Purpose: The purposes of this article were to establish the reliability of the kinematics of maximal undulatory underwater swimming (UUS) in skilled swimmers, to determine any requirement for familiarization trials, to establish the within-subject (WS) variability of the kinematics, and to calculate the number of cycles required to accurately represent UUS performance.
Methods: Fifteen male swimmers performed 20 maximal UUS trials (two cycles per trial) during four sessions. The magnitude of any systematic bias present within the kinematic variables was calculated between session, trial, and cycle. Random error calculations were calculated to determine the WS variation. An iterative intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) process was used to determine the number of cycles required to achieve a stable representation of each kinematic variable.
Results: Significant differences were found between session 1 and all other sessions for several variables, indicating the requirement for a familiarization session. Results indicated a wide range of WS variation (coefficient of variation [CV] = 1.21%-12.42%). Reductions in WS variation were observed for all variables when the number of cycles of data used to calculate WS variation was increased. Using six cycles of data, including additional cycles of data, provided diminishing returns regarding the reduction of WS variation. The ICC analysis indicated that an average of nine cycles (mean ± SD = 9.47 ± 5.63) was required to achieve the maximum ICC values attained, and an average of four cycles (mean ± SD = 3.57 ± 2.09) was required to achieve an ICC of 0.95.
Conclusions: After determining the systematic bias and establishing the requirement for a familiarization session, six cycles of data were found to be sufficient to provide high levels of reliability (CVTE = 0.86-8.92; ICC = 0.811-0.996) for each of the UUS kinematic variables.