio de Souza Castro, João Paulo Vilas-Boas, Ricardo J. Fernandes, Pedro Figueiredo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Synchronised swimming involves a variety of sculling movements essential for body support and propulsion but its study is scarce. We aimed to biomechanically compare standard and contra-standard sculling techniques, and to observe the relationship between measures. Six synchronised swimmers performed two, 30 s maximal intensity, fully tethered standard and contra-standard sculling motions. Kinetic and kinematic data were obtained using a load-cell and underwater cameras, respectively. Force decreased along both techniques’ bouts, but no differences in-between techniques were noted for any kinetic variables. Standard sculling presented a higher cycle rate and a lower elbow mean angle than the contra-standard sculling (2.4 ± 0.3 vs. 2.0 ± 0.2 cycles/s and 134.1 ± 5.8 and 141.5 ± 4.7°, p < 0.05). In the standard sculling, by removing and maintaining the variation between participants (r w and r, respectively), the absolute mean force was directly related with cycle rate (r w = 0.60) and wrist angular velocity during flexion (r = 0.82), while in the contra-standard condition the force was inversely associated with wrist mean angle (r = −0.95) and directly with hand speed (r w = 0.76), and elbow angular velocity (r w ≈ 0.60). Therefore, technique learning and training require different attention by coaches and swimmers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-365
Number of pages12
JournalSports Biomechanics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 4 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • force
  • forearm
  • hand
  • Performance
  • tethered swimming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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