A comparison of the swimming start using traditional and modified starting blocks

C.T. Pearson, G.K. Mcelroy, J.D. Blitvich, A. Subic, Brian Blanksby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of the Anti Wave Olympic 2000 Start Block with side handles has raised the possibility of a faster start than the currently favoured grab start technique. Eighteen state level age group swimmers (mean age 14.8 +/- 3.57 yrs) performed two grab start dives and two handle start dives. Data were collected from a start block instrumented for force measurement and synchronised with a starting signal, finishing gate, digital timing apparatus and above and below water video recordings. Variables measured included block, flight and glide times; total time to 7 m; take off force; take off, flight and entry characteristics. For the handle start, block time was significantly faster (0.04 s), horizontal hip position at 'set' was 0,2 m further forward and the maximum force vector angle was 50 shallower. The total time to 7 m was not significantly different between dive types. All other dive performance variables, land based jumps and anthropometric data showed no significant differences. The dissipation of the initial advantage off the blocks, when further sources of variance were added, reflected previous research on grab starts. Further research using longer practice periods, more elite subjects, alternative handle placement and identifying optimal joint angle initial positions is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-66
JournalJournal of Human Movement Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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