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An Analysis of Forward Leaning Track Start, Back Leaning Track Start, and Grab

Start on Distance and Time off a Swim Starting Block


Keegan Laporte and Randall Stroshein
Macomb Math Science Technology Center
Physics 11C
Mr. McMillan, Mrs. Cybulski, Mrs. Tallman
29 May 2014

An Analysis of Forward Leaning Track Start, Back Leaning Track Start, and Grab
Start on Distance and Time off a Swim Starting Block
The purpose of this experiment was done to determine if there is an effect
on the distance and time achieved by swimmers performing one of the three
swim starts. The three swim starts that were measured in the experiment were
Grab Start, Forward Leaning Track Start, and Back Leaning Track Start. The
research was conducted because determining the best method of starting would
give a swimmer a competitive advantage by reducing the time of the first
component of the race and therefore reducing their overall swim time. This study
is unique in its specific analysis of these particular swim starts in a certain way
and will be useful for others to base further research upon. The performance of
the experiment had six divers where each did a randomly chosen start. The data
that was recorded was distance and time. To measure the data, a Measurement
Apparatus which marked the distance of the starts in centimeters was attached to
a lane line and a camera was used to accurately measure the distance. When
the start method was viewed, the distance would be noted by the divers fingers
lining up with the Measurement Apparatus. To measure time, a second camera
was set to capture the swimmers feet position and entry into the water. This was
done to record the start method and accurately measure the time between when
the swimmers first reacted to the start signal, and the time their fingers first
touched the water. The means of these two outcomes were used to conduct an
ANOVA statistical test to see if there is a difference between the different start
positions. When the test was done, the researchers found out that there was not

any significant difference between the distances and times between the three
start types.

Table of Contents
Introduction.............................................................................................................1
Review of Literature................................................................................................3
Problem Statement.................................................................................................6
Experimental Design...............................................................................................8
Data and Observations.........................................................................................14
Data Analysis and Interpretation...........................................................................23
Conclusion............................................................................................................32
Acknowledgments.................................................................................................36
Appendix A: Measurement Apparatus Construction.............................................38
Appendix B: Video Analysis Logger Pro ..............................................................40
Appendix C: Video Analysis Tracker Software.....................................................42
Appendix D: Time Achieved Calculations.............................................................43
Appendix E: Sample Calculation of ANOVA Statistical Test.................................44
Work Cited............................................................................................................47

Laporte Stroshein 5

Introduction
In the world of competitive swimming entire races have been determined
by parts of a second; during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Michael Phelps beat
Milorad avi in the 100 breaststroke by .01 second winning him his seventh
gold medal in that year. With so much on the line, every detail of a race must be
perfectly shaped and practiced for the best time. Years of research, time, and
money by major swimming companies and sponsors have been put in to finding
strategies and techniques for cutting down mere milliseconds on a swimmers
time. However, with so many components involved and so many different
swimming styles and techniques to choose from. Many of these techniques have
been controversial ever since.
In this research, a formal analysis of the block swim start was conducted
to determine which of three swim starts was the most effective for a swimmer
both based on how quickly they can enter the water, and how far in horizontal

Laporte Stroshein 6

distance they can achieve off of the block. There were three swim starts that
were examined for their effectiveness. The Forward Leaning Track Start has the
swimmer have a more forward shifted center of mass so the swimmer can be as
close to the end of the block as possible, and still be able to use the stance of the
track start to exert the best amount of force while jumping off the block. The Back
Leaning Track Start puts all the swimmers mass behind the swimmers back leg
and is intended to have the most force applied from the feet. This start uses the
track start stance the most effectively because the swimmer has the most time to
push their body off the block. This is demonstrated by the formula below which
demonstrates that impulse increases as the time for applying the force increases.
I =FT

Finally, The Grab Start has the swimmers put their center of mass as close
to the edge of the block as possible, allowing the swimmer get off the block the
fastest. The differences between these three starts are the location of center of
mass and how much force is exerted. The purpose of this research is to compile
better information on these starts to determine their effectiveness and to find
overall which form of swim start is the best for all swimmers. This research will be
very helpful for future swimmers to pick which method of start to use in their
races.
The researchers used two video cameras to record six volunteer
swimmers doing all three start methods to accurately measure the response
variables of time and distance of the swim starts and then analyzed with the

Laporte Stroshein 7

distance in centimeters and the time to the nearest tenth of a second using the
video analysis software(s), Logger Pro 3.6.1 and Tracker Video Analysis. Time
was for to see which start method gets the swimmer in the water first, and
distance was to see how far they go before they enter the water. The researchers
then compared the data using an ANOVA statistical test to determine the
difference between the three start types.

Review of Literature
In doing research regarding a racing technique heavily used in competitive
swimming, it was very important that the researchers used the most accurate
measuring techniques to determine the results of the experiment given the need
for high quality information to be to be given to swimmers in a competitive
environment for them to be the most successful. Because of this, professional
literature was reviewed by the researchers to understand and design the
experiment for best results.
The Grab Start is where a diver puts their feet on the edge of the block,
shoulder width apart, and places hands on the outside of the feet on the edge of
the block. The force of the explosion off of the block for the start is generated
mainly by the extension of the legs as the swimmer jumps off of the block as well
as partly by the arms of the swimmer pushing off the block. The general opinion
on the Grab Start is based around the idea of the forward center of mass given

