|Highest governing body||FINA|
|Team members||Team or individuals|
|Venue||Swimming pools or open-water|
|Country or region||Worldwide|
Swimming is an individual or team sport that requires the use of one's entire body to move through water. The sport takes place in pools or open water (e.g., in a sea or lake). Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports,with varied distance events in butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and individual medley. In addition to these individual events, four swimmers can take part in either a freestyle or medley relay. A medley relay consists of four swimmers who will each swim a different stroke, ordered as backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. Swimming each stroke requires a set of specific techniques; in competition, there are distinct regulations concerning the acceptable form for each individual stroke. There are also regulations on what types of swimsuits, caps, jewelry and injury tape that are allowed at competitions. Although it is possible for competitive swimmers to incur several injuries from the sport, such as tendinitis in the shoulders or knees, there are also multiple health benefits associated with the sport.
A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or paddling pool is a structure designed to hold water to enable swimming or other leisure activities. Pools can be built into the ground or built above ground, and are also a common feature aboard ocean-liners and cruise ships. In-ground pools are most commonly constructed from materials such as concrete, natural stone, metal, plastic, or fiberglass, and can be of a custom size and shape or built to a standardized size, the largest of which is the Olympic-size swimming pool.
The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart.
The butterfly is a swimming stroke swum on the chest, with both arms moving symmetrically, accompanied by the butterfly kick. While other styles like the breaststroke, front crawl, or backstroke can be swum adequately by beginners, the butterfly is a more difficult stroke that requires good technique as well as strong muscles. It is the newest swimming style swum in competition, first swum in 1933 and originating out of the breaststroke.
Evidence of recreational swimming in prehistoric times has been found, with the earliest evidence dating to Stone Age paintings from around 10,000 years ago. Written references date from 2000 BC, with some of the earliest references to swimming including the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Bible, Beowulf, the Quran and others. In 1538, Nikolaus Wynmann, a Swiss–German professor of languages, wrote the earliest known complete book about swimming, Colymbetes, sive de arte natandi dialogus et festivus et iucundus lectu (The Swimmer, or A Dialogue on the Art of Swimming and Joyful and Pleasant to Read).
The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make implements with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted roughly 3.4 million years and ended between 8700 BCE and 2000 BCE with the advent of metalworking.
The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles.
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other Homeric epic. The Odyssey is fundamental to the modern Western canon; it is the second-oldest extant work of Western literature, while the Iliad is the oldest. Scholars believe the Odyssey was composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia.
Swimming emerged as a competitive recreational activity in the 1830s in England. In 1828, the first indoor swimming pool, St George's Baths was opened to the public.By 1837, the National Swimming Society was holding regular swimming competitions in six artificial swimming pools, built around London. The recreational activity grew in popularity and by 1880, when the first national governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association was formed, there were already over 300 regional clubs in operation across the country.
London is the capital of and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
In 1844 two Native American participants at a swimming competition in London introduced the front crawl to a European audience. Sir John Arthur Trudgen picked up the hand-over stroke from some South American natives and successfully debuted the new stroke in 1873, winning a local competition in England. His stroke is still regarded as the most powerful to use today.
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.
Captain Matthew Webb was the first man to swim the English Channel (between England and France), in 1875. Using the breaststroke technique, he swam the channel 21.26 miles (34.21 km) in 21 hours and 45 minutes. His feat was not replicated or surpassed for the next 36 years, until T.W. Burgess made the crossing in 1911.
Captain Matthew Webb was the first recorded person to swim the English Channel for sport without the use of artificial aids. In 1875, Webb swam from Dover to Calais in less than 22 hours. This brought him great celebrity, and he performed many stunts in public. He died trying to swim the Whirlpool Rapids below Niagara Falls, a feat declared impossible.
The English Channel, also called simply the Channel, is the body of water that separates Southern England from northern France and links the southern part of the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the busiest shipping area in the world.
Other European countries also established swimming federations; Germany in 1882, France in 1890 and Hungary in 1896. The first European amateur swimming competitions were in 1889 in Vienna. The world's first women's swimming championship was held in Scotland in 1892.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
France, officially the French Republic, is a sovereign state whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi) in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, and Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken Uralic language in the world, and among the few non-Indo-European languages to be widely spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; other major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr.
