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April 15, 2013

ULM graduate student Christopher Myers makes waves with swimming research

Disabled veteran Christopher Myers's proudest moment as a student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe will come on May 11, when he receives his M.S. in Exercise Physiology.

His degree is a culmination of hard work and research—research that has garnered the attention of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Dr. Lisa Colvin, ULM Professor of Kinesiology, said of Myers, "His continued work in fluid dynamics and swimming economy makes him a leader in the field, as no research has been done in this area … I am proud to have been his major professor and guide."

Myers's studies have propelled him to success in his research field.

His thesis "The Calculation of Torque Generated by a Swimmer's Arm During the Free-Style Swim Stroke" recently won the graduate oral presentation award for the College of Education and Human Development in the ULM Student Research Symposium.

His thesis sought to create a new tool for swim coaches to measure a swimmer's strength and efficiency, particularly for use in triathlon coaching. "I chose to look at the force a swimmer creates while swimming," said Myers.

"This is an absolute number. To put it in very basic terms, the higher the amount of force a swimmer makes, the faster a swimmer will swim."

Even more recently, the American College of Sports Medicine accepted his thesis for presentation at their convention–this will be the first time Myers has presented research nationally.

In 1997, Myers enlisted in the Army as a combat medic.

He applied to the United States Military Academy at West Point after three years, graduated in 2004, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Military Police Corps.

He served two tours in Iraq with the 127th Military Police Company before becoming company commander of his own military police company.

In 2012, severe arthritis in both knees–due to the stresses of deployments and multiple reconstructive knee surgeries–caused him to be retired medically.

"My time as a military police officer taught me the importance of physical fitness," said Myers, who also serves as a lab coordinator in ULM's Human Performance Lab.

He trained soldiers for deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, requiring them to operate at high levels of physical fitness, but found problems with the structure of the current training program.

"I eventually want to work with the Department of Defense to revamp the Army's physical fitness program," he said.

"This is why I chose to study clinical exercise physiology."

In the fall, Myers will pursue his Ph.D. in Kinesiology at Florida State University, as he continues with his ground-breaking research.

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