Laporte Stroshein 8

by the swimmers whole body being on the edge of the start block, versus the
other track start positions, such as the forward and back leaning track start,
having a less forward center of mass. In the research done by James G. Hay,
the grab start has been the most widely used method of starting at all levels of
competition for some years. This states that the most chosen dive throughout
the competition was the grab start.
In Hays research, which was for the analysis of the grab start, he
identified the mechanical characteristics of the hands-between-the-feet grab
starting technique which contribute to a faster start (Hay). The variables
measured were block time, flight time, and water time. Block time is determined
by the horizontal and vertical displacements of center of mass CM and by the
average horizontal and vertical velocities with which these displacements occur
(Hay). Flight time is determined by the three characteristics which determine the
flight time of any projectile: (a) the vertical velocity at takeoff, (b) the height of the
CM at takeoff relative to its height at landing or entry, and (c) the air resistance
encountered by in flight (Hay). These three variables take place when the diver
dives off the starting block. In his conclusion, he determines that these variables
do not have a significant effect alone, but only when combined have an overall
effect on the swimmers performance.
In another article titled A Kinetic and Kinematic Comparison of the Grab
and Track Starts in Competitive Swimming by Cheryl Juergens, it states These
differences were determined for three kinetic variables: average horizontal force
(AVYF), vertical force (ZF), and average vertical force (AVZF). Statistical

Laporte Stroshein 9

analysis also determined significant difference between the three starting


techniques for two kinematic variables: block time (BT) and vertical velocity (ZV).
This illustrates that these variables were proved to be different in the three types
of starts.
In Biomechanical Analysis of the Grab, Track and Handle Starts: An
Intervention Study by Brian Blanksby and associates, it states The more
forward centre of mass position was associated with a shorter movement time
and a shorter block time. This demonstrates that the position of the center of
mass has the greatest effect on the swimmers ability to enter the water in the
shortest time.
For the leaning forward track Start, or LF track start, used in this
experiment was based off the method used in Biomechanical Analysis of the
Grab, Track, and handle Swimming Starts: An Intervention Study, written by
Blanksby, Nickson, and Elliot, as one foot on the edge of starting block with the
other foot back, and the body leaning forward so the center of mass is above and
in front of the forward leg (Blanksby 4). In the research done by Blanksby, the
researchers questioned whether the amount of practice given for a particular
start would have a significant effect on the start time. After about 14 practices
each, they tested the swimmers and then determined the results (Blanksby 1).
They found that more practice for the grab start had no significant difference in
the start time; they did find an effect from the practices on grab and handle starts
center of mass to have improved given more practice. This research did not
examine which start was most effective compared to one another.

Laporte Stroshein 10

Research done by Paulo Vilas-Boas at the University of Porto, Integrated


Kinetics and Dynamics Analysis of Two track Start techniques, analyzed the
differences between the two types of track starts and determined that the leaning
backward track start would be faster than the leaning forward track start when
entering into the water (Vilas-Boas, et al. 5). However, they also calculated that
the increased velocity created by leaning backward start would also increase the
drag value of the swimmer compared to the other start, decreasing the difference
between the starts (Vilas-Boas, et al. 5).
Problem Statement
Problem:
To determine the most effective swim start of three main styles of
swimming, the grab start and the leaning forward track start, and leaning back
track start. The effectiveness will be determined based on the time it takes to
jump from the block and into the water, and the distance achieved when entering
the water.
Hypothesis:
The researchers predict that the shortest amount of time between getting
off the block and entering into the water will be on average the swimmers who
performed the grab start position. However it is also expected that greatest
distance achieved will be on average the swimmers who lean backwards in a
track start position.
Data Measured:

Laporte Stroshein 11

The two main response variables that were measured were the time and
distance achieved between leaving the starting block and the hands entering the
pool. The time was measured from both of the feet leaving the block and the
hands entering the water. The time was recorded in seconds with an accuracy of
a hundredth of a second. The distance was measured from edge of the pool as
defined by the metal gutter to the first point the diver made contact with the
water. The distance was measured in meters with accuracy to a centimeter. The
number of trials that the researchers planned on doing was 130, but due to the
amount of time, they decided to do 90. The statistical test that was used was the
ANOVA. This was used to determine if there was a difference between the
distances and the times from the block to the water between the types of dives.

Laporte Stroshein 12

Experimental Design
Materials:
Diving Block

TI-Nspire Calculator

Measurement Apparatus (Pool


Noodles) (M.)

Sony Handycam DCR-SR200


(Camera 1)

Logger Pro 3.8.6.2

Canon Powershot (Camera 2)

Tracker Video Analysis Software

Velcro Strip

Voluntary Divers (6)

Tripod

Excel Data Tables

Lane Line

Fraser Pool

Velcro
Straps
Scissors

Duct Tape
Pool Noodles

Figure 1. Measurement Apparatus Materials


The camera, tripod, analysis software, and TI-Nspire are owned by the
researchers. The pool, and the diving blocks were property of Fraser High
School, and volunteer divers were members of the Fraser High School Swim
Team. The measurement apparatus, shown in Figure 1, was constructed using
materials purchased from a local grocery store. See Appendix A for instructions.

Procedure:
Pool Setup:
1. Put in a lane line along the swim lane that the trials will be conducted. In the
case of the Fraser pool, lane six offered the best space for the cameras to be
positioned so this lane was used for the trials. Ensure the lane line is tight so
that the water does move them around, this extra movement could cause for
less accurate readings from the Measurement Apparatus.

2. Put in the Measurement Apparatus along the lane line and ensure the bottom
of the Measurement Apparatus butts up against the edge of the pool, then
secure it to the wire of the lane line using Velcro strips to keep it from moving
in the water. The Velcro strips are
placed in three positions along
the Measurement Apparatus, at
the beginning of the lane line, and
at the two duct tape points.

Sony Handycam
DCR-SCR200
For camera position one.

3.

Figure 2. Camera Position One.

