KNS was happy to add Dr. George Crocker as an assistant professor in 2016. He received his PhD at UC Davis in Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology then became a lecturer and a post-doctoral researcher at Cal State University San Marcos. He has published scientific papers about how multiple factors i.e. hypoxia, carbon monoxide and impaired gas exchange, interact to affect oxygen transport and aerobic capacity.
Dr. Crocker is also an elite athlete who frequently competes in triathlons (don't believe it? just ask him what is VO2max is). At Cal State LA, he has begun a new line of research that perfectly aligns with his enthusiasm for exercise. It involves a recently purchased piece that was installed in the pool area over the Summer.
What is a swim flume?
A swim flume is basically a treadmill for swimmers. It is analogous to a stationary bicycle for cyclists or a treadmill for runners. The flume allows us to control the flow rate of the water while the subject swims and stays in the same place. The swim flume enables the use of stationary scientific equipment to collect data in our participants while they swim.
What will you use it for?
The swim flume will be used to precisely control a swimmer’s pace while measuring their rate of energy expenditure by collecting their exhaled air.
What kinds of research are you interested in and how is the swim flume involved in that?
I am interested in understanding the factors that affect endurance exercise performance, specifically in swimming. The swim flume will allow us to measure a swimmer’s rate of energy expenditure and calculate their energetic cost of swimming a given distance. Unlike running or bicycling, swimmers must move through water, a fluid that is 700-800x denser than air. Therefore, changes to someone’s swimming stroke may have greater effects on their energetic cost and endurance performance compared to changes in someone’s running or cycling mechanics.
What kind of data will you collect from the swim flume?
We will collect a swimmer’s expired air and from that determine their rates of oxygen consumption and energy expenditure. The swim flume allows us to control the swimmer’s pace more precisely. We can then determine the amount of energy needed to cover a given distance. This will be used when comparing the energy cost of different swimming speeds, different strokes, different stroke rates, or the use of hand paddles, buoys, or swim fins.
What are the first studies you'll do?
If you look at world record performances you will notice that the average pace (for running or swimming) gets slower as the events get longer. We are going to compare this average pace vs. completion time relationship between pool and flume swimming. This will provide a foundation for comparing data collected in the flume to performance in the pool.
What do you enjoy most about research?
I enjoy research because it gives an opportunity to mentor, teach, and learn from my students as well as the freedom to explore my own interests.