Did you know that one of the founding fathers of our country also invented the swim fin? It's true! As a child, Benjamin Franklin loved to swim, and by age 11, he was looking for ways to get faster. So Ben carved two pieces of wood into oval shapes and attached sandal straps to each one. He first tried the paddles on his hands, but when he discovered that they hurt his wrists, he transferred them to his feet. For his love of swimming and his invention of swim fins, Franklin was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1968. If you're ever in Ft. Lauderdale, you can check it out!
Benjamin Franklin was also the first to map the gulf stream. Because he was endlessly curious, he noticed during his frequent ocean voyages that the eastbound currents were much faster than the westbound. Legend says that he loved to swim in the noticeably warmer waters of the gulf stream. No wet suit needed; it hadn't been invented yet! You can see a copy of Franklin's chart below, which was printed in 1786, ten years after he originally drew it.