Friday, February 03, 2006

Fluid Dynamics and Body Shape

Last post I mentioned a small, dark skinned girl that I saw swimming several years ago. She was as fast and effortless a swimmer as I have ever seen. As luck would have it, today I saw her when I was coming in to the pool for my workout. She was on "dry land" as some of us call the pool deck - not swimming as she was last time I saw her. She was polite and said hello. I noted she seemed to be of Indian (Asian) descent, was small boned and lanky - not tall, but not short either. She was very thin, had almost no chest in the feminine sense and little in the way of hips. Her shoulders were small as well. In fact, the distance from neck to the tip of her shoulders was much smaller than your average woman. I don't mention this out of derision. No, I believe it may be part of her swimming secret. Despite her lack of muscle and fat (for floating), she made up for it with something else - minimal fluid friction. She was almost shaped like a spear or a dart. Throw a spear into water straight on and watch what happens. Initially it speeds through the water like a rocket, going further than you might expect with minimal applied force. It slows most apparently, only when side forces start influencing the trajectory. In future posts I am going to discuss further about this facet - what I am discovering about fluid dynamics and swimming - with other examples. This is but one real-life example of how shape can influence outcomes. It is but one exciting discovery I have found.



  2. This is actually quite helpful, but can you go a little more in depth over this subject? I'm having trouble finding websites and inexpensive books over the subject of fluid dynamics, specifically dealing with different angles of triangles.


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