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Competitive swimming was first introduced in the early 1800s in Britain by the National Swimming Society.

At that time, there were man-made indoor pools in London and the National Swimming Society of England used them for swimming competitions. These events became popular in England and led to the formation of the Amateur Swimming Association in 1880. The swimming strokes used in this time period were the side stroke and the breast stroke. In 1873 John Trudgen introduced the front crawl to Britain used with a scissor or flutter kick. This enhanced speeds and made swimming competitions new and exciting. Improvements to the front crawl, either by different kicks or different ratios of kicks to strokes, resulted in the fastest swimming style known today, now called the freestyle stroke. In 1896 the Olympic Games were held in Greece in the city of Athens. Swimming was included and there were four swimming contests held. They were: 100 m, 100 m for sailors, the 500 m and the 1200 m competitions. Hungarys Alfred Hajos won the first gold medal in the history of swimming in the 100 m freestyle and the 1200 m race. Paul Neumann from Austria won the 500 m event. A Greek sailor named Ioannis Malokinis won the 100 m for sailors. In 1900 the Olympic Games were held in Paris, France and had the 200 m, 1000 m and 4000 m and 200 m backstroke and a 200 m relay race. The Paris Games also had an underwater and a swimming against the current races. The 4000 m freestyle race was won by British swimmer John Jarvis. The 4000 m event was the longest swimming competition event ever held in the history of swimming. The backstroke was used in the Olympics in the sport of water polo, for the first time. In 1904 the Olympic Games in St Louis, Missouri held the 50 yards (46 m), 100 yards, 220 yards (200 m), 440 yards, 880 yards (800 m) and one mile

(1.6 km) freestyle, 100 yards (91 m) backstroke and 440 yards (400 m) breaststroke, and the 450 yards freestyle relay. In the history of swimming, this was the first time that the Olympics specified if an event was freestyle or breaststroke. In 1908 the Fdration Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) which was the first world swimming association, was formed. In 1912 at the Olympic Games in Stockholm, women swam competitively for the first time. Womens races were held in the 100 m freestyle and the 100 m freestyle relay. The mens events were the 100 m, 400 m, and 1500 m freestyle, 100 m backstroke, 200 m and 400 m breaststroke, and a 4200 m freestyle relay. This was a milestone Olympic Games for swimming. Women were being allowed to compete for the first time in the history of swimming; and men had an extensive list of competitive races that were held. In 1922, Johnny Weissmuller became the first person to swim 100 m in under a minute. Weissmuller went on to win five Olympic medals and 36 national championships, igniting an interest in competitive swimming that was never seen before. Weissmuller never lost a race over a career spanning ten years. His record of 51 seconds in the 100 yard freestyle event was unbroken for the next 17 years. He later went on to Hollywood fame as the star of numerous Tarzan films. Also in 1922, female swimmer Sybil Bauer was the first woman to break the mens 440 m backstroke record. Competitive swimming went to the forefront of sports due to these record-breaking feats. Mark Spitz in 1972 broke all records in the history of swimming at the 1972 Summer Olympics and won seven gold medals. Spitz was a phenomenal swimmer and won a total of 9 Olympic gold medals, a silver, a bronze, five

Pan Am golds, 31 other amateur titles and 8 college titles. He accumulated this impressive total of titles between the years of 1968-1972. Spitz, at the 1972 Olympics, broke world records in each of the seven events he won gold medals. Competitive swimming has not seen the likes of Spitz until Michael Phelps. As of this date, Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals. Phelps won 6 gold and 2 bronze in 2004 in Athens. In 2008 at the Beijing Olympics he won 8 gold medals. With these accomplishments, Phelps has twice tied with a total record of eight gold medals at one Olympics. The history of swimming has been a documented and varied one. From the sidestroke to the current freestyle strokes, swimming has, and continues to be, an exciting and ever evolving sport.

Swimming Strokes
The freestyle stroke, as it's name implies, is not limited by any particular technique. The stroke we now call freestyle, which is also known as the front crawl or Australian crawl, has been used since early last century. Only 15 meters can be swum underwater (from the start and from each turn), otherwise some body part must always be above the water. Some believe that the freestyle stroke was developed by Richard Cavill, an Australian who combined the overarm stroke with the up and down kick motion.

