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In competitive swimming, first and second place are often separated by tens of seconds. if one of the swimmers covered themselves in soap would this release the surface tension behind them enough to propel them that bit faster and release the surface tension enough to make them go that 10th of a second faster?
It might also make it much harder to stay above surface ! Someone ready to give it a try ?
Would an increase in viscosity not result in less turbulence and hence less drag ? It might well increase the propelling effect of the movements, too.
Swimming in syrup is as easy as water You can swim just as fast in a pool of gloop. Michael Hopkin Water: good for swimming in but no better than syrup.© Punchstock It's a question that has taxed generations of the finest minds in physics: do humans swim slower in syrup than in water? And since you ask, the answer's no. Scientists have filled a swimming pool with a syrupy mixture and proved it.
creating a gloopy liquid twice as thick as waterThat's not always the case. Below a certain threshold of speed and size, viscous drag becomes the dominant force, making gloopy fluids are more difficult to swim through. Had Cussler done his experiment on swimming bacteria instead of humans, he would have recorded much slower times in syrup than in water.