Open Water Swimming Research - Where Is It?

Open Water Swimming Research – Where Is It?

Every year, hundreds of research projects around the world are conducted on endurance sports: running, cycling and triathlons.

Scientists and researchers design and conduct research on all kinds of aspects of human performance, training and psychological factors of endurance athletes of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

What these athletes eat in competition and training, how they feel during races, lactic acid levels and metabolic factors of all types are tested and analyzed. Studies are published in peer-review articles and magazines summarize the results. Athletes and coaches study these results and conclusions and shift their training and preparations accordingly.

But precious few research projects for open water swimmers are proposed and funded.

What are some research projects that would greatly serve the open water swimming community? Here are 20 possible research topics that come quickly to mind.

1. Hypothermic levels of swimmers of all ages and across a variety of water temperatures in both fresh and salt water
2. Hyperthermic levels in swimmers of all ages and across a variety of water temperatures and weather condition in both fresh and salt water
3. Impact of taking water vs. electrolyte drinks vs. Maxim for marathon swimmers
4. Impact of taking gel packs vs. hydration in open water swimmers
5. Impact of altitude training for open water swimmers
6. Impact of open water swimming vs. pool swimming on the health of mature adults
7. Impact of cold-water training on basic health
8. Optimal methods of cold-water acclimatization
9. Optimal methods of warm-water acclimatization
10. Optimal stroke mechanics in turbulent waters
11. Optimal drafting positioning in turbulent waters
12. Difference of drafting benefits comparing swimmers of different speeds
13. Comparison of psychological means to reach open water swimming potential
14. Maximal glycogen loading for open water swimmers
15. Body type analyses of open water swimmers vs. pool swimmers vs. land-based endurance athletes of all ages (body fat and muscle mass comparisons)
16. Aerobic capacity of open water swimmers vs. pool swimmers vs. land-based endurance athletes of all ages
17. Optimal stroke-per-minute pace for open water swims of various distances
18. Injury analysis of open water swimmers
19. Importance of tapering for open water swimming competitions
20. Impact of water temperature on speed

There are a few contemporary researchers who have done some great work in the open water swimming world: Sakura Hingley, Karen Throsby, Jen Schumacher and Genadijus Sokolovas, but we envision the day when a plethora of research is regularly done with, on and for open water swimmers.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones