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    Applied Measurements Helping to Support British Swimmers

    Propulsive force measured of British swimmers using Applied Measurements load cells.
    Supporting a collaborative project by British Swimming, English Institute of Sport and University of Brighton.

    The Challenge

    University of Brighton PhD candidate Ben Scott wanted to know the capacity of front crawl and backstroke swimmers to generate propulsive force and the relationship of this with short-distance race performance. This project was designed to help inform the decision making of coaches at British Swimming.

    They needed a high accuracy load cell that was guaranteed to function underwater for long periods. Plus, they wanted to explore the results on the computer during and after the tests. 


    The in-line submersible load cell was chosen due to its adaptability, high accuracy, high frequency and because of its waterproofed functionality.

    Ben Scott | PhD Candidate | Physiologist
    British Swimming | Brighton University | English Institute of Sport
    DDEN used in EIS and British Swimming Application

    A tethered swimming rig was designed to assess propulsive force. Applied Measurements DDEN submersible load cell was incorporated to measure force and a DSCUSB strain gauge digitiser was used to convert the signal.

    They chose the DDEN in-line submersible load cell due to its adaptability, high accuracy, high frequency, and waterproofed functionality – a rare feature for strain gauges essential in this type of work.

    To assess propulsive force, they asked the swimmers to complete a 30-second all-out sprint while tethered to the start block by a length of inelastic dyneema rope.

    Using a combination of Matlab and PowerBI, data collected from the DDEN load cell was subsequently analysed to reveal key metrics such as peak propulsive force, average propulsive force, percentage drop off, rate of force development and impulse.

    DDEN In-Line Submersible Load Cell


    High Accuracy

    • Better than ±0.15% Accuracy (0.05% Typical)
    • Capacities: 0-50N up to 0-50kN
    • Fully Submersible: IP68 to 10m
    • ‘O’ Ring Sealing

    Applied Measurements DDEN submersible load cell is ideal for tension and compression measurement in underwater applications. Plus, thanks to its ‘O’ ring sealing, long term reliability underwater is guaranteed up to 10 metres depth, making it perfect for British Swimming’s application.

    When teamed with the DSCUSB digital interface, the load cell’s high accuracy of better than ±0.15% of the rated capacity delivers high-speed, precise readings direct to your PC for later analysis.

    DSCUSB – USB Load Cell Interface

    DSCUSB USB interface connected to laptop (laptop NOT included)


    • High Speed: 100 Readings/Second max.
    • Simple USB Connection
    • View the Results Instantly with the FREE Downloadable Software
    • High Stability with 1 part in 200,000 resolution

    We provided British Swimming with a DSCUSB strain gauge signal digitiser to convert the submersible load cell’s signal to a digital USB serial output.  The interface plugs directly into the PC and requires no additional power supply to run. The DSCUSB digitiser utilises the ASCII protocol and features high resolution to 1 in 200,000, 7-point sensor linearisation and delivers high speed to 100 readings/second.

    Call Our UK Based Technical Experts

    We are really proud to have been able to support British Swimming with this innovative research project in collaboration with the English Institute of Sport and University of Brighton.

    Written by Wendy Jeffery, Assistant for Sales & Marketing, in June 2022.

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