Place the tripod and camera on the side of the pool to have a side view of the
divers when they are jumping off the block. The camera should be able to
capture the feet position of the diver as well the point in the water that the
diver reaches. The researchers observed that every diver was at most 30
centimeters from the edge of the Measurement Apparatus. As a standard
distance, allow the cameras view to reach just under the swim flags as
depicted in Figure 2.
4.

For camera position two. Have a researcher stand behind the first
camera at a specific position on top of the diving board, partially pictured in
Figure 3. This gave the camera a higher viewing angle of the dives so the
camera could zoom in on the hand position when the diver went into the
water.

Sony Handycam
Figure 3. Camera Position Two.
DCR-SCR200

32
0

Distance Achieved

Entry Point

Figure 4. Camera Two Picture


Shown in Figure 4, the second camera position should be positioned in
such a way to get a picture similar to this. As described in Appendix B on how
to analyze the data, the distance will be measured vertically from the
swimmers hand position.
5.

Randomize the divers and what starts they are going to do with a
program from the internet called List Randomization from Randomizer.org.
Make a list of 90 trials with the numbers 1, 2, and 3, repeating 30 times. Then
paste this list into the program and it will sort itself randomly. Put this list into a

spreadsheet and change all the 1s to grab start, 2s to forward track start,
and 3s to backward track start. Then put the names of the swimmers in a list
and repeat them for 90 trials. Each diver was assigned to approximately 10
and 20 starts each, with about four to eight starts for each type.
6.

Start both cameras to record the distance and time of the dive. Have
the swimmer move into the proper dive position, and then call the start as
would be done in a swim meet. Take your mark followed by two seconds
with the researcher saying go. Pay attention to who is diving and what dive
they are doing.

7.

Repeat step 6 in order of the randomization until all trials are complete.

8.

To record the data, play the videos of the dives in analyzing software.
One camera will have the view for distance and the other camera will have
the view for time. For distance, when the divers fingers touch the water, stop
the video and use the Measurement Apparatus to get the distance by
comparing it to the 310 cm mark, see Appendix B for details. For time, record
the time when the diver starts to react to the signal for diving off the block,
and the time the divers fingers touch the water, see Appendix C for further
details.

Diagram:

Figure 5. Three Dive Setup


Figure 5 shows the three different dives that are going to be tested. GrabStart is when the diver has two feet on the front of the block and two hands
grabbing the front of the block. The diver leans forward almost standing straight
and the head is tucked in. When diving, the diver leans forward and pushes off
with his or her feet and goes into the water. The Track-Start Leaning Back is
when the diver has one foot on the front of the block and one foot on the back.
The hands are both grabbing the start block. The weight is shifted to the back
foot. When diving, the diver launches by pushing off the block and pulling with
the hands and goes forward into the water. The Track-Start Leaning Forward is
when the diver has one foot on the front of the block and one foot on the back of
the block. The weight is shifted to the front foot. When diving, the diver leans
forward and pushes off with his or her feet and pulls with his or her hands. (Photo
found at blog.swimator.com.)

Data and Observation


Table 1
Data and Observation Table For Time Achieved
Trial
Number

Name

Dive Method

Date

Observations

Alec

Front Track
Start

1-May

Dive went normal trial 1 to


13

Time Achieved (Sec.)


0.87

Trial
Number
2

Name

Dive Method

Date

Observations

Time Achieved (Sec.)

Eric

Grab Start

1-May

0.73

Elijsha

1-May

0.73

Alec

1-May

0.77

Eric

1-May

0.87

Elijsha

1-May

0.83

Alec

1-May

0.73

Eric

1-May

0.83

Elijsha

1-May

0.87

10

Alec

1-May

0.8

11

Eric

1-May

0.9

12

Elijsha

1-May

0.87

13

Aaron

Grab Start
Back Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Grab Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Grab Start
Back Track
Start
Grab Start
Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start

2-May

0.8

14

Hunte
r

Grab Start

2-May

Body was out of fit for


camera

0.97

15

Eric

2-May

Dive went normal

0.87

16

Ian

17

Elijsha

18

Alec

19

Aaron

20

Hunte
r

21

Eric

22

Ian

23

Elijsha

24

Alec

25

Aaron
Hunte
r

26
27

Eric

28

Ian

29

Elijsha

30

Alec

31

Aaron
Hunte
r
Eric

32
33

Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Grab Start
Back Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Grab Start
Grab Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Grab Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track

2-May
2-May

Body was out of fit for


camera
Dive went normal trial 17
to 25 and 27 to 35

1.04
1.07

2-May

0.7

2-May

0.93

2-May

0.8

2-May

1.03

2-May

0.87

2-May

0.73

2-May

0.83

2-May

0.97

2-May

0.87

2-May

0.97

2-May

0.93

2-May

2-May

0.87

2-May

2-May

0.89

2-May

0.9

Trial
Number

Name

34

Ian

35

Elijsha

36

Alec

37

39

Aaron
Hunte
r
Eric

40

Ian

41

Elijsha

38

42

Alec

43

Aaron
Hunte
r

44
45

Eric

46

Ian

47

Elijsha

48

Alec

49

Aaron
Hunte
r

50

Dive Method
Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Grab Start

Date

Observations

Time Achieved (Sec.)

