Swimming World Presents – Who “Shot” The Swimmers: A History of Swimming Through The Eyes of Photojournalists (Part 2)

SW February 2012 -Who Shot The Swimmers A History of Swimming Through The Eyes of Photojournalists (Part 2)
Dr. Harold Edgerton taking an early underwater photo [PHOTO CREDIT: ISHOF]

The latest issue of Swimming World Magazine
is now available for download in the Swimming World Vault!

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Who “Shot” The Swimmers: A History of Swimming Through The Eyes of Photojournalists (Part 2)

By Bruce Wigo
Photos by The International Swimming Hall of Fame

Without cameras and the photographers who have used them, the history of our sports would be nothing but printed words and fading memories. It is through the miracle of photography that the heroes and great moments of the past and present are remembered and will live on.

For most of the early years of sports photography, photographers were technically handicapped by primitive equipment, limiting photos to posed images of swimmers.

In this second part (Part 1, Jan 2021) of a series that highlights an International Swimming Hall of Fame exhibit showing the history of swimming through the eyes of the photojournalists who have covered the aquatic sports for more than 150 years, Swimming World features Harold “Doc” Edgerton.

“Don’t make me out to be an artist. I am an engineer. I am after the facts, only the facts.” —Dr. Harold Edgerton

Shortly after the 1936 Olympics in a lab in Boston, an electrical engineering professor at MIT began tinkering with equipment that would change the way science explains natural phenomena—and with it, the art of aquatic sports photography—forever.

Harold Edgerton was born in Fremont, Neb., April 6, 1903. From an early age, he was fascinated by motors and ma taking apart broken things, figuring out how they worked and fixing them. He also developed an interest in photography through an uncle, a stuchines, and he enjoyeddio photographer who taught Harold how to take, develop and print pictures while he was in high school.

After studying engineering as an undergraduate in Nebraska, Harold accepted a grant for graduate studies at MIT. It was in the early 1930s that he developed an ultra-high-speed motion picture camera that could expose as many as 6,000 to 15,000 frames per second.

When these films were projected at normal speed (24 frames per second), very high-speed events appeared—and could be studied—in extremely slow motion. He also developed a strobe that could flash light at variable speeds from 2-millionths of a second to 60 per second—all with the aim of discovering problems in machinery that could not be seen with the naked eye.

But according to his biography, Edgerton never thought to restrict his equipment for purely technical subjects: “By the mid-1930s, he was photographing everyday phenomena: golfers swinging at a ball, archers letting the arrow fly, tennis players hitting a serve, water running from a faucet, milk drops hitting a plate—and all sorts of creatures in flight…from bats to hummingbirds to insects.”

Before this, photographs of these scenes were blurred or impossible, even with direct sunlight. His stroboscopic photographs illustrated scientific phenomena and sports action in a way that was instantly understandable to millions of people. He also pioneered the use of his cameras and strobe for underwater photography.


To read more about Dr. Harold Edgerton and the history of sports photography,
Click here to download the full February 2021 issue of Swimming World now
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SW February 2012 - Emma McKeon COVER[PHOTO BY DELLY CARR, SWIMMING AUSTRALIA]

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Swimming World Magazine February 2021 Issue

FEATURES

012 THE PRIDE OF GIRLS’ POLO IN THE GATEWAY CITY
by Michael Randazzo
When COVID-19 lockdowns last spring stopped polo, Rob Peglar and Abby VerMeer didn’t hesitate: they focused on getting girls water polo untracked in the Gateway City. The result: the St. Louis Lions, the city’s first all-girls team.

014 ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL
by Dan D’Addona
The popular motto of The Musketeers, built on supporting each other as well as the group, is just one of many reasons why the University of Texas remains among the strongest in men’s college swimming and diving.

020 READY FOR A BREAKTHROUGH
by Andy Ross
Melanie Margalis is an Olympic relay gold medalist and a three-time relay champion at Worlds, but a podium finish in an individual event has eluded her on the world’s biggest stage. After ranking No. 1 in the 400 IM and No. 3 in the shorter medley for 2020, her turn to win a medal for the United States could take place this year in Tokyo.

022 PERSEVERANCE AND HARD  WORK PAY OFF
by David Rieder
After not qualifying for Australia’s Olympic team in 2012, Emma McKeon was ready to quit…but over the next several months, she had a change of heart and understood what was necessary to compete at a higher level. Since then, she has become a significant international force, a consistent podium presence and one of the world’s most impactful relay swimmers.

026 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: TARNISHED GOLD
by John Lohn
East Germany’s Kristin Otto will long be remembered as a highly decorated athlete, and for turning in one of the greatest Olympic outings in history, winning six gold medals at the 1988 Games. But because of the links to her and performance-enhancing drugs, what she accomplished—before and in Seoul—will always be tainted.

029 WHO “SHOT” THE SWIMMERS? (Part 2)
by Bruce Wigo
Shortly after the 1936 Olympics in a lab in Boston, Harold “Doc” Edgerton, an electrical engineering professor at MIT, began tinkering with equipment that would change the way science explains natural phenomena—and with it, the art of aquatic sports photography—forever.

032 NUTRITION: TO BE THE BEST, YOU NEED TO EAT THE BEST!
by Dawn Weatherwax
Each year really does build onto another—nutrition is an imperative part of the process, even at an early age.

COACHING

016 SELLING PROCESS TO SWIMMERS (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
In 1993, psychologist Anders Ericsson wrote that greatness wasn’t born, but grown. Fifteen years later, author Malcolm Gladwell suggested that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a skill or field. Known by the term, “process,” swim coaches use that learning curve to improve the performance of their swimmers.

036 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: FREESTYLE TECHNIQUE FOR SPRINT AND DISTANCE (Part 2)
by Rod Havriluk
Optimal freestyle technique for sprint and distance is identical with respect to the arm motion throughout the stroke cycle, but the arm coordination is different. While a swimmer can swim a wide range of velocities with opposition coordination, a swimmer will only achieve his/her fastest velocity with superposition coordination.

040 SPECIAL SETS: TRAINING THE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE—THEN AND NOW
by Michael J. Stott
In his lengthy career, Gregg Troy has mentored athletes of all ages and abilities, which has given him a unique perspective of how to prepare post-college grads for excellence at the international level.

042 Q&A WITH COACH JOE PLANE
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN ANDREW IVERSON
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

035 DRYSIDE TRAINING: TIME TO GET STRONG…AGAIN!
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

038 GOLDMINDS: JUST GO WITH THE FLOW
by Wayne Goldsmith
How can you control—and even master—your emotions? The answer is by learning to become a more resilient swimmer. Here’s how…

046 UP & COMERS: RICHARD POPLAWSKI
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

010 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

011 DID YOU KNOW: 

ABOUT FREDERICK LANE?

047  GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

 

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

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