Myth Busters (2009 Season) - Episode 118 – Swimming in Syrup - Swimming in Syrup

Swimming in Syrup

Myth statement Status Notes
It is possible to swim as fast through syrup as through water. Plausible Adam and Jamie began by digging two long trenches and lining them with plastic sheeting to serve as swimming pools. They filled one with water and the other with syrup made from 750 pounds (340 kg) of guar gum and 10,000 US gallons (38,000 L) of water. Adam and Jamie each swam three lengths in the water to establish their benchmark average times, then did the same in the syrup. Adam's time in syrup was 28% slower than in water; Jamie tired quickly and withdrew from further testing.

Thinking that the high viscosity of the syrup may have affected the results, Adam and Jamie replaced it with a mixture that was only slightly more viscous than water. Adam again swam three lengths in each pool and found that his syrup time was now only 2.8% slower than in water. A third batch, this one about as viscous as maple syrup, was prepared for both Adam and Olympic gold medalist swimmer Nathan Adrian. Adam and Nathan swam 5.4% and 9% slower here than in water, respectively (though Adam and Jamie decided to disregard Nathan's results, since he was so familiar with swimming in water that he lost his technique in the syrup and thus could not deliver a consistent performance). Based on the results for light and medium syrup, which they considered to be within the margin of error for their testing method, Adam and Jamie declared the myth plausible.

Read more about this topic:  Myth Busters (2009 Season), Episode 118 – Swimming in Syrup

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