2-May

0.9

2-May

2-May

Pretty good dive

2-May

Dive wasn't good

Grab Start

2-May

Dive went normal

1.1

Grab Start
Front Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Grab Start

2-May

Dive went O.K


Dive went normal trial 40
to 43

Grab Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Grab Start
Back Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Grab Start

3-May

Dive wasn't good

1.27

Grab Start

3-May

Dive wasn't good

1.03

Grab Start

3-May

Dive went normal trial 51


to 55

2-May

0.9

0.97
0.9

3-May

0.83

3-May

1.03

3-May

1.1

3-May

Dive wasn't good

3-May

Dive went normal trial 45


to 48

1.2
1

3-May

0.93

3-May

0.87

3-May

0.9

51

Eric

52

Ian

53

Elijsha

Front Track
Start
Grab Start

3-May

Dive went normal

1.17

54

Alec

Grab Start

3-May

Dive went normal

55

Aaron
Hunte
r

3-May

Dive went normal

1.13

3-May

Dive wasn't good

1.07

3-May

Dive went normal trial 57


to 59

1.24

3-May

1.2
1.13

57

Eric

58

Ian

59

Elijsha

Grab Start
Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Grab Start

60

Alec

Grab Start

3-May

Short Start Outlier

1.07

61

Aaron
Hunte
r

Grab Start
Front Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start

3-May

Dive went normal

0.87

3-May

Dive went normal

1.2

3-May

Dive wasn't good

0.87

56

62
63

Eric

64

Ian

65

Elijsha

3-May

1.03

3-May

0.97

3-May
3-May

Don't Worry Fell in first


time trial was redone
Dive went normal trial 65
to 67

1.03
1.1

Trial
Number

Name

66

Alec

67

Aaron

Dive Method
Front Track
Start
Front Track
Start

69

Hunte
r
Eric

70

Ian

71

Elijsha

72

Alec

73

Aaron

74

Hunte
r

75

Eric

76

Ian

77

Elijsha

78

Alec

79

Aaron

Grab Start

80

Hunte
r

81

Eric

82

Ian

83

Elijsha

84

Alec

85

Aaron

Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Grab Start
Front Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Grab Start
Back Track
Start
Front Track
Start

68

87

Hunte
r
Eric

88

Ian

89

Elijsha

90

Alec

91

Aaron

92

Hunte
r

86

Date

Observations

Time Achieved (Sec.)

3-May

0.8

3-May

1.07

Grab Start

3-May

Dive wasn't good

0.93

Grab Start

3-May

Dive went normal

0.87

Grab Start
Front Track
Start
Back Track
Start
Front Track
Start

3-May

Grab Start
Front Track
Start
Front Track
Start
Grab Start
Front Track
Start

1.07

3-May

Dive went normal

0.83

3-May

Dive went normal

0.93

3-May

Don't count first one

0.8

3-May

Dive wasn't good

0.9

3-May

Dive went normal trial 75


to 77

3-May

0.93

3-May

1.17

3-May

Dive wasn't good

0.84

3-May

Dive went normal trial 79


to 81

0.93

3-May

1.17

3-May

1.74

3-May

Dive was exceptional

1.04

3-May

Dive was exceptional

1.1

3-May

Dive went normal trial 84


to 89

1.17

3-May

0.8

3-May

1.6

3-May

0.93

3-May

0.97

3-May

0.83

3-May

Dive couldn't be counted

3-May

Dive went normal

0.94

3-May

Dive went normal

1.3

Table 1 shows the observations of the trials and the data that was needed
to carry out the experiment. The data was derived from the reaction time, the

time the diver reacted to the signal to go, subtracted from the time the diver went
into the water. See Appendix D for details.
Table 2
Data and Observation Table For Distance Achieved
Trial Number

Name

Dive Method

Date

Observations
Dive went normal trial 1 to
13

Distance (cm)

Alec

Front Track Start

1-May

Eric

Grab Start

1-May

333

Elijsha

Grab Start

1-May

305

Alec

Back Track Start

1-May

322

Eric

Front Track Start

1-May

312

Elijsha

Grab Start

1-May

301

Alec

Front Track Start

1-May

308

Eric

Back Track Start

1-May

300

Elijsha

Grab Start

1-May

303

10

Alec

Back Track Start

1-May

313

11

Eric

Grab Start

1-May

319

12

Elijsha

Back Track Start

1-May

304

13

Aaron

Back Track Start

2-May

276

307
Body was out of fit for
camera
Dive went normal
Body was out of fit for
camera
Dive went normal trial 17 to
25 and 27 to 35

14

Hunter

Grab Start

2-May

347

15

Eric

Back Track Start

2-May

16

Ian

Back Track Start

2-May

17

Elijsha

Grab Start

2-May

18

Alec

Back Track Start

2-May

307

19

Aaron

Front Track Start

2-May

303

20

Hunter

Back Track Start

2-May

354

21

Eric

Back Track Start

2-May

311

22

Ian

Front Track Start

2-May

339

23

Elijsha

Front Track Start

2-May

305

24

Alec

Grab Start

2-May

309

25

Aaron

Grab Start

2-May

305

26

Hunter

Front Track Start

2-May

305

27

Eric

Back Track Start

2-May

362

28

Ian

Front Track Start

2-May

310

29

Elijsha

Back Track Start

2-May

343

30

Alec

Back Track Start

2-May

290

308
356
307

31

Aaron

Grab Start

2-May

272

32

Hunter

Front Track Start

2-May

321

Trial Number

Name

Dive Method

Date

Observations

Distance (cm)

33

Eric

Back Track Start

2-May

305

34

Ian

Front Track Start

2-May

345

35

Elijsha

Back Track Start

2-May

36

Alec

Back Track Start

2-May

Pretty good dive

328

37

Aaron

Grab Start

2-May

Dive wasn't good

314

38

Hunter

Grab Start

2-May

387

39

Eric

Grab Start

2-May

40

Ian

Front Track Start

2-May

Dive went normal


Measurement Apparatus
flipped over the lane line.
Distance was still able to be
recorded
Dive went normal trial 40 to
43

