Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

When dad is passionately up to something, chances are that his young son follows suit. If dad likes a particular sports team, so does junior. If dad is into fishing, so follows his son. If dad is trying to achieve something, the little man of the house wants to be supportive.

And so it was with the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge founder Kent Nicholas and his 9-year-old son Luke. When dad was training for his English Channel crossing, Luke was 9 years old and doing a 4th grade science fair project at the prestigious Mesa Academy in Arizona.

Luke came up with the idea of a glow-in-the-dark swimsuit, thinking it was fun to swim in our pool with glow sticks at night,” recalls Kent. “He also knew that marathon swimmers, at times, swim at night and need to pin glow sticks to their swimsuits.”

So being an open water swimmer himself, Luke went to work. The first step was to find a premium grade photo luminescent pigment. Bingo, the pigment was derived from rare earth mineral crystals and procured from New Zealand. Dad explains, “It is basically a powder that when exposed to a light source will emit a glow for up to 12 hours. The powder was mixed with an acrylic fabric medium available from Martha Stewart and then applied to a white swimsuit with several applications.”

Now it was time to test his science project. “My role was to put the glow-in-the-dark swimsuit on and swim in our backyard pool.” The test was a success and documented with photography, making dad justifiably proud, “He worked very hard on it and I’ll treasure his science notes on the project forever. The glow-in-the-dark suit performed well and was very visible.”

Dad went on to create one of the most successful marathon swimming competitions in 2013 while Luke moved on to the 5th grade.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association