Minimizing Drag

Theme: Science Behind The Olympics
Award: Runner-up
Photographer: Jackson Algiers
I have been swimming since I was five. Swimming is my favorite sport. When my Physics teacher told us we had to enter one, extra-curricular, science activity, I looked online for photo contests and science fairs that were related to swimming. I found the YS Journal Photography Competition of 2012. I decided to take a picture of a swimmer in the water in the streamline position knowing that the reason swimmers are told to do the streamline is to minimize drag. The category for my age was “Science Behind the Olympics.” In the picture, the swimmer has pushed off of the wall and is gliding through the water. She is not very efficient. A person looses 91 percent of their energy in the water through drag. In order to find the drag or resistance, you use the equation, R=(1/2)DpAv^2. R is resistance, D is the constant for the viscosity of the fluid, p is the density of the fluid, A is the surface area of the body traveling through the fluid, and v is the velocity of the traveling body. A swimmer can minimize their drag by tightening up and making the shape of a torpedo. They do this by putting one hand over the other with their arms above their head. They squeeze their ears with their biceps and keep their legs straight with their toes pointed. In the swimming world, this is known as the “streamline position.” It is assumed at the start and after each turn while swimming. There was no editing done to this photo.