Men's swimming became part of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens. In 1902, the Australian Richmond Cavill introduced freestyle to the Western world. In 1908, the world swimming association, Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), was formed. Women's swimming was introduced into the Olympics in 1912; the first international swim meet for women outside the Olympics was the 1922 Women's Olympiad. Butterfly was developed in the 1930s and was at first a variant of breaststroke, until it was accepted as a separate style in 1952.
Competitive swimming became popular in the 19th century. The goal of high level competitive swimming is to break personal or world records while beating competitors in any given event. Swimming in competition should create the least resistance in order to obtain maximum speed. However, some professional swimmers who do not hold a national or world ranking are considered the best in regard to their technical skills. Typically, an athlete goes through a cycle of training in which the body is overloaded with work in the beginning and middle segments of the cycle, and then the workload is decreased in the final stage as the swimmer approaches competition.
The practice of reducing exercise in the days just before an important competition is called tapering. Tapering is used to give the swimmer's body some rest without stopping exercise completely. A final stage is often referred to as "shave and taper": the swimmer shaves off all exposed hair for the sake of reducing drag and having a sleeker and more hydrodynamic feel in the water.Additionally, the "shave and taper" method refers to the removal of the top layer of "dead skin", which exposes the newer and richer skin underneath. This also helps to "shave" off mere milliseconds on your time.
Swimming is an event at the Summer Olympic Games, where male and female athletes compete in 16 of the recognized events each. Olympic events are held in a 50-meter pool, called a long course pool.
There are forty officially recognized individual swimming events in the pool; however the International Olympic Committee only recognizes 32 of them. The international governing body for competitive swimming is the Fédération Internationale de Natation ("International Swimming Federation"), better known as FINA.
In open water swimming, where the events are swum in a body of open water (lake or sea), there are also 5 km, 10 km and 25 km events for men and women. However, only the 10 km event is included in the Olympic schedule, again for both men and women. Open-water competitions are typically separate to other swimming competitions with the exception of the World Championships and the Olympics.
In competitive swimming, four major styles have been established. These have been relatively stable over the last 30–40 years with minor improvements. They are:
In competition, only one of these styles may be used except in the case of the individual medley, or IM, which consists of all four. In this latter event, swimmers swim equal distances of butterfly, then backstroke, breaststroke, and finally, freestyle.In Olympic competition, this event is swum in two distances – 200 and 400 meters. Some short course competitions also include the 100-yard or 100-meter IM – particularly, for younger or newer swimmers (typically under 14 years) involved in club swimming, or masters swimming (over 18).
Since the 1990s, the most drastic change in swimming has been the addition of the underwater dolphin kick. This is used to maximize the speed at the start and after the turns in all styles. The first successful use of it was by David Berkoff. At the 1988 Olympics, he swam most of the 100 m backstroke race underwater and broke the world record in the distance during the preliminaries. Another swimmer to use the technique was Denis Pankratov at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he completed almost half of the 100 m butterfly underwater to win the gold medal. In the past decade, American competitive swimmers have shown the most use of the underwater dolphin kick to gain advantage, most notably Olympic and World medal winners Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte; however currently swimmers are not allowed to go any further than fifteen metres underwater due to rule changes by FINA. In addition, FINA announced in 2014 that a single dolphin kick can be added to the breaststroke pullout prior to the first breaststroke kick.
While the dolphin kick is mostly seen in middle-distance freestyle events and in all distances of backstroke and butterfly, it is not usually used to the same effect in freestyle sprinting. That changed with the addition of the so-called "technical" suits around the European Short Course Championships in Rijeka, Croatia in December 2008. There, Amaury Leveaux set new world records of 44.94 seconds in the 100 m freestyle, 20.48 seconds in the 50 m freestyle and 22.18 in the 50 m butterfly. Unlike the rest of the competitors in these events, he spent at least half of each race submerged using the dolphin kick.
World Championship pools must be 50 metres (160 ft) (long course) long and 25 metres (82 ft) wide, with ten lanes labelled zero to nine (or one to ten in some pools; zero and nine (or one and ten) are usually left empty in semi-finals and finals); the lanes must be at least 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) wide. They will be equipped with starting blocks at both ends of the pool and most will have Automatic Officiating Equipment, including touch pads to record times and sensors to ensure the legality of relay takeovers. The pool must have a minimum depth of two metres.
