This thesis examined the importance and interaction between physical characteristics and performance measures in competitive Paralympic swimming. The series of experimental studies addressed the following research topics: (i) relationships between anthropometric profiles and the propulsion-resistance dynamics in Paralympic swimmers, (ii) the effects of asymmetry and fatigue on mean force generation of the upper body, and (iii) quantifying key phases of the dive start, and (iv) the influence of a dry-land training program on swimming performance. Study one used a descriptive cross-sectional approach to investigate the relationship between anthropometric profiles and the propulsion-resistance dynamics. The correlation betweenmean power generated on a swim-bench ergometer and 100-m time trial performance increased with level of physical disability (high-range disability, male r= 0.65, ±0.56 (r-value, ±90% confidence limits) and female r= 0.68, ±0.64; mid-range, r= 0.87, ±0.41 and r= 0.79, ±0.75). Swimming time trial performance appeared to be dependent on high power generation rather than anthropometry, especially for those with a more severe disability.
Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2014.