Updated: Wednesday, 17 Feb 2010, 11:42 PM CST
Published : Wednesday, 17 Feb 2010, 11:01 PM CST
GEORGETOWN, TEXAS (KXAN) - Members of the swim team at Southwestern University stood on the starting blocks at the edge of the pool during practice.
"Take your mark," said Scott McLean who volunteers his time with the team.
In addition to helping students with their starts, the associate kinesiology professor at Southwestern spent a week with the U.S. swim team last spring. He designed a new starting block set to debut at the Pan American Olympic Games.
It was his work by the pool, his background in physics and a high-definition, high-speed video camera that landed him in Park City, Utah last spring. The U.S. Bobsled team was training on the 2002 Winter Olympic track, and testing the design of their bobsled.
A team who designs cars for Nascar were also in town to toy with new technology on the sled. Scott and a friend filmed the team's trial runs to track performance on the two hardest turns.
"We were really watching this right here," said McLean pointing to video on his computer screen of a bobsled going around a turn in slow motion. "And watching how those runners stayed on the ice."
The data he helped collect was kept confidential.
"I couldn't tell you exactly what or how they used it, they were fairly tight-lipped about it," said McLean.
But Winter Olympics fans are sure to catch his handiwork if they tune in when the team hits the challenging track in Vancouver.
"It is a very, very testing track, and it's going to test our ability as drivers," said US bobsled member John Napier during a press conference in Vancouver.
Before McLean said goodbye to the team last spring the 2002 bronze medal driver and current US Bobsled coach drove him down the mountain in one of their older sleds that was moving between 75 and 80 miles per hour.
"There was nothing I could do to hold my head up. It just pulled my head down into my lap," said McLean. "It was pretty remarkable."
For now, McLean is back to applying his expertise in biomechanics to swimmers at Southwestern.
Olympic bobsled teams are set to take the track in Vancouver Feb. 20.