Finger Spreading and Swim Speed
by Isra Alsahli and Iyad Alsahli
Abstract – One question regarding front-crawl swim techniques is the optimal degree of finger spreading. Closing all four fingers together is common practice, and intuitively may seem to be the most efficient. However, this wisdom was questioned when it was noticed that some elite swimmers swim with their fingers slightly spread. We review the literature and find that the results mostly indicate that spreading fingers might improve swim speed. However, the studies used a wind tunnel experiment, computational methods, and computer simulations instead of real swimmers in the pool. We conduct an experiment using swimmers and find that spreading fingers at a 10° angle results in the shortest average time to swim 25 metres.