Background of the “Optimizing propulsion” project

The project ‘optimizing propulsion’ is a collaboration of (among others)  the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the TU Delft and the TU Eindhoven, the KNRB and the KNZB and financed by STW. The goal of this project is to optimize propulsion in swimming and rowing by getting more insight in the power equation of rowers and swimmers and to provide athletes and coaches with real-time feedback on power parameters. In this project the VU will especially focus on the optimal trade-off of maximizing mechanical power output and minimizing power losses and the development of innovative feedback tools in rowing, while the TU Eindhoven will do the same for swimming. The TU Delft will  try to get more insight in water flows around the blades in rowing and the hand in swimming.

In rowing success is gained by completing a 2000 meter in the shortest amount of time. This time depends on the average boat velocity which is affected by a rower´s  technique or skill to maximize mechanical power output and to minimize energy losses unrelated to average shell velocity (Hofmijster, Soest & Koning, 2008). The first aim of this project is to increase the insight in parameters that are related to the power equation in steady-state rowing (e.g. power losses versus the ‘efficient’ power that contributes to the average velocity of the boat). At the end of the project we would like to know the optimal trade-off between those parameters. The second aim of the project is to support rowers via innovative feedback on this optimal trade off in order to improve performance. The development and evaluation of innovative feedback tools will be an important part of this project.



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