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Abstract

To expand upon recent findings showing that competitive swimmers complete significantly shallower racing starts in shallower pools, 12 ‘more experienced’ and 13 ‘less experienced’ swimmers were filmed underwater during completion of competitive starts. Two starts (1 routine and 1 ‘requested shallow’) were executed from a 0.76 m block height into water 3.66 m deep. Dependent measures were maximum head depth, head speed at maximum head depth, and distance from the starting wall at maximum head depth. Statistical analyses yielded significant main effects (p < 0.05) for both start type and swimmer experience. Starts executed by the more experienced swimmers were deeper and faster than those executed by the less experienced swimmers.. When asked to dive shallowly, maximum head depth decreased (0.19 m) and head speed increased (0.33 ms-1) regardless of experience. The ability of all swimmers to modify start depth implies that spinal cord injuries during competitive swimming starts are not necessarily due to an inherent inability to control the depth of the start.

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