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Olympic Swimmers

May 17, 2004
2,021
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
I normally don't post a topic unless I'm at least 95% sure of what I'm talking about - I've learned that over the years posting topics on the sail trim forum. The forum is loaded with sailors "who know their onions" about sail trim and they're quick to pick up on misinformation.

Anyway, I've been watching the Olympic swimming event and noticed the men and woman are all on the tall side - don't see any 5'9" guys like me and I wondered why and thought it might apply to the length of a boats water line exposed to water. We've all seen boats sailing close hauled and so heeled over with most of the crew hanging over the side that you can almost see the keel. I never thought that was the way to sail a boat closehauled. My C30 likes about 10* to 12 * heel closehauled. Less and more heel translates to my boat speed falling off.

I'm not a scientific guy and state that in my book -- "If you want a scientific presentation that include intricate detail, together with a complicated formulae for hull speed, wave lengths and displacement/lengths ratios plus endless verbiage then this book is not for you". With some things I really didn't know why they worked but I knew they just did.

I'm just a common seaman and country boy living in Tucson, AZ but I think there's something about the height of these swimmers that applies to sail trim. Maybe some of you scientific guys can help me out but keep it simple because I get confused easily!!
 
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Likes: jon hansen
Oct 1, 2007
1,723
Boston Whaler Super Sport Pt. Judith
I normally don't post a topic unless I'm at least 95% sure of what I'm talking about - I've learned that over the years posting topics on the sail trim forum. The forum is loaded with sailors "who know their onions" about sail trim and they're quick to pick up on misinformation.

Anyway, I've been watching the Olympic swimming event and noticed the men and woman are all on the tall side - don't see any 5'9" guys like me and I wondered why and thought it might apply to the length of a boats water line exposed to water. We've all seen boats sailing close hauled and so heeled over with most of the crew hanging over the side that you can almost see the keel. I never thought that was the way to sail a boat closehauled. My C30 likes about 10* to 12 * heel closehauled. Less and more heel translates to my boat speed falling off.

I'm not a scientific guy and state that in my book -- "If you want a scientific presentation that include intricate detail, together with a complicated formulae for hull speed, wave lengths and displacement/lengths ratios plus endless verbiage then this book is not for you". With some things I really didn't know why they worked but I knew they just did.

I'm just a common seaman and country boy living in Tucson, AZ but I think there's something about the height of these swimmers that applies to sail trim. Maybe some of you scientific guys can help me out but keep it simple because I get confused easily!!
I hink it is more related to arm and leg length, and ability to stroke more effectively.
 
Sep 25, 2008
6,236
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
Yup. You also don’t see a lot of little people (formerly referred to a midgets) playing volleyball or riding bulls at a rodeo. Side matters...
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,766
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Yup. You also don’t see a lot of little people (formerly referred to a midgets) playing volleyball or riding bulls at a rodeo. Side matters...
Size matters too. :poke:

My son was a HS state champ and swan in college, swam Olympic trials with Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in Omaha.… tall and lanky, long arms. The real fast ones have webbed toes ;-)

Greg
 
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Likes: jssailem

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,391
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Oh, and Don, they also have very broad shoulders and teeny waists.... now... there's swimming.... and there's water polo, diving and synchronized swimming... you'll find the physicality quite different between each of those watersport disciplines. Especially women's water polo... where sail trim isn't the analogy... it's about displacement, I believe. Whereas the divers have beautiful, well muscled and toned bodies, much like traditional gymnasts and the synchro swimmers are built more like rhythmic gymnasts or skaters.

If you really think about it, except for diving, I would imagine having very low body fat would be a disadvantage in watersports... muscle is heavy and dense.
 
May 17, 2004
2,021
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Oh, and Don, they also have very broad shoulders and teeny waists.... now... there's swimming.... and there's water polo, diving and synchronized swimming... you'll find the physicality quite different between each of those watersport disciplines. Especially women's water polo... where sail trim isn't the analogy... it's about displacement, I believe. Whereas the divers have beautiful, well muscled and toned bodies, much like traditional gymnasts and the synchro swimmers are built more like rhythmic gymnasts or skaters.

If you really think about it, except for diving, I would imagine having very low body fat would be a disadvantage in watersports... muscle is heavy and dense.
Joe: I hope you're doing well and staying healthy in these tough medical times. It will be interesting to see where CA goes with mask mandates.

The adult community that I live in has a swim team that does very well competing against other AZ adult communities BUT none of these senior swimmers have the shape of younger swimmers but at a lot did in their younger years. Anyway I spoke with the coach and some of the swimmers and they are like any object (including a sailboat) moving through the water. It has to do with the exact amount of surface area and reducing drag - I noticed, that like me, some of the seniors had a lot of surface area!!
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,953
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
With respect to the freestyle stroke at least, if you watch top notch swimmers their heads create a wake like a bow wave on a boat. And you'll see that their upper backs are practically dry. They are pushing the water apart in an analogous fashion to a hull moving thru the water. So I think the longer bodies will be faster just as longer waterline boats will be faster. The analogy has its limits but I enjoy watching a great swimmer move thru the water with such grace.
 
Oct 2, 2008
3,530
Pearson/ 530 Strafford, NH
So interesting, during my youth I worked as a lifeguard and got the nickname “Tugboat” because of the bow wave I’d make during swimming rescues.
 
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Likes: jssailem
May 24, 2004
6,746
CC 30 South Florida
Swimmers are lean because they burn calories faster than they eat them. Their upper torsos, arms and back muscles are developed because of the use they get in supplying most of the power. Lung capacity is obviously enhanced and must provide some buoyancy to counteract the top heaviness. Big hands and feet are an asset for pushing against the water. Have not seen many short people with big hands and feet.
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,569
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
For any Fluid Dynamics [both water and air], certain shapes matter.

The resistance to movement is called Drag.

The Energy to move in any Direction is called Thrust.

Add to that object in motion, is weight or Buoyancy.

Just like Sailboats, Swimmers have the same Science in play to guide and steer.

Steering by the Helmsman or Swimmer needs Vision set minimum course and thus maximum Speed to the Target.

So the winning Boat/Swimmer needs to optimize this Science formula...

"Minimum Drag -- Shortest Course -- Maximum Thrust -- Minimum weight"

_____

But Swimmers must add Timing to their Thrust to Drag ratio or Swimming Strokes.

Thus with Training and Experience , you win The Gold Medal.;)

Jim...
 

walt

.
Jun 1, 2007
3,440
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI Ridgway Colorado
If the race starts from blocks on the pool deck, the taller person has an immediate advantage of getting farther out in the start even before hitting the water
 
Apr 5, 2009
1,548
Catalina '88 C30 tr/bs Oak Harbor, WA
...
If you really think about it, except for diving, I would imagine having very low body fat would be a disadvantage in watersports... muscle is heavy and dense.
I think that weight and density would fall far below power-to-weight ratio. muscle provides propolsion. Fat not so much!