In the second part of our round-up of day three of BTYSTE 2016, we found out how swimming helps lung capacity, lung capacity helps asthma and that the smoky coal ban of 1990 was good news for breathers everywhere.

Greeting us once we walked in the door at the RDS for BTYSTE, the biological and ecological sciences section was awash with fine ideas and remarkably relaxed entrants.

First up, we met with Ivana Pyne and Ruairí Power from St Flannan’s College in Clare. With the help of a giant barrel, some fake lungs and a rubber diaphragm, these two sought to prove stronger lungs make for better swimmers, while also fighting against asthma.

When I was a kid, I suffered pretty bad from asthma and swimming did me the world of good. I presumed it was something to do with lung strength but, as Pyne and Power show, it’s as much to do with knowing when and (surprisingly) how to breathe.

Just around the corner was Christopher Carew from Mountrath Community School in Laois. On a remarkably similar theme, he was looking at which sports can best aid sufferers of asthma.

Looking at swimming, football and basketball over six weeks, Carew found that swimming had the best effect on asthmatics.

Lastly, we met with Harry Kearns from Blackrock College in Dublin (his school’s other entrant featured in yesterday’s round-up). Kearns took a novel approach to investigating air pollution in Dublin and its somewhat dramatic change since the Smoky Coal Ban of 1990.

Words by Gordon Hunt