Breaking swimming world records: how easy?

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Swimmers broke 25 Olympic records at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, but the use of advanced speed suits led to a ban by FINA before the 2012 Olympics. The previous records still stand, and Olympic swimmers also shave their bodies for reduced drag and increased sensitivity to water. Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history.

Records are said to be made to be broken, but when they’re Olympic records, you might expect it to be pretty tough. This didn’t appear to be the case at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, when swimmers set records in waves, eventually culminating in a staggering 25 new scores, which doesn’t even include records that were broken only to be broken again during the same competition. As impressive as the performance was, the Olympic governing body saw something in the water that didn’t exactly float its boat: speed suits. Advanced technology has allowed swimwear manufacturers to create new gear that dramatically reduces drag, helped increase speed, and repel water. The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) was not very pleased and banned the wearing of one-piece suits before the 2012 Olympics in London. Suddenly, the records still stood at the end of the Games. As for the previous records set with the fast suits, FINA has decided to leave all 40 of them standing, possibly for a long time to come.

Entering the bathroom of things:

Olympic swimmers who shave their bodies not only reduce drag but also gain sensitivity to water, allowing them to fit in the pool while competing.
Olympic-sized swimming pools hold 660,000 gallons of water, or the equivalent of 9,400 typical bathtubs.
American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history, with 28 medals, 23 of them gold.

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