The Vitruvian Swimmer

Courtesy of WOWSA, Venice, Italy.

The Vitruvian Man is a world-renowned drawing created by Leonardo da Vinci circa 1487. The drawing and accompanying text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions. The drawing shows and explains the correlations of ideal human proportions.

If Leonardo would have studied and drawn the Vitruvian Swimmer for the open water swimming community, what would those proportions and explanations have been?

We took an imaginary guess of that outlandish concept. Taking Leonardo’s belief that the workings of the human body are an analogy for the workings of the universe, we can imagine the workings of a swimmer’s body can be an analogy for the workings of a healthy human.

Taking Leonardo’s text as a basis for this imaginary work, the proportions and explanations for a Swimmer might be:

– the length of the outspread arms is more than equal to the height of the individual. The greater the length of the outspread arms, the better
– from the hairline to the bottom of the chin is one-tenth of the height of the individual as one as the eyes are faced down during swimming
– the circumference of the chest is the length of the torso, an indication of large lung capacity and cardiovascular endurance
– the ideal width of the shoulders is at least the quarter of the height of the individual and 25% larger than the hips
– the distance from the elbow to the tip of the hand is at least a quarter of the height of the individual
– the circumference around the upper arm is at least the length from the elbow to the armpit
– the length of the hand is one-tenth of the height of the individual with the length of the fingers equal to the length of the palm
– the foot is one-seventh of the height of the individual with the flexibility of the ankle to be greater than 180°
– from the foot to the knee is a quarter of the height of the individual
– the circumference of the thigh is no more than the length from the knee to the intersection of the legs and torso

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