- These results beg the question: in the middle of a race how does a swimmer position themself halfway in a wave? Well according to the researchers: feelings. Competitive swimmers should be able to sense feel the spots of minimum drag.
- As the the distance between draft and lead swimmer increases the amplitude of the waves decreases and so does the wave drag reduction. Once that distance is greater than 0.5m “the drafter’s bow wave will not have any influence on the leader’s wave drag.”
- Another important factor affecting wave drag is wave interference. When a the drafting swimmer’s waves are in sync or in phase wave drag increases however when the leader and the drafter’s wave are out of sync they cancel out and drag is minimized.
- In open water swimming if a swimmer were to trail in the right position behind two leading swimmers such that the drafting swimmer is at the bottom of the V shape, the total amount of drag experienced can be reduced up to 50% (depending on the distance).
- When drafting behind two leaders it is possible for the drag reduction to be so great (more than 100%) that it turns into a thrust force which propels the swimmer forward.
*The effects of lane ropes were not taken into account for this study.
Which swimming topics would you like to see research on? Send me a note and I’ll see what I can find.