Race Analysis in Competitive Swimming: A Narrative Review

Tomohiro Gonjo, Bjørn Harald Olstad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Researchers have quantified swimming races for several decades to provide objective information on race strategy and characteristics. The purpose of the present review was to summarize knowledge established in the literature and current issues in swimming race analysis. A systematic search of the literature for the current narrative review was conducted in September 2020 using Web of Science, SPORTDiscus (via EBSCO), and PubMed. After examining 321 studies, 22 articles were included in the current review. Most studies divided the race into the start, clean swimming, turn, and/or finish segments; however, the definition of each segment varied, especially for the turn. Ideal definitions for the start and turn-out seemed to differ depending on the stroke styles and swimmers' level. Many studies have focused on either 100 m or 200 m events with the four strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle). Contrastingly, there were few or no studies for 50 m, long-distance, individual medley, and relay events. The number of studies examining races for short course, junior and Paralympic swimmers were also very limited. Future studies should focus on those with limited evidence as well as race analysis outside competitions in which detailed kinematic and physiological analyses are possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2020


  • Athletic Performance
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Swimming


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