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It is important to determine which swimming start is the fastest as many races are won by a tenth of a second or less. A great start can give a swimmer an edge on his/her competition while a poor start forces the swimmer to exert large amounts of energy just to catch up. Two starts utilized by competitive swimmers are the Track Start (TS) and the Grab Start (GS). PURPOSE: To determine which foot stance, the TS or the GS, is most beneficial for competitive swimmers. METHODS: Eight male and eight female collegiate swimmers participated in this study. The average participant age was 20 ± 1.12 years while the average years of experience was 10.6 ± 3.32 years. Participants performed three TS and three GS stances consecutively. Distance markers were placed on the side of the pool to determine where each swimmer entered the water. Video analysis was used to determine the following factors: reaction time, distance traveled in air, entrance velocity, and entrance angle. Prior to participating in the study, swimmers completed a brief survey regarding age, weight, height, and competitive swimming experience. A paired sample T-test was used to determine significant differences between the GS and TS. RESULTS: The results indicated that the TS foot stance resulted in a faster reaction time (0.196 ± 0.021 s vs. 0.215 ± 0.035 s; p = 0.008) and a greater entrance velocity in the x-direction (3.53 ± 0.505 m/s vs. 3.13 ± 0.443 m/s; p = 0.000). The GS allowed swimmers to travel further in the air (3.01 ± 0.434 m vs. 2.92 ± 0.421 m; p = 0.002). There was no significant difference in the GS entrance angle compared to the TS entrance angle (38.7 ± 3.79° vs. 37.4 ± 3.39°; p = 0.065). CONCLUSIONS: Based on the results, the TS foot stance provides swimmers with the greatest advantage. Although participants did travel further in the air when performing the GS, they only traveled 2.99% further on average. TS reaction time and entrance velocity were 8.84% and 11.3% faster, respectively, compared to the GS reaction time and entrance velocity.

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