A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa laboratory analyzed American Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin’s swimming technique in January, as part of a swimming biomechanics research study. The Aquatic Research Laboratory, located within the College of Education Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science (KRS), is one of only a few facilities in the country dedicated to the research of competitive swimmers.
Founded and directed by KRS Associate Professor Jan Prins, the laboratory uses multiple high-speed cameras, coupled with biomechanical motion-analysis software, to examine the above and underwater swimming technique of nationally and internationally ranked swimmers.
Ervin, a much decorated and celebrated athlete, won gold medals in two Olympic Games—first during the 2000 Sydney Games and again 16 years later at the 2016 Rio Games, an accomplishment that no other athlete has achieved.
Over the course of two weeks, Ervin was videotaped using three synchronized high-speed cameras, followed by analysis using motion analysis software. Ervin’s results provide detailed information on the manner in which the movement patterns of the hands and feet affect swimming velocities. The data will be presented at the 2018 World Swimming Coaches’ Clinic scheduled for September.
“We were very fortunate to have Anthony visit us and agree to be tested,” said Prins. “We know that swimmers at his level of accomplishment do not move through the water in exactly the same manner. Being able to closely analyze the subtleties of his stroke mechanics is of immense value and interest to coaches and swimmers worldwide.”
The lab has been compiling similar data on elite swimmers over the past eight years and has presented its results at numerous national and international venues.
A former UH Mānoa varsity men’s swimming coach, Prins coached for Sri Lanka in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the U.S. Team at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, and the 1994 World Championships in Malta. He was also tapped to serve on the U.S. Wounded Warrior coaching staff at the inaugural 2014 Invictus Games in London.