A study performed at the University of Western Ontario comparing the grab start to the track start concluded that as hypothesized the track start results in a faster time in the first 2 meters off the starting blocks.
Based on the results, a track start can result in a difference greater than a tenth of a second. Considering that swim competitions are often decided by hundredths of a second, an effective start may not only yield a personal best time, but also the winning time.
US Olympian Dara Torres states that there are 3 parts to a sprint: the start, the final meters, and the touch. If the start is one area where a sprint is either won or lost, then starting technique, reaction time and strength training is crucial for short and middle distance athletes.
Download the Research Paper:
To help swimmers train starts, dryland training sessions are being held at Gary Allan HDSB this summer. The ‘New Programs’ link at the top of the webpage leads to registration.
Swim track start:
Track & field track start (Asafa Powell):