Other pools which host events under FINA regulations are required to meet some but not all of these requirements. Many of these pools have eight, or even six, instead of ten lanes and some will be 25 metres (82 ft) long, making them Short course. World records that are set in short course pools are kept separate from those set in long course pools because it may be an advantage or disadvantage to swimmers to have more or less turns in a race.
Competitive swimming, from the club through to international level, tends to have an autumn and winter season competing in short course (25 metres or yards) pools and a spring and summer season competing in long course (50 metre) pools and in open water.
In international competition and in club swimming in Europe, the short course (25m) season lasts from September to December, and the long course (50m) season from January to August with open water in the summer months. These regulations are slowly being brought to competition in North America.
As of right now, in club, school, and college swimming in the United States and Canada, the short course (25 yards) season is much longer, from September to March. The long-course season takes place in 50-meter pools and lasts from April to the end of August with open water in the summer months.
In club swimming in Australasia, the short course (25m) season lasts from April to September, and the long course (50m) season from October to March with open water in the summer months.
Outside the United States, meters is the standard in both short and long course swimming, with the same distances swum in all events. In the American short course season, the 500 yard, 1000 yard, and 1650-yard freestyle events are swum as a yard is much shorter than a meter (100 yards equals 91.44 meters), while during the American long course season the 400 meter, 800 meter, and 1500-meter freestyle events are swum instead.
Beginning each swimming season racing in short course allows for shorter distance races for novice swimmers. For example, in the short course season if a swimmer wanted to compete in a stroke they had just learned, a 25-yard/meter race is available to them, opposed to the long course season when they would need to be able to swim at least 50 meters of that new stroke in order to compete.
There are several types of officials,which are needed to manage the competition.
Referee: The referee has full control and authority over all officials. The referee will enforce all rules and decisions of FINA and shall have the final answer to all questions relating to the actual conduct of anything regarding the meet, as well as the final settlement of which is not otherwise covered by the rules. The referee takes overall responsibility for running the meet and makes the final decisions as to who wins each race. Referees call swimmers to the blocks with short blasts of his or her whistle. This is the signal for the swimmers to stand next to their blocks. Then the referee will blow a long whistle that will tell the swimmers to step on the block. For backstroke events, the long whistle is the signal for the swimmers to jump into the water. The referee will then blow another long whistle, signalling the swimmers to grab the gutter or the provided block handle. Finally the referee will hand over the rest to the starter by directing his or her hand to the starter.
Starter: The starter has full control of the swimmers from the time the referee turns the swimmers over to him/her until the race commences. A starter begins the race by saying, "Take your mark." At this point, the swimmers will get into stationary positions in which they would like to start their race. After all swimmers have assumed their stationary position, the starter will push a button on the starting system, signaling the start of a race with a loud noise (usually a beep or a horn) and flash from a strobe light. A starter sends the swimmers off the blocks and may call a false start if a swimmer leaves the block before the starter sends them. A starter may also choose to recall the race after the start for any reason or request the swimmers to "stand", "relax" or "step down" if he or she believes that (a) particular swimmer(s) has gotten an unfair advantage at the start.
Clerk of course: The clerk of course (also called the "bullpen") assembles swimmers prior to each event, and is responsible for organizing ("seeding") swimmers into heats based on their times. Heats are generally seeded from slowest to fastest, where swimmers with no previous time for an event are assumed to be the slowest. The clerk of the course is also responsible for recording and reporting swimmers who have chosen to "scratch" (not swim) their events after they have signed up or qualified to a semifinal or final. The clerk is also responsible for enforcing rules of the swim meet if a swimmer chooses to not show up ("No show" - NS) his or her events.
Timekeepers: Each timekeeper takes the time of the swimmers in the lane assigned to him/her. Unless a video backup system is used, it may be necessary to use the full complement of timekeepers even when automatic officiating equipment is used. A chief timekeeper assigns the seating positions for all timekeepers and the lanes for which they are responsible. In most competitions there will be one or more timekeepers per lane. In international competitions where full automatic timing and video placing equipment is in use timekeepers may not be required.
