CLOSE
Getty Images
Getty Images

Is Rio's Olympic Pool Helping Swimmers Go Faster?

Getty Images
Getty Images

For the past week at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the best swimmers in the world have been racing to make history, and to grab a medal for themselves and their country along the way. While the athletes are undoubtedly incredible, they may have to share some of that credit with the pool itself, according to Sports Illustrated.

Experts and athletes agree that the Rio pool is a "fast pool," which is a reference to how it was designed and how those design elements benefit the swimmers. "A fast pool typically has at least three meters of depth to it," University of California’s women’s swimming team coach Teri McKeever told Sports Illustrated. "The deeper the pool is the better, because the splash or the turbulence and everything takes longer to get down to the bottom, and then it doesn’t ricochet back up into the swimmers." During the London 2012 Olympics, NBC ran a video segment about the fast pool at the London Aquatics Center as a part of its Science of the Summer Olympics: Engineering In Sports series, calling it "one of the most technologically advanced pools ever built." Four years prior, announcer and swimming legend Rowdy Gaines called the pool in Beijing "the fastest pool in the world." The pool in Rio is expected to produce just as many records as the one in London, and it's all by design.

Depth isn't the only thing that matters. Sports Illustrated reports that things like buffer lanes, lane lines, and gutters all help to break up waves and reduce ripples and turbulence, the reduction of which provides clearer sailing for the swimmers. Changes to swimsuits and the atmosphere of the venue are also said to play a role, and the athletes themselves still have to be at the top of their game to beat out the competition. "Yes, you want a good facility," coach McKeever told SI, "but also I think it’s the competition, it’s the emotion and everything else that helps with those world records."

[h/t Sports Illustrated via TIME]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Dan Bell
arrow
Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

nextArticle.image_alt|e
The North Face
arrow
Design
The North Face's New Geodesic Dome Tent Will Protect You in 60 mph Wind
The North Face
The North Face

You can find camping tents designed for easy set-up, large crowds, and sustainability, but when it comes to strength, there’s only so much abuse a foldable structure can take. Now, The North Face is pushing the limits of tent durability with a reimagined design. According to inhabitat, the Geodome 4 relies on its distinctive geodesic shape to survive wind gusts approaching hurricane strength.

Instead of the classic arching tent structure, the Geodome balloons outward like a globe. It owes its unique design to the five main poles and one equator pole that hold it in place. Packed up, the gear weighs just over 24 pounds, making it a practical option for car campers and four-season adventurers. When it’s erected, campers have floor space measuring roughly 7 feet by 7.5 feet, enough to sleep four people, and 6 feet and 9 inches of space from ground to ceiling if they want to stand. Hooks attached to the top create a system for gear storage.

While it works in mild conditions, the tent should really appeal to campers who like to trek through harsher weather. Geodesic domes are formed from interlocking triangles. A triangle’s fixed angles make it one of the strongest shapes in engineering, and when used in domes, triangles lend this strength to the overall structure. In the case of the tent, this means that the dome will maintain its form in winds reaching speeds of 60 mph. Meanwhile, the double-layered, water-resistant exterior keeps campers dry as they wait out the storm.

The Geodome 4 is set to sell for $1635 when it goes on sale in Japan this March. In the meantime, outdoorsy types in the U.S. will just have to wait until the innovative product expands to international markets.

[h/t inhabitat]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios