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November 15, 2012

The Super-Humans: Crazy athletes




As the series on the greatest athletes in University of Louisville history comes to an end, we couldn't help but realize all the crazy and obscure measurements of athleticism we picked up along the way.

The three previous articles featured the vertical jump, bench press, and squat. Our team dug through the archives to find which UofL athletes documented record setting numbers in each of these categories. Along the way we came across a vast amount of records and out of the ordinary numbers that didn't fall into any of these categories, but were just too unique to not bring to light.

SUPER-HUMAN LUNGS
Two-time steeplechase National Champion Matt Hughes is one of the most decorated athletes to every step foot on Louisville's campus. The Canadian transferred from Clemson University after his freshman season and finished his career as a Cardinal in 2011. The two individual national championships speak for themselves, being that Hughes owns two of only seven individual national championships in UofL history.

Cardinalsports.com is looking passed his accolades and taking a look at a feat that is in obvious correlation with his success.

Multiple athletes at UofL go through what is called V02 testing.

"It's how much oxygen one can utilize based on body weight and time," said UofL strength and conditioning coach Jason Dierking. "It's measured through gas analysis on the tread-mill."

Think Gatorade commercials; athletes are running on a treadmill and look like they have oxygen masks on with tubes coming out from all angles. That is V02 testing.
Hughes scored an astounding 82 on the V02 test. Meaning his body is capable of processing 82 milliliters of oxygen, per kilogram, per minute. This number might mean nothing to you, but here is a comparison that might put things in perspective.

COMPARISION
Cyclist Lance Armstrong has reportedly been recorded as scoring an 84 on his V02 test. That's right. Seven time Tour De France champion (until his titles were stripped earlier this year) only scored two points higher than our very own Hughes.

"For Matt Hughes to be up at 82 on the tread-mill is unbelievable," said Dierking. "He is at the elite of the elite, at that point."

Hughes is currently running professionally and training to make the 2016 Olympic Team for Canada.

ELASTIC MAN
Flexibility is with out a doubt a huge component of athletics. With the strain and pounding put on an athlete's body throughout the course of his or her career, the ability to be flexible can play a huge part in injury prevention. How do you measure flexibility you ask? Well UofL and the NFL share a common answer to that.

Functional Movement Systems (FMS) is a seven-part test created by physical therapist Gray Cook. Each test is scored on a scale from zero to three, with a maximum score of 21. A score of zero represents you have pain when performing the movement. One point represents inability to complete the exercise. Two points means you can perform the movement, but you have to compensate. And three points means you were able to complete the exercise perfectly.

The NFL's Atlanta Falcons have instituted the FMS testing into their system, commenting that it is main component for the team's lack of injuries.

"Jeff Fish, Atlanta's fitness coordinator, was quoted last summer saying that the Falcons' regimen had reduced the number of games missed by their players, which is among the lowest in the NFL"

Falcons General Manager went on to say that he believes that the data compiled by the team is going to be, "…the wave of the future in the NFL"

In order for a UofL athlete to past the test and be cleared by the strength and conditioning staff, he or she must score at least a 16 out of 21. Most UofL athletes score right around that number, and will have to incorporate in extra flexibility training to boost that number.

Well, not everyone.

Meet Calvin Arsenault. A sophomore from Canada, Arsenault is a jumper on the men's Track & Field team and had a remarkable summer, where he competed in the Canadian Junior Track & Field Championships and came away with a gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles.

Arsenault's hurdling ability speaks for itself, but his flexibility is also something of note. Arsenault scored a 20 out of 21 on the FMS testing.

"His overall mobility, stability and flexibility are way above average compared with other athletes," said Track & Field strength coach Zach Farrel.

Farrel remarked that Arsenault's 20 on the FMS test is the highest score of any of his athletes. The only other person Farrel knew of scoring a 20 is co-worker Jason Dierking, who is the strength coach for swimming & diving and men's soccer.

THE GUY CAN FLAT OUT JUMP
While researching the vertical jump record we came across a whole range of numbers. From Terrence Williams 37 inch vertical, to DeVante Parker's 41 inch, to the ever scrutinized 48 inch vertical belonging to Darrell Griffith. But there is one athlete who's name was left off that list.

