Very few people associate Ben Franklin with anything but electricity and being a founding father of the United States. But, did you know he invented swimming fins? He made the first pair out of wood.
Swimming works out the body and offers great cardio vascular exercise since you are working with water resistance, which is over ten times that of air. It is ideal exercise for physical therapy and rehabilitation because it is low impact exercise. And if you are in an Olympic size pool, you are in about 850,000 gallons of water.
Here’s some pool fun facts:
- President Gerald Ford installed the first outdoor swimming pool at the White House in 1975. One year later, a pool house was built with a secret underground tunnel that lets the president’s family and guests go to the pool without going outside.
- American’s use about 190 billion gallons of water to fill their pools. The sun evaporates 13 million gallons of water per hour from US swimming pools. Niagara Falls could fill every pool in America in three days.
- White Star Lines was the first cruise ship company with a swimming pool on the Adriatic. That was in 1907. That was the same year that the Racquet Club of Philadelphia boasted about having one of the nation’s FIRST modern above ground swimming pool. The Titanic was the first ship to have both a pool AND a gym. But we luckily missed that voyage.
- In 1984, the US Olympic Committee recognized synchronized swimming as a sport. Synchronized swimming had been made popular during the forties and fifties when actress Esther Williams starred in numerous movies that featured synchronization. They were called “Aqua Musicals” and YouTube has some amazing rolls of Ms. Williams in action. Swimming itself has been part of the Olympics since 1896.
- Sharks are the fastest swimmers though they are really not very structurally suited for swimming. A brand called “Speedo” created a fabric called Fast Skin that was designed around the concept of the shark’s natural skin. Wearing a Speedo has been proven to increase results in competitive swimming and reduce resistance in the water. It was 1935 before America allowed topless swimsuits for men.
- And speaking of Speedo … what about the Bikini? This suit is named after a nuclear test site in the Pacific called Bikini Atoll. The bikini was invented in Paris.
- The average person swims in a pool six times a year. Yet, more than half of the people in the United States can’t swim. Swimming lessons are readily available for adults and kids and a skill that is good to have for many reasons.
- Swimming burns more calories than running (557 calories an hour) or biking. (483 calories an hour). An hour of swimming burns anywhere from 493 calories per hour for a slower swimmer to as much as 784 calories at a faster pace.
- The turbopump on the Space Shuttle’s main engine is powerful enough to drain an average-sized swimming pool in 25 seconds.
- About 65% of Americans do not know how to swim. This is unfortunate in light of the fact that swimming is great exercise and strengthens the heart and lungs. Swimming is one of a few exercises that requires you use every muscle in your body. Plus, knowing how to swim can save your life in an accident.
- Even though you are in the water, you need to drink water to stay hydrated while you swim. There are numerous reported cases of dehydration from swimming. Swimmers sweat in the pool just as much as any land athlete.
- More than any other nation, swimming is a huge sport in Australia, and you can walk along any beach and strike up good conversation about swimming for enjoyment or competitively.
- Marco Polo is the most popular swimming pool game.
- The cannon ball is the most popular way to jump into the pool.
There you go. Some pool fun facts. Now it’s time to go for a swim.