Humans have long envied fish their ability to breathe underwater. A few extreme athletes trained in the sport of freediving—in which divers swim underwater or perform aquatic feats on a single breath—have been able to hold their breath for more than 20 minutes. (The current world record is held by Croatian free diver Budimir Šobat, who held his breath while staying underwater for 24 minutes, 11 seconds in February 2018.) But that’s not breathing underwater.
So envious are we, in fact, that it shouldn't surprise us that there have been songs written about this elusive phenomenon.
Today, the United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming has decided to punish Olympian Ryan Lochte for the scandal which erupted after he alleged that he––and fellow Olympic swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen––were the victims of a violent robbery in Rio de Janeiro after leaving a party on August 14. Authorities later deemed the claims to be false. Both organizations announced they would impose a 10-month suspension on Lochte, barring him from domestic and international national swim team competitions through June 30, 2017. Lochte will be unable to compete in the 2017 national championships and his punishment disqualifies him from competing in the 2017 FINA World Championships. Conger, Bentz and Feigen received four-month suspensions.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Stanford University swimmer Brock Allen Turner to six months in jail for the rape of an unconscious woman, has asked to no longer preside over criminal cases. Judge Persky’s ruling garnered him international notoriety and ignited a global conversation on privilege bias and the gross inequalities within the justice system.
Simone Manuel, 20, made Olympic history in Rio last night as the first African-American woman to win an individual gold medal in swimming. She shared her victory with Penny Oleksiak, her Canadian competitor: Both swimmers finished the women's 100-meter freestyle in the same instant, finishing the race with a time of 52.70 seconds, shattering a world record set by Australia's Cate Campbell in the semifinals only the day before. Olympic scoring rules decreed both swimmers would get a gold medal, but that there would be no silver medalist. Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom, who finished 0.29 seconds behind the winners, received the bronze medal.
Michael Phelps won his 21st gold medal, emerging victorious from the 4X200 freestyle relay, but it was the performance that won him his 20th––the 200-meter butterfly––that left viewers from around the globe talking. The 200-meter butterfly is Phelps's signature event (he placed fifth in the event in 2000 and won back to back Olympic medals in 2004 and 2008), but he endured a crushing defeat during London's 2012 Olympics when South African swimmer Chad Le Clos beat him by five-hundredths of a second. Le Clos swam in a lane adjacent to Phelps on Tuesday night, ultimately placing fourth behind Tamas Kenderesi of Hungary, the bronze medalist, and Masato Sakai, the surprise silver medalist. Phelps's winning time was 1:53:36.