University of Regina Researcher helping Olympic Swimmers go for Gold

News Release Release Date: April 24, 2015 10:00 a.m.

Dr. John Barden, an Associate Professor in the University of Regina’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, has received an Innovation for Gold - Own the Podium grant of $110,700 for his research to improve the performance of Canada’s Olympic swimmers.

“I’m very proud to be able to support Canada’s competitive swimmers in their quest for Olympic gold,” says Dr. Barden. “As someone who has been involved in all aspects of competitive swimming I understand the commitment and drive that these athletes have and I applaud their resolve to represent Canada at this elite level.”

Dr. Barden’s proposal, the Design and Implementation of Novel Data Analytics Approaches to Extract Swimming Performance Parameters from Body-Fixed Sensors, was awarded funding based on the level of impact on podium performances, the methodology and timelines of the project.  

By collecting information from small motion sensors known as accelerometers that the athletes wear in the pool, Dr. Barden is capturing data about the swimmer’s movements that are not easy for coaches to see. This data is then analyzed so certain performance parameters such as stroke rate, body roll, arm asymmetry and velocity can be extracted and tracked to help coaches identify areas for improvement.

“At the international level the difference between swimmers’ times is measured in hundredths of seconds, so small performance improvements can make the difference between finishing on the podium or even capturing a gold,” says Barden.

“Dr. Barden’s innovative research has already resulted in better approaches to analyse swimmer’s performance and the creation of the recently announced High Performance Training, Applied Learning and Research Centre at the University of Regina will provide even more opportunities for attracting and developing elite athletes and for developing applied sports research at the University,” says Dr. Harold Riemer, Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology.

Innovation for Gold provides support and leadership in applied sport research through Own the Podium, an initiative of the Federal Government to achieve excellence at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  The Innovation for Gold initiative is supported through significant contributions from Sport Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Olympic Foundation, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and Corporate Canada.


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