Swimming and Diving

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How long can you tread water, swim, or hold your breath?  What’s the fastest swimming living creature?  Here are some interesting sites and videos that have the answers, and you’ll never even get wet. Remember that all watersports, especially diving, can be dangerous, so never swim or dive alone.


1. What animal is the world’s fastest swimmer?  At livescience.com http://bit.ly/1korc9a we learn that award goes to a 10 foot long sailfish, who can swim about the same speed most cars go down Garden State Parkway — about 68 miles per hour! Think you could out-swim a sailfish? If you put this speedy fish in a pool to swim a 200-meter race, he could do it in less than 10 seconds. Olympic gold-medalist Michael Phelps takes 1.42 minutes for the same distance at 4.7 miles per hour.

2. What is the sport “free diving” about? At http://www.aidainternational.org you can learn about athletes who compete to see how far they can dive under the water on a single breath. The world record is nearly three football fields deep. This sport can be very dangerous.

3. What is deepest free dive ever? Meet Austrian diver Herbert Nitsch http://www.herbertnitsch.com who can dive over 200 meters straight down which means holding his breath for almost 9 minutes!  At http://bit.ly/1un7xKQ you can read about the 5 deepest free dives ever completed.

4. How long can a human hold his or her breath? At http://bit.ly/1nCizXw you can learn about Croatian freediver Goran Colak who broke the Guinness World Record by holding his breath for 22 minutes and 30 seconds. But he cheated, sort of. He didn’t use regular air. He did something very dangerous and took a deep gulp of pure oxygen.

5. Who made the longest swim without flippers? According to the Guinness Book of World Records (per this obituary http://bit.ly/XnGmB7) Veljko Rogošić holds this record with a record breaking 50 hour swim, without flippers.

A RIDDLE: Two people fall off a cruise ship in the ocean. One is fat and the other is skinny. How long will they be able to tread water?  According to http://bit.ly/1oQpxsI the answer for most people is about 30 minutes. The answer depends on many factors. Are you a good swimmer? Is the water cold? How much body fat do you have?  Body fat makes you float better, so a skinny person will sink faster. In a warm Caribbean sea, a person in good shape could tread water for much longer, in part because they’d be more buoyant in the salty ocean water.

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