Differences in swimming smoothness between elite and non-elite swimmers

Sander P.M. Ganzevles*, Peter J. Beek, Hein A.M. Daanen, Bart M.A. Coolen, Martin J. Truijens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of the study was to investigate whether jerk cost (JC) can discriminate between swimming levels. Nine elite and nine non-elite swimmers swam a 50-m front-crawl sprint wearing a 3D accelerometer on their back between the inferior angles of the scapulae. Lap times and JC were calculated from the acceleration signal and compared between groups and between swimmers within a group. The elite swimmers swam significantly faster lap times than the non-elite swimmers (p < 0.001). They did so with significantly lower levels of JC compared to the non-elite swimmers (p = 0.005). Furthermore, a stepwise multiple linear regression showed JC accounted for 32.9% of the variation in lap time of the elite swimmers. These results indicate that it is possible to discriminate elite from non-elite swimmers using JC: elite swimmers swim with lower JCs than non-elite swimmers. Additionally, swimming at higher speed is associated with more accelerations and decelerations in both elite and non-elite swimmers, which is reflected by higher JCs and lower smoothness. In sum, JC provides an index of swimming technique that is easy to use in training practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-688
Number of pages14
JournalSports Biomechanics
Issue number5
Early online date30 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • accelerometry
  • daily monitoring
  • efficiency
  • Jerk
  • technique


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