41

Elijsha

Front Track Start

3-May

289

42

Alec

Grab Start

3-May

300

43

Aaron

Grab Start

3-May

318

44

Hunter

Front Track Start

3-May

45

Eric

Back Track Start

3-May

299

Dive wasn't good


Dive went normal trial 45 to
48

294
347

360
326

46

Ian

Grab Start

3-May

346

47

Elijsha

Back Track Start

3-May

327

48

Alec

Front Track Start

3-May

298

49

Aaron

Grab Start

3-May

Dive wasn't good

326

50

Hunter

Grab Start

3-May

360

51

Eric

Grab Start

3-May

Dive wasn't good


Dive went normal trial 51 to
55

52

Ian

Front Track Start

3-May

53

Elijsha

Grab Start

3-May

Dive went normal

327

54

Alec

Grab Start

3-May

Dive went normal

297

55

Aaron

Grab Start

3-May

Dive went normal

318

56

Hunter

Back Track Start

3-May

306

57

Eric

Back Track Start

3-May

Dive wasn't good


Dive went normal trial 57 to
59

58

Ian

Front Track Start

3-May

59

Elijsha

Grab Start

3-May

60

Alec

Grab Start

3-May

Short Start Outlier

312

61

Aaron

Grab Start

3-May

Dive went normal

298

62

Hunter

Front Track Start

3-May

Dive went normal

346

63

Eric

Front Track Start

3-May

295

64

Ian

Back Track Start

3-May

65

Elijsha

Back Track Start

3-May

66

Alec

Front Track Start

3-May

Dive wasn't good


Original trial was a bad
dive. It was redone
Dive went normal trial 65 to
67
Dive could not be recorded

67

Aaron

Front Track Start

3-May

68

Hunter

Grab Start

3-May

307
344

306
348
305

353
309

303
Dive wasn't good

344

Trial Number

Name

Dive Method

Date

Observations

Distance (cm)

69

Eric

Grab Start

3-May

70

Ian

Grab Start

3-May

71

Elijsha

Front Track Start

3-May

Dive went normal

312

72

Alec

Back Track Start

3-May

Dive went normal

296

73

Aaron

Front Track Start

3-May

Don't count first one

284

74

Hunter

Back Track Start

3-May

351

75

Eric

Front Track Start

3-May

Dive wasn't good


Dive went normal trial 75 to
77

76

Ian

Front Track Start

3-May

77

Elijsha

Grab Start

3-May

78

Alec

Front Track Start

3-May

79

Aaron

Grab Start

3-May

80

Hunter

Back Track Start

3-May

355

81

Eric

Back Track Start

3-May

282

82

Ian

Back Track Start

3-May

Dive was exceptional

349

83

Elijsha

Back Track Start

3-May

288

84

Alec

Front Track Start

3-May

Dive was exceptional


Dive went normal trial 84 to
89

85

Aaron

Back Track Start

3-May

330

86

Hunter

Back Track Start

3-May

342

87

Eric

Grab Start

3-May

298

88

Ian

Front Track Start

3-May

350

89

Elijsha

Front Track Start

3-May

90

Alec

Grab Start

3-May

Dive couldn't be counted

288

91

Aaron

Back Track Start

3-May

Dive went normal

321

92

Hunter

Front Track Start

3-May

Dive went normal

346

93

Eric

Grab Start

3-May

310

94

Ian

Front Track Start

3-May

343

95

Elijsha

Back Track Start

3-May

283

96

Alec

Back Track Start

3-May

281

Dive went normal

316
355

293
333
292

Dive wasn't good


Dive went normal trial 79 to
81

267
320

239

294

97

Aaron

Grab Start

3-May

311

98

Hunter

Front Track Start

3-May

358

99

Eric

Back Track Start

3-May

316

100

Ian

Back Track Start

3-May

337

101

eric

Grab Start

3-May

315

102

Elijsha

Grab Start

3-May

273

Table 2 shows the distance achieved by the divers. Some unusual


observations were in trial 90 where the dive could not be counted. Also in trial 73,

the first dive could not be counted either. These issues had hardly any effect due
to the Central Limit Theorem (CLT) which states that the more trials one has, the
more normal the data becomes because with the CLT it was able to get more
trials and not have any effective data.
Table 3
Mean and Standard Deviation of Response Variables of Start Types
Start Methods
Grab Start
Forward Track
Start
Back Track Start

Average
Time (Sec.)
0.986

Average
Distance (cm.)
315.8

Standard Deviation
Time (Sec.)
0.128

Standard Deviation
Distance (cm.)
29.9

0.926

310.0

0.129

17.6

0.944

319.1

0.130

23.7

Table 3 shows the average time, average distance, standard deviation


time, and standard deviation distance for all three types of starting methods. The
average time for the three starts: Grab Start, Forward Track Start, and Backward
Track Start were 0.986, 0.926, and 0.944 respectively. These times were fairly
close to one another so there was not really a difference between the times
achieved. The standard deviations for time of the three dives were 0.128, 0.129,
and 0.130 with respect to the Table 3. The relationship of the three dives
standard deviations was that on a bell curve they were all one within one
standard deviation of each other. The average distances for three dives were
315.8, 310.0, and 319.1 with respect to the data. These were fairly close to each
other which meant that all three dives went about the same distances before
entering the water. The standard deviations for distance of the three dives were
29.9, 17.6, and 23.7 with respect to the table. These values were sort of close to

each other but in a bell curve they were within one standard deviation of each
other.
Diagram:

Figure 6. Start Type Diagram


Shown in Figure 6 is both the positioning of the feet for the divers for each
start method, and what the dive entrance would look like when the swimmer
enters the water. For a full description for the analysis of each dive, see Appendix
B and C for how the researchers analyzed the time and distance of each start.

