- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 13, 2001

For human-powered submarine enthusiasts, its time to sink or swim.
The sixth running of the International Human-Powered Submarine Races is being staged this week inside the David Taylor Model Basin at the Naval Surface Warfare Centers Carderock Division in Bethesda, Md.
In all, 17 teams from the area, around the country and Canada are competing for awards based on overall performance, innovation, use of materials and speed. The submarines will compete in one- or two-man, propeller- or non-propeller-driven categories along the 2,200-foot-long, 22-foot-deep course.
The team from the University of Quebec in Montreal is attempting to break the world record with its submarine, "Omer 4." Students from the university broke the record at the 1997 event with their "Omer 3" craft with an 8 mph performance. The team neared 6 mph on their first run yesterday, but can race as many times as they wish.
But speed isnt everything.
For most teams, the practical knowledge gained from building and designing a submarine is part of a long-term extracurricular class project. Ed Dennis, industrial-technology teacher and adviser to the Winston Churchill High School team from Potomac said the hands-on experience stimulates students creative energies. Winston Churchill is the only high school team entered in the races.
"Its amazing what the kids do if you give them a challenge," Mr. Dennis said.
The team from the University of Maryland started creating their sub, "Terpedo," in fall 1998. Students grades in the mechanical-engineering design class depended on the efforts they put into the project.
Catherine Nolan and Stephen Martin, University of Maryland seniors, said they learned from their mistakes. Over the past week, Mr. Martin said, he was busy fixing wheels and patching holes in the subs shell.
"Nails, duct tape and lag screws can be your friend," Mr. Martin said.
For some, submarine building is a passion. Logan Rainard, an 18-year-old independent contestant, started designing his submarine during a Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program internship last summer with Ed Leibolt, hydroacoustics engineer at Carderock. Mr. Rainard has spent hundreds of hours of free time since January building his boat, "Scuba-Doo."
He and Mr. Leibolt have a patent pending for a diver fairing, which they hope will help submarines move faster.
Mr. Leibolt, a submarine-race veteran, said entering the race is a testament to dedication.
"[Submarine building] is frustrating and its a lot of work. You have high school and college students doing this, and you look out at the world … most people dont know the dynamics of how vehicles work," he said. "I admire everyone out here."
The races are closed to the public. Awards will be presented Friday evening at the model basin.

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