Fastest Man Alive … Underwater

Siobhan Parish, George Harwood, Patrick Conboy


If based purely on modern records, Jamaican Sprinter Usain Bolt is the fastest man to have ever lived. In Berlins 2009 World Championships, he recorded a time of 9.58 s over 100 m with a negligible tail wind of 0.9 ms-1, giving him an average velocity of 10.44 ms-1. However while this feat was performed on land, he would require more power to accomplish such a speed under water. This paper models the amount of extra power required to run at this same velocity, at a depth of 500 m in the Atlantic Ocean. The additional power required to overcome drag forces from the water was calculated as 728 horsepower.


Sports; Physics; Fluid dynamics; Drag; Usain Bolt

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