Data Analysis and Interpretation


The data was collected using two high resolution video cameras with the
distance from the starting block to the entry point being measured within
centimeters and the time that it took for that swimmer was measured to a tenth of
a second. The trials were randomized so that there were thirty trials of each type
of dive; this was done to ensure each dive was represented equally. Each diver
was given a random number of each different start type to perform. Thirty trials of
each start type were performed. The researchers assumed that the large number

of trials would make the sampling distribution normal. This experiment should be
replicated further in other research to build onto the collected data so to be more
confident in the results. This experiment was design to control for outside
variables such as swimmer fatigue and improving performance given practice.
This was achieved by the randomization of trials so that all start types would be
affected equally if swimmers were getting tired by the end of the trials or if the
swimmers were loosening up and performing better by the end of trials. However
these variables were seen significantly during trials.

Q1:308

Median:313

Q3:342

281

Q1:300

362

Median:308 Q3:319

272

347

Q1:295

Median:311

Q3:345

239

360

Distance (m)

Figure 7. Distance Achieved With Different Starts


The box plot of the distances achieved with the three different start types
is shown above in Figure 7. The leaning back track start and the grab start had
the most variability in data and the forward leaning track start had two outliers

that could have affected the mean. These two outliers are removed to make sure
the mean was not skew by these outliers.

Q1:308

Median:313

Q3:342

281

272

362

Q1:30
0

Q1:295

Median:308

Q3:319
347

Median:311

Q3:345

239

360

Distance (m)

Figure 8. Distance Achieved Data Without Outliers


Figure 8 shows the data without the two outlier points found when
originally graphed in Figure 7. The boxplots show that all three of the start types
are slightly skewed to the right. This could make the data less reliable than the
researchers would like it to be. Visually it can be easily seen that the medians of
each start type are very close to one another. From this the researchers
expected based on the graph alone that the effects of unique start types on the
distance achieved will be small if not insignificant.

Q1:0.834

Median: 0.934

Q3:1.03
5
1.235

0.701

Q1:0.837
0.734
Q1:0.901
0.734

Median: 0.893
Q3:0.985
1.202
Median: 0.968
Q3:1.068
1.267

Time (Seconds)

Figure 9. Time Achieved With Different Starts


The box plot of the time achieved with the three different start types is
shown above in Figure 9. The box plots of each type are very similar with most of
the data overlapping. There were two outliers in the back leaning track start data,
and one in the forward leaning data. This was believed to be because of certain
swimmers having lucky trials, and that it was random. However, these data points
were removed so as to ensure they do not skew the data.

Q1:0.834

Median:0.934

Q3:1.03
5
1.235

0.701

Q1:0.837
0.734
Q1:0.901
0.734

Median:0.893
Q3:0.985
1.202
Median:0.968
Q3:1.068
1.267

Time (Seconds)

Figure 10. Time Achieved Data Without Outliers


Figure 10 shows the same data that was in Figure 9 without the three
outlier points. The boxplots are all about normal, although the forward leaning
track and grab starts are both slightly skewed to the right. This is not believed to
be a significant problem. The boxplots also show the medians of the different
start types to be very close to each other and most of the data to be overlapping.
This lead the researchers to believe that just based on the boxplots the statistical
test would not determine the dive starts as a significant effect.
The researchers performed an ANOVA statistical test because there were
three populations that needed to be compared to determine if there was a
significant difference between any of them. See Appendix E for sample
calculation.

Assumptions:
1. Independent SRS from each population
a. Each dive was performed separate from the other dives.
2. Each population has a normal distribution and is not extremely skewed or
have many outliers.
a. Each population was graphed using a boxplot and was found to be
approximately normal. No extreme skewness was found and any data
points that were outliers were removed to keep the data from being
affected.
3. All populations have the same standard deviation or, while each population is
similar in size, the largest standard deviation is not greater than twice the
smallest standard deviation.
a. All populations had similar size with the largest having no more than
four more trials then the smallest.
Front Track= Back Track
Grab=
H 0 :

H a : not all Grab , Front Track , Back Track are equal

The null hypothesis says the mean of each population would be the same.
This would mean that start types had no effect on the distance achieved by the
swimmers. The alternative hypothesis says that at least one mean of the three
populations does not equal the rest. This would mean that at least one start type
had a significant effect of the distance achieved by a swimmer.

Table 4
Anova Statistical Test of Distance Achieved
Title
F
PVal
df
SS
MS
dfError
SSError
MSError
sp

ANOVA
1.224
0.299
2
1419.055
709.528
95
55091.384
579.909
24.081

CLowerList

{310.97, 301.68, 307.05}

CUpperList

{327.14, 318.32,
324.502}

x List

{319.06, 310., 315.77}

Shown in Table 4 were the results of the ANOVA test performed on the
distance achieve by the swimmers. The researchers conclude that with a P-value
of .299 at the accepted alpha level of .05 we fail to reject the null hypothesis.
There is no significant difference between the types of swim starts and the
distance achieved by the swimmer. Another important statistical value that was
computed was a 95% confidence interval shown by the variables CLowerList
and CupperList. These variables show the highs and lows of the expected
range of where the researchers are 95% confident of where the mean is
expected to lie. The values are Grab Start, Back Leaning Track and Front
Leaning Track respectively. The values of the confidence intervals shown overlap
in many cases with at least half of the range of each type of dive overlapping with

each other. This supports the ANOVA test conducted that shows little significant
difference between start types.
Table 5
Anova Statistical Test of Time Achieved
Title

ANOVA

F
PVal
df
SS
MS
dfError
SSError
MSError
sp

1.784
0.174
2
0.059
0.030
85
1.412997647
0.016623502
0.128932159

CLowerL
ist

{0.90, 0.88, 0.94}

CUpperL
ist

{0.99, 0.97, 1.032}

x List

{0.94, 0.93, 0.99}

Shown in Table 5 were the results of the ANOVA test performed on the time
achieve by the swimmers. The researchers conclude that with a P-value of .177
at the accepted alpha level of .05 we fail to reject the null hypothesis. There is no
significant difference between the types of swim starts and the time achieved by
the swimmer. Another important statistical value that was computed was a 95%
confidence interval shown by the variables CLowerList and CupperList. These
variables show the highs and lows of the expected range of where the
researchers are 95% confident of where the mean is expected to lie. The values
are Grab Start, Back Leaning Track and Front Leaning Track respectively. The

values of the confidence intervals shown overlap in many cases. This supports
the ANOVA test conducted that shows little significant difference between start
types.

