• Question: would it everbe possible to swim as fast as a speed boat?

    Asked by dukesta to Martin, Jenni on 13 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Jenni Tilley

      Jenni Tilley answered on 13 Jun 2011:

      Depends what speed the speed boat is going and if you mean unaided, but I think it’s fairly unlikely!

      That said, swimmers (and other athletes) are getting faster with the help of scientists…

      The polyurethane swim suits introduced in 2008 were *SO EFFECTIVE* that at the 2009 World Aquatic Championships, 43 world records were set across 22 events. These suits improved performance so much that in January 2010 FINA (international governing body of swimming) deemed them unsporting and banned them from all subsequent competitions. Do you think this was a fair decision?

      Before 1900 is was hard to imagine that a man could run 100m in less than 10s, but now even double amputees are close to breaking the 10s barrier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Pistorius).

      I think you’l agree from these examples that scientific developments play a key role in increasing speed, but I think even this has its limits… In theory there is a practical limit to how fast humans can swim and run unaided, it’s hard to define what this limit is, and how much of a role science should play in pushing those limits – where would YOU define where to draw the line between scientists giving a helping hand and giving an unfair advantage?!

      Who knows though – maybe one day