Monday, July 14, 2008

If Animals Competed In The Summer Olympics: Aquatics

With the Summer Olympics coming up in 3 weeks, I thought it would be fun to see which animals would most likely win which sports events. If you visit the official Olympics Web site, you can see a list and descriptions of the sports and disciplines we will see in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Today, let's investigate which animals would win in the aquatics sports of diving, swimming, and synchronized swimming.

The anhinga would win gold in the diving competitions, with its graceful movements both in and out of water. Anhingas dive and pursue fish underwater, propelled by their feet, their wings often partly spread. Anhingas often swim with the body submerged and head and neck above the water, slowly submerging to stalk fish, hence the nickname "snakebird".

The sailfish would take the lead in the swimming races. It is the fastest animals in the water at 70 miles per hour (113 km per hour) – the same speed in the water as cheetahs attain on land.

As for synchronized swimming events, schooling fish would most certainly win. Schooling fish respond quickly to changes in the direction and speed of their neighbors. Anyone who has seen a school of fish can attest to their ability to change direction swiftly while still retaining their closely knit swimming pattern. They can move from one configuration to another and then regroup almost as one unit.

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