The physiology and biomechanics of competitive swimming

Clin Sports Med. 1999 Apr;18(2):267-85. doi: 10.1016/s0278-5919(05)70143-5.


Fast swimming, either in the pool, in open water swimming, or in water polo and synchronized swimming, requires maximizing the efficiencies with which the human body can move through a liquid medium. A multitude of factors can affect the ability to swim fast as well as the final outcome. Physiology and biomechanics are the present tools used by sports scientists to determine which factors are important to fast swimming and, subsequently, to determine how the swimmer may maximize these factors to improve performance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Sports Medicine / methods
  • Swimming / physiology*