post-foo The Thoughts and Sayings Of Baba Doodlius: Water on the Brain

Monday, August 11, 2008

Water on the Brain

Howdy folks. I am posting today not to reveal a Mystery of the Universe, but rather because I have a Mystery I cannot definitively solve. This Mystery is so confounding that without concrete evidence I honestly can say that I have exactly zero idea what the solution to it is.

This Mystery concerns that little event which you humans periodically hold which you call the Olympic Games. Not being a human and also not being of a particularly competitive nature, I would normally not have a huge amount of interest in such activities, but a human friend of mine told me today that there was something I should see. He pointed me the following web page containing an interesting story and accompanying video clip:

Men's 4 x 100 Meter Freestyle Relay

If you haven't seen this race, I have to suggest that you do so. Not being an aquatic bird, I don't swim at all, and I have no particular desire to watch humans swimming most of the time, but I took my friend's advice and watched the video of this race and I have to say that my appreciation of human accomplishments grew dramatically in the 3 minutes or so the race took to complete.

In case you didn't watch the race or read about it, here's the Reader's Digest version:

This relay race, with each 4-member team swimming a total of 400 meters, was completed by the winning team from the United States in 3 minutes, 8.24 seconds. The second place team from France finished in 3 minutes 8.32 seconds. That's a scant 0.08 seconds separating first and second place. The previous world record was 3 minutes, 12.23 seconds. So both of the first two finishers beat the previous world record by nearly 4 seconds.

World records are generally very, very hard to eclipse. This is the way it ought to be, really - nobody in the history of history has ever done activity X as fast as that, so going even faster should be very difficult. Breaking one by four seconds in a fairly short race is an accomplishment of Herculean proportions! The thing with this particular swimming race was, not only did the first two teams break the old world record (by a huge margin), but a total of five teams broke it! That's' right, even the team that finished in fifth place was faster than anybody who ever swam it before. At four swimmers per team, that's a grand total of 20 humans who were faster than anybody had been in history! Even the team that finished in eighth place was fast enough to have won the Gold Medal in the Olympics of four years ago!

So what's the Mystery of the Universe in all this, the one that even the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius cannot solve? Here it is:

How the heck can all those guys get so damn fast all of a sudden, and all at the same time?

C'mon people, it's almost embarrassing how seemingly easy it was to break that world record! From the perspective of someone unfamiliar with that whole 'swimming' thing, I'd have to say that if I had tossed a bunch of deformed chimpanzees into the pool next to those guys they would have had at least an outside shot at breaking the old record.

I have a couple of theories about the cause of this huge performance improvement, neither of which I can prove without proper laboratory analysis:

1) Swimmers are taking fish oil dietary supplements, and they are beginning to turn into fish themselves. This would explain why they're all wearing those full-body swim suits nowadays - they're hiding the scales growing on their legs.

Is Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones hiding a nice crop of scales under that suit?

What with security the way it is at the Olympics right now, I can't get close enough to any of the athletes to check for scales and gills.

2) The entire pool is doped with EPO. I tried to get a sample of the water to test this theory, but about 500 Chinese guards chased me out of the arena. (My Bird Fu may be the best, but 500 to 1 odds is just a little too much to overcome.)

So I am at an impasse. Without evidence I cannot solve this Mystery, and I just know the solution would probably blow my mind and the minds of all you readers. Whatever the truth may be, I would just like to say congratulations to the entire human race for putting on such a captivating display of athletic prowess. Who knows - someday you may sprout wings, and when that happens I know a few Peregrine falcons who'd love to challenge you to a fly-off!


Gorilla Bananas said...

It sounds like a time dilation effect caused by a small black hole near the pool. Check the place for missing insects.

The Topiary Cow said...

Cow's puny intellectual theory is 'cowed' by the supreme knowledge of GB, but must still offer it up:

Maybe the coaches have all gotten better at figuring out what works and what doesn't, making guys go faster in the pool?

Cow must, simply Must mention, though, that Baba has drawn her attention to a previously unnoticed anomaly, and kudos to the great Baba for this.


AZZITIZZ said...

Maybe the stop watches four years ago were slower!
Could be the batteries?
Could be they weren't wound up fully?
Maybe the water is thinner these days, who knows?


Baba Doodlius said...

Gorilla: That's a good thought, GB, but unfortunately I did not detect that telltale "wokka-wokka" sound that would have revealed a local black hole.

Cow: That's very insightful. Unfortunately, it's way too mundane to work on a blog such as this one. I'm leaning toward "pool full of performance enhancing substances."

Azzy: All good ideas. Unfortunately I'm way too awed to investigate any of them - nowadays I just sit around watchin the events going "Oooooh, Wow!"

The Topiary Cow said...

Cow has found an article online about this very question.

Could be the laser suits designed by NASA, could be deeper and better pool, could be drugs. According to this:
LA Times Article


i beati said...

It's those 10,000 clorie meals - previously only 5,000. !!! sk

i beati said...

actually I read that there is far less turbulence this Olympics becasue the outside lanes are open 10 versus 8 and the suits particularly US are much more aero dynamically proportioned??

Poetikat said...

Have you read about Phelps's 12,000 cal. per day diet? I can't account for the record-breaking. All I know is MY country is performing abysmally and as I said to my husband, our sportcasters here have to brush up on the substandard-superlatives just keep the Canadian audience watching.


Baba Doodlius said...

Cow: The problem with newspapers is that they don't hire enough birds to do their investigative reporting.

I beati: He's OK as long as he waits an hour after eating to get in the pool.

Poetikat: Yeah, I read that he eats a dozen pancakes, 18 eggs over easy, and a Volkswagen New Beetle every day for breakfast. By the by, what exactly is a "substandard superlative"? Would it be something like "Well that was a perfectly adequate performance!!!"?

Lydia said...

Hello Baba doodlius,
I haven't been following the Olympics at all, because I never been into sports. I guess I'm a bit old fashioned in that way, I always thought to let my man watch a certain sport if he was into it, while I went off and did some girly things. Though, I find it amazing how strong some athletes are and find myself in awe at times, because of what they can achieve both physically and mentally.
Wishing you a very pleasant day,

Delirious said...

Oh Oh! I know this one! I actually had the same question for the track events too. Then I noticed that all of the swimmers, and all of the runners are TALLER than ever before! Michael Phelps is like 6'5" or is the jamaican runner. Simply put...they have longer legs and arms. Just like when I was a girl and couldn't keep up with my tall father's long legs, no one else can keep up with these GIANTS! (Try racing a condor!)

Baba Doodlius said...

Lydia: Different strokes. I'll bet none of those Olympic athletes make yummy stuff like you do!

Delirious: Hmmm... so basically you have to be tall to be a successful athlete now, eh? Let's see, I'm only about 23 cm head-to-talons. thanks for spoiling my Olympic dreams!

Linda and her Twaddle said...

All that running around and swimming in big blue pools. Really, isn't there something better for people to do, like have a cup of tea?

Marja said...

Hi Baab I've got an award for you. Fly over to my site

Wheelchair India said...

I really appreciated your post, This would really provide the great information. Thanks for the post.
Wheelchair Cost

Keep Posting:)