Inspectors of turns: One inspector of turns is assigned to one or more lanes at each end of the pool. Each inspector of turns ensures that swimmers comply with the relevant rules for turning, as well as the relevant rules for start and finish of the race. Inspectors of turns shall report any violation on disqualification reports detailing the event, lane number, and the infringement delivered to the chief inspector of turns who will immediately convey the report to the referee.
Judges of Stroke: Judges of stroke are located on each side of the pool. They follow the swimmers during their swim back and forth across the pool. They ensure that the rules related to the style of swimming designated for the event are being observed, and observe the turns and the finishes to assist the inspectors of turns.
Finish judges: Finish judges determine the order of finish and make sure the swimmers finish in accordance with the rules (two hands simultaneously for breaststroke and butterfly, on the back for backstroke, etc.)
If an official observes a swimmer breaking a rule concerning the stroke he or she is swimming, the official will report what they have seen to the referee. The referee can disqualify (or DQ) any swimmer for any violation of the rules that he/she personally observes or for any violation reported to them by other authorised officials. All disqualifications are subject to the decision and discretion of the referee.
Those who are disqualified may choose to protest their disqualification . Protests are reviewed by a panel of officials instead of the deck referee or stroke judges who may have made the initial disqualification report.
Brands such as Arena, Speedo, Nike, and Adidas are popular regular swimwear brands. The most durable material for regular swimming is Polyester. The main difference between competition and regular swimwear is that competition swimwear is tighter and compresses the muscles of the swimmers. Regular swimwear is easier to put on and more comfortable for leisure activities.
The most used practice swimwear for men includes briefs and jammers. Males generally swim barechested.
There was controversy after the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 when many Olympic swimmers broke records an unprecedented number of times using revolutionary swimsuits that covered their entire legs. To highlight the issue, in 2008, 70 world records were broken in one year, and 66 Olympic records were broken in one Olympic Games (there were races in Beijing where the first five finishers were swimming faster than the old world record).
As of January 1, 2010, men are only allowed to wear suits from the waist to the knees.They are also only permitted to wear one piece of swimwear; they cannot wear briefs underneath jammers. This rule was enacted after the controversy in the Beijing Olympics and Rome World Championships.
Women wear one-piece suits with thicker and higher backs for competition, though two-piece suits can also be worn during practice. Backs vary mainly in strap thickness and geometric design. Most common styles include: racerback, axel back, corset, diamondback, and butterfly-back/Fly-Back. There are also different style lengths: three-quarter length (reaches the knees), regular length (shoulders to hips), and bikini style (two-piece). As of January 1, 2010, in competition, women must wear suits that do not go past the shoulders or knees.
Drag suits are used to increase water resistance against the swimmer to help them train for competitions. Other forms of drag wear include nylons, old suits, and T-shirts: articles that increase friction in the water to build strength during training, and thus increase speed once drag items are removed for competition. Some swimmers practice in basketball shorts over their bathing suit, wearing two bathing suits, or wearing an extra bathing suit with holes cut in the material.
Many swimmers also shave areas of exposed skin before end-of-season competitions to reduce friction in the water. The practice gained popularity after the 1956 Olympics, when Murray Rose and Jon Henricks came shaved and won gold medals for Australia.Freshly shaven skin is less resistant when in the water. In addition, a 1989 study demonstrated that shaving improves a swimmer's overall performance by reducing drag.
Wearing drag suits during training also improves mental performance during competitions[ citation needed ]. Drag makes a swimmer feel slower and more resistant during training with the added friction. Then on the day of the competition, a shaven swimmer wearing only a fast competition suit will feel an improvement in how fast and smooth they feel in the water.[ citation needed ]
The disadvantages of using a drag suit include the depletion of proper stroke. This is caused by the swimmer's own fatigue. When the swimmer becomes more fatigued, different muscle groups become more tired. Consequently, the swimmer will try to engage another group of muscle to do the same thing, which can cause the stroke efficiency to drop.[ citation needed ]
Elite and international swimming comprises the highest level of competition available to swimmers, including competitions such as the Olympic Games and FINA World Aquatics Championships.
Swimming creates a mix of levels, including: fully professional, semi-professional, and amateur. Fully professional swimmers will typically get a salary both from their national governing body and from outside sponsors, semi-professionals a small stipend from their national governing body, and amateurs receive no funding. Outside of these major championships prize money is low – the 2015 FINA World Cup series has a total prize fund of $3,000 per race shared between the top threeand the 2014–15 USA Grand Prix Series $1,800 compared to the 2015 World Aquatics Championships fund of $60,000 per race shared between the top eight.
