Swimming History: One of the First Equipment Creations Recorded

Alex Cramer

Did you know that one of the first recorded creations of swimming fins comes from Benjamin Franklin? He created a combination paddle/fin in 1717! When. Writing about it later he said, "When a youth, I made two oval pallets, each about ten inches long, and six broad, with a hole for the thumb, in order to retain it fast in the palm of my hand... I remember I swam faster by means of these pallets, but they fatigued my wrists. I also fitted to the soles of my feet a kind of sandals, but I was not satisfied with them, because I observed that the stroke is partly given by the inside of the feet and the ankles, and not entirely with the soles of the feet." Essentially making extra long Finis paddles that you could strap to your feet too!