Flow visualisation in swimming practice using small air bubbles

Josje van Houwelingen, Rudie P.J. Kunnen, Willem van de Water, Ad P.C. Holten, Gert Jan F. van Heijst, Herman J.H. Clercx (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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A non-harmful system to visualize the flow around an entire swimmer in a regular swimming pool is developed. Small air bubble tracers are injected through the bottom of the swimming pool in a prescribed measurement area. The motion of these bubbles, which will be largely induced by the swimmer’s motion, is captured by a camera array. The two-dimensional velocity field of the water at arbitrary planes of interest can be resolved using a refocussing method in combination with an optical visualisation method, based on particle image velocimetry, which is commonly used in fluid dynamics research. Using this technique, it is possible to visualize coherent flow structures produced during swimming; it is demonstrated here for the dolphin kick.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Number of pages8
JournalSports Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Dolphin kick
  • Flow visualisation
  • Swimming
  • Synthetic aperture PIV
  • Vortices


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