Open water swimming is swimming outside a regular pool, usually in a lake, or sometimes ocean. Popularity of the sport has grown in recent years, particularly since the 10 km open water event was added as an Olympic event in 2005, contested for the first time in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
New recent technology has developed much faster swimsuits. Full body suits have been banned, but swimmers at the very top levels still wear suits that have been lasered together because stitching creates drag. The disadvantage of these suits is that they are often uncomfortable and tight, and can tear easily if not handled carefully.
The largest Ocean Swim's in terms of numbers of participants are in Australia, with the Pier to Pub, Cole Classic and Melbourne Swim Classic all with roughly 5000 swimming participants.
Swimming times have dropped over the years due to superior training techniques and new technical developments.
The first four Olympics were not held in pools, but in open water (1896 – the Mediterranean, 1900 – the Seine river, 1904 – an artificial lake, 1906 – the Mediterranean). The 1904 Olympics' freestyle race was the only one ever measured at 100 yards, instead of the usual 100 meters. A 100-meter pool was built for the 1908 Olympics and sat in the center of the main stadium's track and field oval. The 1912 Olympics, held in the Stockholm harbor, marked the beginning of electronic timing.[ clarification needed ]
Male swimmers wore full-body suits until the 1940s, which caused more drag in the water than their modern swimwear counterparts experience. Competition suits now include engineered fabric and designs to reduce swimmers' drag in the water and prevent athlete fatigue. In addition, over the years, pool designs have lessened the drag. Some design considerations allow for the reduction of swimming resistance, making the pool faster. These include proper pool depth, elimination of currents, increased lane width, energy absorbing racing lane lines and gutters, and the use of other innovative hydraulic, acoustic, and illumination designs. There have been major changes in starting blocks over the past years. Starting blocks used to be small, narrow and straightbut through time they have become bigger and wider and nowadays the surface of the block is angled towards the swimming pool. In addition, starting blocks now have a "wedge" which is a raised, slanting platform situated at the rear of the main block. This enables the swimmer to adopt a crouched position at a 90 degrees angle and push off quicker with the rear leg to increase their launch power.
The 1924 Summer Olympics were the first to use the standard 50-meter pool with marked lanes. In the freestyle, swimmers originally dove from the pool walls, but diving blocks were incorporated at the 1936 Summer Olympics. The tumble turn was developed by the 1950s and goggles were first used in the 1976 Olympics.
There were also changes in the late 20th century in terms of technique. Breaststrokers are now allowed to dip their heads completely under water to glide, which allows for a longer stroke and faster time. However, the breaststrokers must bring their heads up at the completion of each cycle. In addition, a key hole pull in the breaststroke start and turns has been added to help speed up the stroke. There have been some other changes added recently[ when? ] as well. Now off the start and turns, breaststrokers are allowed one butterfly kick to help increase their speed. Backstrokers are now allowed to turn on their stomachs before the wall in order to perform a "flip-turn". Previously, they had to reach and flip backwards and a variation of it, known as a "bucket turn" or a "suicide turn", is sometimes used in individual medley events to transition from backstroke to breaststroke.
The foundation of FINA in 1908 signaled the commencement of recording the first official world records in swimming.At that time records could be established in any swimming pool of length not less than 25 yards, and records were also accepted for intermediate distance split times from long distance events. Today World Records will only be accepted when times are reported by Automatic Officiating Equipment, or Semi-Automatic Officiating Equipment in the case of Automatic Officiating Equipment system malfunction.
Records in events such as 300 yd, 300 m, 1000 yd, and 1000 m freestyle, 400 m backstroke, and 400 m and 500 m breaststroke were no longer ratified from 1948. A further removal of the 500 yd and 500 m freestyle, 150 m backstroke, and 3×100 m medley relay from the record listings occurred in 1952.
In 1952, the national federations of the United States and Japan proposed at the FINA Congress the separation of records achieved in long-course and short-course pools, however it was four more years before action came into effect with the Congress deciding to retain only records held in 50 m pools as the official world record listings.
