BY LISA WEMHOFF//NATIONAL TEAM HIGH PERFORMANCE CONSULTANT
Source: From USA Swimming
When separating the men’s and women’s reaction times, I found that men generally have a .04 head start on the women. The average men’s reaction time was .69 and the average women’s reaction time was .73.
When looking at each individual country on the men’s side, the only countries that had faster reaction times than USA had a sample size fewer than 20.
On the women’s side, Sweden and Great Britain had faster reaction times than USA. Other countries that were faster than USA had a sample size fewer than 20.
When both the men’s and women’s results were gathered together and each country was compared, USA tied for first place at an average of .70 with Sweden. The other countries that had a large enough sample size to compare were Australia, Great Britain, Netherlands, Poland and Russia.
In swimming, reaction time can be classified in two separate categories. The first is the time it takes you to react to the signal and the second is the time it takes you to get off of the block. To improve the time it takes to react to the signal, it would help to practice with the same start signal that would be used in a race. You can do drills on dry land such as standing on deck and clapping as quickly as possible after hearing the start signal. In order to get off the blocks faster it would help to have a good starting position on the block. To learn more about starts, read “Take Your Mark. Go!”
For more tips from the National Team High Performance staff, visit the National Team High Performance Tips archive.