A new study [bibcite key=lee2014changes] revealed that single-arm amputee front-crawl swimmers produce approximately 20% less propulsion (tether force) than able-bodied swimmers with comparable training backgrounds.
Dividing the world record for my disability (IPC S9) (0:54,21) by the non disabled world record over 100m freestyle (0:46,91), an excess time of 116% of the arm amputee Cowdrey compared to the non disabled Cielo results. With that, my own personal best over 100m freestyle (1:10,21) is comparable to a non disabled 47 year old swimming 100m freestyle in 1:00,34.
Generally, it takes me some 98% of the 2014 qualifying or standard time for my non-disabled age group's FINA World Masters championship 100m freestyle LC, while my handicap slows me down by 16%. So if you have no handicap and you swim 98%/116%, that is, 84% of your non-disabled age group's qualifying time, then you are just as fast as I am, relative to age and handicap. In other words, I am on par with male swimmers without handicap that swim 0:53,8 (aged 25), 0:54,8 (30), 0:55,7 (35), 0:57,8 (40), 1:00,3 (45), 1:05,8 (50), 1:10,0 (55), 1:15,1 (60), 1:22,7 (70), 1:32,8 (75) and 1:42,9 (80). Female comparative times are 1:00,7 (25), 1:03,3 (30), 1:04,9 (35), 1:07,5 (40), 1:12,5 (45), 1:17,6 (50), 1:21,8 (55), 1:26,1 (60), 1:34,5 (65), 1:39,6 (70), 1:51,4 (75) and 2:10,8 (80).
This study examined changes in the propulsive force and stroke parameters of arm-amputee and able-bodied swimmers during tethered swimming. Eighteen well-trained female swimmers (nine unilateral arm amputees and nine able-bodied) were videotaped performing maximal-effort 30 s front-crawl swims, while attached to a load cell mounted on a pool wall. Tether force, stroke rate, stroke phase durations and inter-arm angle were quantified. The able-bodied group produced significantly higher mean and maximum tether forces than the amputee group. The mean of the intra-cyclic force peaks was very similar for both groups. Mean and maximum tether force had significant negative associations with 100 m swim time, for both groups. Both groups exhibited a similar fatigue index (relative decrease in tether force) during the test, but the amputees had a significantly greater stroke rate decline. A significant positive association between stroke rate decline and fatigue index was obtained for the able-bodied group only. Inter-arm angle and relative phase durations did not change significantly during the test for either group, except the recovery phase duration of the arm amputees, which decreased significantly. This study’s results can contribute to the development of a more evidence-based classification system for swimmers with a disability.