Question: What Makes Michael Phelps Such a Great Swimmer?
At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Michael Phelps won eight gold medals. He has set the record and the standard for greatness. A lot of people are asking if he is the greatest Olympian ever. I do not know if Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever, but I do know that he had an ergonomic advantage over everyone else in the pool.
Answer: So what makes Michael Phelps such a great swimmer? He has the anthropometrics of the perfect swimmer. His body is perfect for swimming with both speed and endurance.
- At 6’ 4” Phelps has the length in the pool he needs
- An arm span of 6’ 7” gives him incredible pulling power in the water
- He has the torso of a 6’ 8” man that aids his reach
- Phelps’ torso is hydrodynamic (low drag) being long and thin and triangular shaped
- He has the legs of a 6’ tall man giving him a stouter kick, power in the turn and a hydrodynamic lower half
- Phelps’ hands are huge and can grab a lot of water
- His feet are even larger (size 14) and act as a flipper
- Plus Michael Phelps is double jointed which lets him whip his arms, legs and feet through a greater range of motion than most
Michael Phelps has a great physical talent for swimming. But let's see him try gymnastics.