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How Much Work Does Michael Phelps do in the 100m Butterfly?



Michael Phelps is not only the greatest swimmer of all time, but the greatest Olympian of all time. After competing in five Olympic summer games, ( Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016) Phelps has set multiple Olympic and world records and has won 28 ' Olympic medals. 23 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze. Standing 6' 4" with a enormous 6' 7" wingspan, the man is built to swim. On television it looks like he does so much work to set his records and win medals, but how much does he really do? The answer will surprise you.

First, lets define work. W= Fd In this case we will be determining force as p/t (momentum divided by time) where p=mv

Work = force times displace

Phelps set the world record in the 100m Butterfly back in 2009 with a time of 49.82 seconds. swimming the race with and average velocity of 2 m/s. Michael weighs 194 pounds or 88 kilograms. 

Thus, p=mv 

p= (88 kg)(2 m/s) 

p= 176 kg*m/s

Michael's force is then, F=p/t

F = (176 kg*m/s)/(49.82s)

F=3.6 N

Phelps swims the first 50m then turns.

W= Fd

W= (3.6 N) (50m)= 180 J

If Michael never turned:

W= (3.6 N) (100m)= 306 J

Phelps then turns returning to where we started the race:

W= (3.6 N)(0m)= 0 J

This proves why Michael Phelps always makes what he does look easy, he does not work at all. Well done Michael. 

Image result for michael phelps

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