Conclusion
The purpose of this experiment was to measure the distance and time
achieved by a swimmer jumping off of a starting block and determine which of
the three types of starts: grab start, leaning forward track start, and leaning back
track start was the most effective. This was achieved by performing an ANOVA
statistical test on the average measured values of distance and time individually.
It was important to note that a trial was considered the distance and time
measured by the swimmers initial movement from the starting block to the point
at which their hands touched the surface of the water. This method was chosen
as it would be the easiest to determine the final point of measurement versus the
researchers measuring from the last part of a swimmers foot entering the water.
The researchers original hypothesis was that the grab start position would
be statistically significant in terms of reducing the time it takes from leaving the
block and entering the pool. Similarly, the leaning back track start position was
expected to be statistically significant in terms of the maximum distance
achieved. However, this was not the case in either instance, so the hypothesis
was rejected. The final results indicated that there was no significant difference
between any of the populations (start types) with a P-value of .299 for the
distance achieved and a P-value of .174 for the time achieved. Realistically this
means that body size, muscle strength, flexibility and other are the details
competitive swimmers should look at further in improving their start time and
distance, and the start type they chose will not be as important.

In terms of other research on this field, it agreed with this researchs


findings that the grab start had no significant effect on the time achieved
(Blanksby). However the study was still necessary to compile on the information
on these start types to be conclusive on this topic.
While it was intended for the data to be conclusive and the results to be
accurate, many flaws were discovered in the process of data measurements that
were unavoidable. Firstly, the method of collection for the distance achieved data
was to aim a digital camera at the approximate area expected for the swimmers
hands to meet the water. The main problem with the method was how the
cameraman was not parallel to the measuring apparatus so the foot or so
between the hands and the measuring apparatus actually made all the gathered
values greater than they would be in reality. While this was originally problematic,
the researcher solved this problem by putting the cameraman in the same
position for each trial and during the video analysis which always compared the
distance directly vertical along the video. This possible flaw was not expected to
skew the data in any way. Another aspect of the experiment was the
randomization for the trials which were done by randomly placing swimmers in
positions for sets of 30 of each start type. While this ensured that the number of
each type of swim start was the same, what was not accounted for was how
many of each start type each swimmer performs. For example, one of the
swimmers had significantly more starts of the grab start method and very few of
the other types of dives. While the researchers do not expect this to make the

data completely invalid, it does weaken the strength of the results of the ANOVA
test.
Another unavoidable problem caused by the time constraints of the
research was the limited number of volunteers available for the trials. This was
mainly due to the swimmers being high school students who were not always
able to attend the trial dates. The main problem this caused was that certain
swimmers contributed more starts to the data than other swimmers. Again the
researchers believe that due to the robustness of the ANOVA test, and the large
sample size that this was not cause to believe the data was inconclusive. If this
research was to be repeated, this problem should be reduced and the swimmers
have as equal as possible number of trials of an equal number of start types for
the data to be most conclusive.
While the researchers believe that this analysis of these specific start
methods conclusively showed an insignificant effect by the three methods, further
research should be done to ensure this finding. Further research should be done
on a swimmer by swimmer basis to look at the individual difference in these start
types, and further analyze in more detail other factors such as hand position, or
what amount of lean would be best in a grab start position, to determine if there
is an effect on distance and time achieved in those ways should be performed.
This topic is very important to highly competitive swimmers and any mistake
done on this subject would subject the swimming population to misinformation,
while any advantage found for competitive swimmers could lead to improved

starts. Milliseconds do not seem important to many, but in the case of Michael
Phelps and other world class swimmers, these details mean everything.

Acknowledgements
The researchers would like to acknowledge certain people for their
assistance, guidance and support throughout their research, through them the
information in this paper was made possible.
The authors would like to thank Mr. Nowinski, Head Coach at Fraser High
School for supporting the researchers, and providing access to the Fraser Pool
for the trials, and background knowledge of the experiments.
Secondly, they would also like to thank Mr. McMillan for technical details
regarding the research design, and assistance with structuring the experiment.
They would also like to thank him for carefully proofreading the scientific portions
of the research.
Furthermore, the authors would like to thank Mrs. Cybulski for her
assistance in the statistical sections and in helping us to design a robust
experiment. We would also like to thank her for proofreading various sections of
the paper.
The researchers would also like to mention David Chapman, a member of
the Fraser High School Broadcasting Club, for providing a second camera and
his camera work throughout the trials, as well as the volunteer swimmers for their
willingness to assist in this research and their patience during the trials.
Finally both authors would like to thank their families for their support
mentally, emotional, and on rare occasions financial for all they have done to

assist in making this research possible. Acknowledgement should also be given


to researchers fellow classmates for their insight and comments throughout the
completion of the work.

