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Abstract

Research on competitive swim start safety has focused on starts involving a dive from above the water surface. The purpose of this study was to determine the depths, speeds, and distances attained when executing backstroke starts, which begin in the water, and to investigate whether or not these variables are a function of age. Backstroke starts (n = 122) performed in 1.22 m of water during competition were stratified according to age group (8&U, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, and 15&O). Dependent measures were maximum depth of the center of the head (MHD), head speed at maximum head depth (SPD), and distance from the wall at maximum head depth (DIST). Main effects were shown for age group for MHD (F = 8.86, p < 0.05), SPD (F = 4.64, p < 0.05), and DIST (F = 17.21, p < 0.05). Because they performed starts that were deeper and faster than the younger swimmers, the older swimmers seem to be at a greater risk for injury when performing backstroke starts in shallow water.

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