Tennessee Tech submariners' gamble Leads to second-place finish in international races

Two submarines and two choices: That's the situation the Human-Powered Submarine Team from Tennessee Technological University found itself in at the 5th International Submarine Races, which conclude later today at the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock Division in Bethesda, MD.

The team could choose to compete in both one- and two-person sub categories, going for wins in each. Or it could focus on optimizing the performance of Torpedo IV, the team's sleek, untested one-person sub, and maybe, just maybe, shatter standing world records for speed by human-powered submarines.

Never afraid to gamble, the team set its sights on a new speed record.

"We decided we weren't looking for first place. We were looking for a world record and thought our best chances were with the one-person sub," said team adviser Joe Scardina, professor of mechanical engineering.

On Friday afternoon as the races wound down, the team found itself short of that ambitious aim, but in solid second place behind the team from Ecole de Technologie Superieure of Montreal, Canada, which led in both one- and two-person sub categories.

Top speeds achieved by Friday afternoon were 5.9 knots by Tennessee Tech propulsor John Gore of Nashville and 6.9 knots by the team from Montreal.

While final standings will not be announced until late Friday evening, Scardina said it looks like a clear second for the team -- not the finish it desired, but, he added, a good foundation to build on for races scheduled for next summer in Florida and California.

More details on the sub team, including still and video images, are available at its web site.

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