Monday, November 10, 2008

Why are sharks able to swim so fast?

They create drag to reduce drag much like the tripwires on the TYR Aquashift were created to do. From ABC News: "...Shortfin mako sharks can shoot through the ocean at up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometres an hour). Now a trick that helps them to reach such speeds has been discovered – the sharks can raise their scales to create tiny wells across the surface of their skin, reducing drag like the dimples on a golf ball. ..." [Link]

Wiki on TYR Aquashift tripwires: "... The tripwires or "turbulators" are placed at several spots along the length of the suit including the chest, where a set of four tripwires runs across the whole chest, the buttocks (where a single tripwire is placed), the shoulders, and, if a swimmer has an Aquashift swim cap there is a trip wire on his or her head. Normally water hits the head and shoulders and immediately breaks, creating turbulence. However, with the addition of the tripwire, the water is forced to keep its flow consistent along the entire surface of the swimmer. The water flow is disrupted strategically so that it will break and reassemble, thereby keeping the flow stable across the entire body. The tripwires are made to be exactly congruent in height around the entire body, in an attempt to make them as effective as possible at disrupting the water flow. A patent is currently pending on the tripwires used in this suit. The suit was the co-invention of University at Buffalo professors Dr. David Pendergast, Dr. Joe Mollendorf, and Head Swimming Coach Budd Termin. The subjects for the study consisted of the men's and women's swimming team members at the University at Buffalo. ..." [Link]

I think this research validates the technology on TYR's part and I find it amusing that FINA ruled tripwire technology illegal but the LZR and it's analogs are okay?


Scott said...

You're just taunting me with all this info on the new swimsuit approvals aren't you Tony? FINA rules specifically mention "projections" as being illegal. How could a tripwire designed to create turbulence not run afoul of that rule? In Canada we impeached the President of Masters Swimming Canada for attending a conference of the World Aquatic Masters Organization when it was trying to set up as a rival to FINA. I seriously think we should consider the same for FINA's board when the spray settles on this issue.

Scott said...

Sorry, I misread the post thinking that while FINA had made tripwire technology illegal they were allowing it to be used in a new suit. In fact the TYR Aquashift was introduced in 2004 and was officially banned after Athens (I started back in swimming in late 2006 and so didn't put your comment in context). In so far as the rule applies to the new technology it could be considered different since it works through compression - the opposite of the extensions the "tripwire" technology utilized. On the other hand I've always argued that if you're compressing only certain parts of the suit logic dictates other parts must now project outwards. Consequently my position right from the beginning was that the new suits also had to be ruled illegal.

Tony Austin said...

Hey, did you hear about the new suit made out of a new helium fabric? ;-)

Scott said...

:>o Amazing what they can do with inert, monatomic elements isn't it? You would think that the suit would be rather uncomfortably cold when it came to putting it on though, wouldn't you? ;>)

Tony Austin said...

You are so f-ing smart, Scott. It never occurred to me how compressed a helium fabric would have to be and at what temp as well. I guess I couldn't fool ya' ;-)

When I get to the blocks I am always racing this fat old guy with a big belly, and no muscle tone. He is the same height as me, the same age as me, he looks exactly like me and has the same name even. Only difference is that I'm not fat as he is and I don't feel old yet. My "game" or how I approach swimming is to beat that guy every time I race.

When I get to the blocks, I am breathing quickly, my heart is racing, and when the bell goes off I am hoping that he doesn't catch me or even beat me.

Unfortunately, I literally have a panic attack every time we race each other in the 100 free and if you look at the individual results at USMS website under my name, you will see he hasn't caught me yet.

I am convince that the purpose of our emotions is to inspire us into action and that includes grief for internal reflection and bliss as a reward.

So far this SCM season I have refused to race that "fat old guy" in the 100 SCM free because I can't take the stress but we will race each other at SCM Championships in December and during SCY season. I will be wearing a speedsuit as my "quasi-xanax med" when we meet again and that is probably why Masters swimmers buy speedsuits.

Scott said...

Lesson #1 – when somebody’s repartee uncovers a previously unrealized entendre don’t express admiration; simply chuckle knowingly and complement the individual on being one of the few who understand the subtle depths of your wit. ;>)

Personally speaking I’m not a great racer either as I get too nervous before an event. The second time I raced the 100 back after a somewhat disappointing initial attempt I tried to psyche myself up by imagining I was getting into the pool for my first Olympic race ... and completely fell apart. The enormity of the ‘occasion’ completely overwhelmed me. Now, just as people have to restrain themselves from teasing a sore tooth, I have to fight off the tendency to think about the Olympics before every race. It’s amusing to have nerves in what to all intents and purposes is a recreational sport – but they are definitely there. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

On the other hand I won’t be getting one of the new suits. When I first began in masters swimming I had almost complete contempt for its “competitiveness”. I haven’t changed that opinion much. But I have learned there are almost as many different reasons for why individuals race as there are masters competitors. There are only a few Erik Hochsteins out there who can actually do a credible job; everyone else are simply racing themselves. So there we agree. But if I have to buy a suit to improve it won’t happen, because I’m only doing this to measure how far I’ve come. Throwing in a curveball and using a tech doping swimsuit just messes up my comparisons. Besides, if I take 4% off my PBs I’m still left with a ‘who cares’ time. Why spend the money? I could always buy a boat if I wanted to go really fast in the water. It would be pretty well the only way.