The study aims to test three hypotheses: (a) the rotation of the upper trunk consists of roll, pitch and yaw of frequencies harmonic to the stroke frequency of the front crawl stroke, (b) the rotation of the upper trunk generates back-and-forth movements of the shoulders, which enhances the movements of the stroking arms, and (c) the angular velocities of roll, pitch and yaw are associated with hand propulsion (HP). Front crawl strokes performed by twenty male swimmers were measured with a motion capture system. The roll, pitch and yaw angles about the three orthogonal axes embedded in the upper trunk were determined as three sequential Cardan angles and their angular velocities were determined as the three respective components of the angular velocity. HP and the drag and lift components of HP (HPD and HPL) were estimated by the hand positions and the data from twelve pressure sensors attached on hands. The roll, pitch, and yaw angles were altered in frequencies harmonic to the stroke frequency during the front crawl stroke. Shoulders alternately moved back and forth due to the upper trunk rotation. In the pull phase the angular velocity of roll was correlated with HPL (r = −0.62, p = 0.004). Based on the back-and-forth movements of the shoulders and roll motion relative to a hand movement, the arm-stroke technique of the front crawl swimming was discussed in terms of increasing the hand velocity and HP.
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