By 1969 there were thirty-one events in which FINA recognised official world records – 16 for men, 15 for women – closely resembling the event schedule that was in use at the Olympic Games.
The increase in accuracy and reliability of electronic timing equipment led to the introduction of hundredths of a second to the time records from 21 August 1972.
Records in short course (25 m) pools began to be officially approved as "short course world records" from 3 March 1991. Prior to this date, times in short course (25 m) pools were not officially recognised, but were regarded a "world best time" (WBT). From 31 October 1994 times in 50 m backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly were added to the official record listings.
FINA currently recognises world records in the following events for both men and women.
— denotes instances that cannot be determined
under 30 sec
under 1 min
under 2 min
under 4 min
under 8 min
under 15 min
|4 × 100 m|
under 4 min
|4 × 200 m|
under 8 min
Swimming is a healthy activity that can be done by most people throughout their life.It is a low-impact workout that has several mental and bodily health benefits all while being a good recreational activity. Swimming builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. Correspondingly, it also improves weight loss while being a safer alternative of working out for someone who is injured or for women who are pregnant. Swimming requires less effort than other sports, but the athletes will get the results they are looking for.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity such as swimming can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses, and help regenerate healthy cells.Furthermore, swimming is linked to better cognitive function; also lowering the risk of Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and a stroke. It can improve lung and heart strength while it tones muscles in a full body workout. People can typically exercise longer in water than on land without increased effort and minimal joint or muscle pain. When in the water the body undergoes less physical stress thus releasing pressure from the joints.
In addition to the physical benefits of swimming, lower stress levels and occurrences of depression and anxiety are known to decrease while swimming. Swimming is a meditation sport meaning there is an increase of blood flow to the brain which allows an individual to evaluate stressors more calmly.The activity can help increase the memory for older aged individuals who suffer from dementia.
The rotator cuff in the shoulder is most susceptible to injury in swimmers. Injury to the rotator cuff results from repeated trauma and overuse.The joints are more prone to injury when the arm is repetitively used in a position above the horizontal line of the body. This position occurs in each of the four swimming strokes in every cycle of the arms. Out of the four tendons in the rotator cuff, the supraspinatus is most prone to tearing. Rotator cuff impingement is due to pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the scapula as the arm is raised.
The best way to prevent injury is catching the issue early. Typically, poor technique and over excessive use of the muscle group can be the primary causes of injury. Through communication between swimmers, coaches, parents, and medical professionals, any issue can be diagnosed prior to a serious injury. Additionally, proper warm-up, stretches, and strength training exercises should be completed before any rigorous movements.
In treating a rotator cuff injury, the most important factor is time. Due to the nature of the joint being primarily stabilized by muscle and tendon, the injury must be fully healed to prevent recurrence. Returning to swimming or other demanding exercises too soon can result in degeneration of a tendon which might result in a rupture. During the rehabilitation period, focus should be placed on rotator cuff and scapular strengthening.
Another common injury is breaststroke knee, also known as swimmer's knee. This injury is caused by the kicking movement used while swimming breaststroke. The kicking movement will cause wear and tear on the knee and it will eventually lead to constant pain. In recent studies it has been found that initially, the pain is only experienced when the kick was executed, but eventually the pain spread to other regular day-to-day activities, athletic and non-athletic.
Breaststroke is a swimming style in which the swimmer is on their chest and the torso does not rotate. It is the most popular recreational style due to the swimmer's head being out of the water a large portion of the time, and that it can be swum comfortably at slow speeds. In most swimming classes, beginners learn either the breaststroke or the freestyle first. However, at the competitive level, swimming breaststroke at speed requires comparable endurance and strength to other strokes. Some people refer to breaststroke as the "frog" stroke, as the arms and legs move somewhat like a frog swimming in the water. The stroke itself is the slowest of any competitive strokes and is thought to be the oldest of all swimming strokes.
Backstroke or back crawl is one of the four swimming styles used in competitive events regulated by FINA, and the only one of these styles swum on the back. This swimming style has the advantage of easy breathing, but the disadvantage of swimmers not being able to see where they are going. It also has a different start from the other three competition swimming styles. The swimming style is similar to an upside down front crawl or freestyle. Both backstroke and front crawl are long-axis strokes. In individual medley backstroke is the second style swum; in the medley relay it is the first style swum.