Nine-time All-American swimmer Brendon Andrews (2008-12) is one of the most decorated swimmers to ever go through UofL. The 6 foot 4 and a half-inch, 205-pound athlete looks more like a surfer with his shaggy long blond hair, but is lightening fast in the water. Outside of the pool he holds a record that certainly speaks volumes for why Andrews has been so productive here at UofL.

Andrews has been recorded as completing a 57-inch standing box jump. Meaning, from a two foot standing position he was able to leap 57 inches and land on a box, without stepping into the jump.

"That's the highest box jump I have ever seen from a two foot standing start," said Dierking."And that was with running pants on too."

That's right. Andrews achieved this feat with a pair of track pants on.



COMPARISON
There are many videos and stories circulating throughout the Internet claiming to be the world record holder for a two-footed box jump. It is evident that most of these are frauds. Many people will actually play the videos in reverse, making it look as if someone is jumping onto the box, when in reality they are starting on top and jumping down. But we were able to come across a pretty special athlete.

Justin Bethel of the Arizona Cardinals recorded the highest two-foot standing box jump we could find at 60 inches. Bethel is a youtube sensation, having received over 900,000 views for his breathtaking leap. He was featured in a story by azcentral.com, titled "Arizona Cardinals' Justin Bethel makes quick jump to N.F.L." The quirky play on words, but fascinating story, talks about Bethel's unusual path to the NFL

Bethel was barely recruited out of high school and ended up playing for Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. His athleticism would open doors to a future in the NFL

The fact that the highest record we could find is only three inches higher than Andrews' mark is, quite frankly, absurd. Andrews 57-inch jump is not an impressive number for just Louisville, not an impressive number for just college athletes, it is a mark that is contention with the best in the world. Check out the video below.

THE CALVES
Ray Ganong, men's Basketball strength and conditioning coach, talked with me about an abnormal measurement that belongs to our sophomore forward Chane Behanan. Behanan, who is known for his bruising style of basketball, should also be known for something else.

Ladies and gentleman meet 'Calf Man.' Behanan currently has some of the largest, circumference-measured calves of any UofL athlete on campus. According to Ganong, those tree trunks have been measured anywhere from 19 and 5/8 inches to 19.5 inches, never going below 19 inches, just depending on the day.

"The only guys I ever saw with calves that big were offensive lineman," said Ganong.

So next time you're watching Behanan posturize someone with a two-handed flush, make sure you get a quick glimpse of those monsters and understand why he is so powerful.

THE WINGSPAN
I'm sure most already knew (or could have guessed) but junior center Gorgui Dieng and freshmen forward Montrez Harrell have some phenomenally long wingspan's. Ganong measured Harrell's wingspan at 88.5 inches, or 7 feet 4.5 inches. While Dieng measured in at 89.5 inches, or 7 feet 5.5 inches.

"That's the longest wingspans I've ever seen," said Ganong.

It's obvious why Dieng has been a defensive force here at UofL. And through the first three Red & White scrimmages, it seems that Harrell will join Dieng as a force to be reckoned with under the basket.

FAST FACTS
Ganong also commented that he once witnessed Larry O'Bannon do 65 consecutive dips. Dips are an exercise where you stand between two bars and hold your body weight up with your arms. You then proceed to bend your elbows until your forearms come close to reaching the bars, and then you hoist yourself back up to the starting position. To be able to do 65 of these in a row shows just how strong O'Bannon truly was. O'Bannon played from 2001-05 and was a member of the Cardinals 2005 Final Four team.

According to current assistant strength coach and former player Chad Lee, corner back Chris Johnson (1999-02) ran the fastest 40-yard dash time he had ever seen at 4.18 seconds. This is an unofficial time, being that the current 40-yard dash record belongs to the other Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, with a time of 4.24 seconds.

Although it might be unofficial (meaning it was recorded by stop watches) the former Cardinal corner back decided to have the time '4.18' tattooed on the back of his calf.

"To me, it's a blessing," Johnson said. "A lot of people, they're not really blessed to be that fast so it's something that stuck with me."

Lee, his former teammate, can remember they day Johnson ran 4.18 seconds.

"It didn't even look like he was running that fast," said Lee. "Until you see everybody just get quiet, and everybody just start looking around. So we all went over like, what did he run? They we're like 4.18."

And with that comes the conclusion of my series on all the Super-Human athlete's that have been a part of the University of Louisville athletics. We have had some extremely impressive athletes step foot on this campus, on both the male and female side. As the common phrase goes, 'records are meant to be broken.'


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