Appendix A: Measurement Apparatus Construction


Materials:
Pool Noodles (3)

Permanent Marker

Duct Tape

Velcro Straps

Scissors

Meter Stick

Lane Line
Procedures:
1. Lay the Pool Noodles on a flat surface and use the meter stick and
permanent marker to mark each

Scissor
s

centimeter across the horizontal of all

Duct Tape

three of the pool noodles. Connect


the pool noodles together loosely to
continue marking. Every ten
centimeters write the number of
that mark. Make sure to draw this

Velcro Straps

Pool Noodles
Figure 11. Measurement Apparatus
Materials

number large and bold. Shown in Figure 11 were most of the materials used
in the construction of the Measurement Apparatus, not shown are the meter
stick or permanent marker.
2. Use the duct tape and scissors to connect the pool noodles together with the
measurement marks lining up. Make sure to line up the marks in the right way
and for the marked values to continue in the correct order.
3. Attach the Measurement Apparatus to lane line that was previously placed
into the pool, using the Velcro straps attach the duct tape points of the
Measurement Apparatus to the wire of the lane line.

Appendix B: Video Analysis Logger Pro

Logger Pro 3.8.6.2 Video Analysis Software was used to find the Distance
Achieved by the divers. The Distance Achieved was found comparing the divers
hand position to the Measurement Apparatus behind them.
Procedure:
1. Download the latest version of Logger Pro from their website
http://www.vernier.com/downloads/
2. Insert the video from the trials by going to the Insert table and clicking movie.
Browse through the computer to find the video file.
3. Play the video and stop the video in the position shown in Figure 12 so that
the swimmers hands are just entering the water.
4. Using the Logger Pro analysis tools add a line vertical to the hand position.
Make this line long enough to go past the Measurement Apparatus as shown
in Figure 12.

Figure 12. Logger Pro Video Analysis


Distance Achieved
5. Set the scale of the video
my marking 20
Entryoff
Point
centimeters
of the black lines made on the Measurement Apparatus
previously.
6. Measure the distance from a single point for all videos, in this case the
researchers measured from the 310 cm mark. Draw a line from this point
along the Measurement Apparatus to the vertical line of the hand position.
Respectfully add or subtract this distance from 310 and record this distance
into the Excel Data Tables.

Appendix C: Video Analysis Tracker Video Software


Tracker Video Analysis Software was used to get the Time Achieved by
the divers. Time Achieved was derived from Finished Time subtracted from
Reaction Time. To use the software, it is needed to be downloaded on a
computer

Procedure:
1. Download the Tracker Video Analysis Software from their website.
https://www.cabrillo.edu/~dbrown/tracker/
2. Insert the first video from the trials. Go to the video tab and click Import.
Browse through the computer to find the video file.
3. Play the video until it is just before the diver begins his dive. Stop the video to
the closest frame to the beginning of the start. Mark this number into the excel
sheet previously set up.
4. Move one frame at a time until the swimmers hands just begin to enter into
the water. Stop here and record the time. Subtract these two time values in an
excel sheet to find the value in milliseconds for the dive.
5. Repeat step 3 and 4 until all the trials are complete.

Appendix D: Time Achieved Calculations


This calculation was used to figure out the Time Achieved by taking the
Finished Time, or when the divers hands enter the water, and subtract it from
Start Time, when the diver first reacted to the start signal.
Finished TimeStart Time=Time Achieved

Shown below in Figure 13 is a sample calculation to get the Time


Achieved by using the equation above. The Time Achieved is measured in
milliseconds.
Time Achieved=87 .38786.520

Time Achieved=0.870 Milliseconds

Figure 13. Sample Calculation of Time Achieved.


This is only one of 90 Time Achieved values. The Time Achieved was then
used in the ANOVA statistical test.

Appendix E: Sample Calculation of ANOVA Statistical Test


To find the F statistical and P-value for an ANOVA statistical test 2 other
values need to be calculated first: Mean Square Error, Mean Square Group. The
F value as shown below is calculated using these values explained below.

F=

Mean Square Group


Mean Square Error

The Mean Square Group is the variation among sample means between
each population. This is calculated as shown below by using the sample size,
sample means, the weighted mean, or the number of observations in each
sample times the mean of each sample(shown below), and the number of
populations(I).

x =

n1x1 +n2x2 +n3x 3+...


Total Observations

With the weighted mean is found the MSG can be calculated using other
parts of the data. As shown in the formula below, MSG is the sample size times
the difference squared of the sample means and the weighted means. This
formula can be extended to make any number of populations.
2

n1( x 1x ) + n2 ( x2 x ) +n 3 ( x3 x ) +...
MSG=
I 1

Finally, the MSE can be calculated similarly using the formula below. The
key difference between the two variables is the MSG is the variation among the
sample means between each population, and the MSE is the variation among
individuals in all samples of each population.

MSE=

(n11)S 12 +(n21) S 22+(n31)S 32 ...


N1

Now the F statistic can be calculated to later find the P-value of the
ANOVA test.

x =

410.65+ 410.42+ 45.6+...


16

x =6.67

MSG=

4(10.656.67 )2 + 4 ( 10.426.67 )2+ 4 ( 5.66.67 )2


31

MSG=62.15

MSE=

( 41 ) 1.252 + ( 41 ) 1.34 2+ ( 41 ) 1.56 2 ...


161

MSE=3.48

F=

62.15
3.48

F=17.8592

Figure 14. ANOVA Test


Shown in Figure 14 is a sample problem how to find the F statistic for an
ANOVA test. To find the P-value the degrees of freedom must be found to use the
list of values. This formula is shown below.

Degrees of Freedom=

I 1
N I

Degrees of Freedom=

31
163

Degrees of Freedom=

2
13

Figure 15. Degrees of Freedom Sample Calculation


Shown in Figure 15 once the degrees of freedom are calculated the Pvalue can be determined using any F statistic table. The P-value for this sample
problem is 0.000928. This means that there is a significant difference at some
point in these three populations.

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