Medley is a combination of four different swimming styles—butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle—into one race. This race is either swum by one swimmer as individual medley (IM) or by four swimmers as a medley relay.
Swimming has been a sport at every modern Summer Olympics. It has been open to women since 1912. Along with track & field athletics and gymnastics, it is one of the most popular spectator sports at the Games. Swimming has the second-highest number of Olympic events.
The swimming competitions at the 2008 Summer Olympics took place from 9 to 17 August 2008 at the Beijing National Aquatics Centre. The newly introduced open water marathon events (10 km) were held on 20 and 21 August 2008 at Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park.
Streamline form is a swimming technique that is used underwater in every stroke. At the start of a race or on a turn, streamline form is used, usually along with a dolphin kick or flutter kick, to create the least amount of resistance to help the swimmer propel as far as they can. Many factors contribute to the perfect streamline form and mastering this method increases a swimmer’s speed. Streamline is one of the key fundamentals to mastering any stroke.
This article includes the world record progression for the 4×100 metres medley relay, and it shows the chronological history of world record times in that competitive swimming event. The 4×100 metres medley relay is a medley race in which each of four swimmers on a team swims a 100-metre leg of the relay, each swimming a different stroke, in the following sequence:
Paralympic swimming is an adaptation of the sport of swimming for athletes with disabilities. Paralympic swimmers compete at the Summer Paralympic Games and at other sports competitions throughout the world. The sport is governed by the International Paralympic Committee. Both men and women compete in Paralympic swimming, racing against competitors of their own gender. Swimming has been a part of the Paralympic program since the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy.
Freestyle is a category of swimming competition, defined by the rules of the International Swimming Federation (FINA), in which competitors are subject to few limited restrictions on their swimming stroke. Freestyle races are the most common of all swimming competitions, with distances beginning with 50 meters and reaching 1500 meters, also known as the mile. The term 'freestyle stroke' is sometimes used as a synonym for 'front crawl', as front crawl is the fastest swimming stroke. It is now the most common stroke used in freestyle competitions.
Competitive swimming in Britain started around 1830, mostly using breaststroke. Swimming was part of the first modern Olympic games in 1896 in Athens. In 1908, the world swimming association, Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), was formed.
The women's 400 metre individual medley event at the 1964 Summer Olympics took place on 15–17 October. This swimming event used medley swimming and this was the first time for this event in this distance for the women swimmers. Because an Olympic size swimming pool is 50 metres long, this race consisted of eight lengths of the pool. The first two lengths were swum using the butterfly stroke, the second pair with the backstroke, the third pair of lengths in breaststroke, and the final two were freestyle. Unlike other events using freestyle, swimmers could not use butterfly, backstroke, or breaststroke for the freestyle leg; most swimmers use the front crawl in freestyle events.
The men's 400 metre individual medley event at the 1972 Summer Olympics took place August 30. This swimming event used medley swimming. Because an Olympic size swimming pool is 50 metres long, this race consisted of eight lengths of the pool. The first two lengths were swum using the butterfly stroke, the second pair with the backstroke, the third pair of lengths in breaststroke, and the final two were freestyle. Unlike other events using freestyle, swimmers could not use butterfly, backstroke, or breaststroke for the freestyle leg; most swimmers use the front crawl in freestyle events.
The swimming competitions at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London took place from 28 July to 4 August at the Aquatics Centre. The open-water competition took place from 9 to 10 August in Hyde Park.
The 13th FINA World Swimming Championships were held at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, Canada from 6 to 11 December 2016. These championships featured swimming events in a 25-meter (short-course) pool.
The swimming events of the 15th FINA World Aquatics Championships were held July 28 – August 4, 2013, in Barcelona, Spain. The competition was held in a long course pool inside the Palau Sant Jordi. It featured 40 LCM events, split evenly between males and females. Swimming was one of the five aquatic disciplines at the championships.
This article includes the world record progression for the 4×50 metres medley relay and it shows the chronological history of world record times in that competitive short course swimming event. The 4×50 metres medley relay is a medley race in which each of four swimmers on a team swims a 50-metre leg of the relay, each swimming a different stroke, in the following sequence:
The swimming competitions at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima will take place from 6 to 10 August at the Aquatic Centre. The open-water marathon will be held on August 4 in Laguna Bujama.