Generating Power in the Pool: An Analysis of Strength Conditioning and its Effect on Athlete Performance
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There are many things that affect the speed of a swimmer in the water, from size of the individual to their technique and strength. This study tracked a group of NCAA Division III athletes across their season to see how their capacity for power generation changed over the course of three months, and whether or not time drops at the end of the season could be reasonably attributed to gains in power production. This was done by collecting data from a commonly used training apparatus called a Power Rack. Along the way, different models for looking at the forces in play while moving through the water were developed and tested to see if they predicted realistic outcomes that are observed in the sport. In the end, a statistically significant increase in power was found across the group of Carthage College swimmers from the month of November to the month of January. In addition, power ratios were plotted against times in the 100 yard freestyle event for all the swimmers, and a significant correlation was found between the power ratios and swim speeds.