Swimmers of the breast stroke must follow strict rules when performing the stroke. Their shoulders must be kept in line with the water, arm and leg movements must be pushed forward together, and brought back under the surface of the water. At the turn and finish, both hands must touch the wall together. At the start and first stroke and kick after a turn, the swimmers are allowed one arm stroke and one leg kick. At all other

times the swimmer's head must be kept above the surface of the water. No dolphin, scissors or flutter kicks are allowed, nor tumble turns.

The butterfly stroke evolved from experiments with the breaststroke. This technique may have been invented by the German E. Rademacher in 1926, and improved upon by American Henry Meyer and accepted in competition in 1933. However, it took many controversial years up to 1953 before the butterfly stroke was officially recognized and included in the Olympic Games (in 1956). When swimming the butterfly stroke, the swimmers must keep their shoulders in line with the surface of the water, and make arm and leg movements together. They also must not swim underwater, except for the first stroke after the start and each turn. Only 15 meters are allowed underwater at the start and after each turn, and the wall must be touched with both hands.

When swimming the backstroke, the swimmers remain on their back. This technique was first swum with a frog kick (like the breaststroke) then the up and down from that is used now. Similar to the freestyle, only 15 meters can be spent underwater from the start or from each turn. In 1991, the rules were changed so that when turning, the swimmers did not have to touch the wall with their hand, enabling them to do a much faster turn.

Medley relays
In the individual medley races, the order of strokes is butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. In the medley relay, the order is backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle, with the first swimmer starting in the water.

Swimming Terms
Negative Splits
When the second half of a race is swum faster than the first half.

Shave Down

Swimmers commonly shave off excessive body hair just prior to major competitions. This may include all body hair including their head. The reasoning for this is to reduce the very slight drag effect on the swimmer's speed. Even though the physiological effect of this may be slight, the psychological effect of the feeling can be considerable. This practice may be limited now that full body suits are often used.

Split Times
Split times are the times taken for each individual section (50m, 100m) of a race, or the times of each individual in a relay race.

Stroke Shortening
As swimmers start to tire, each stroke may become less effective. To compensate for this, they will often increase the frequency of the stroke rate, without increasing overall swimming speed.

The taper is an important part of the preparation of swimmers to competition, whereas they modify their training so as to be in peak condition and fresh for their event. It may last from a few days to several weeks.

The Science of Swimming

Biomechanics & Physics
Sports Biomechanics is the application of physics and mechanics to the human body during sport. In such a technical sport such as swimming, it plays a very important part. Humans aren't the best swimmers; we can swim at 5 mph compared to a sailfish which can move through the water at 65 mph.
Through the water

Water is 773 as dense as air and 55 times as viscous. From the start, the body position on the block must be maximized to achieve the most efficient push off and get the body in position to enter the water, to make the 'hole ' to follow in through. Biomechanics also

helps to understand the best body position to reduce drag following the dive, to maximize the speed that is achieved off the blocks. After the push off the wall, body position is also important to have a streamlined glide away from the wall and reduce drag. For each stroke, the technique has developed over the years due to close examination and research by sports biomechanics staff.
Body Suits

Biomechanics is also involved in the development of the swimming suit, that is often seen on the world swimming stage. The friction due to the flow of water over the body of the swimmer causes drag and slows the swimmers down. Science has developed special swimming suits that, though several different principles, reduces this drag. In February 2008 the LZR Racer was released, followed by many others in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olmpics. Some of the attributes of these suits include ridges on the suit to reduce turbulence and flow the water around the body, tight fitting suits that give proprioceptive feedback to help keep body form in the water, and surface pockets that hold air or water particles in the surface layer of the suit (like dimples in a golf ball), reducing surface friction. After debating whether these suits should be allowed, FINA decided on these regulations to be in place from the World Championships in 2009:

Suit no more than 1 mm thick suits not to extend past the shoulders or ankles no tailored suits no more than one suit at a time

Shaving Heads

Most swimmers wear a swimming cap, but others prefer to shave their heads and even the rest of their body in what they call a 'shave down' before a big race. For the same reason that swimmers will wear a body suit, the hair on the body causes drag in the water. Drag, otherwise known as resistance, slow the swimmer down. By making the head smooth and streamlined, water flows more smoothly over it. Latex or lycra caps can do the same thing for those that prefer to keep their hair on their heads.

DoS Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible.

Donts Don't rely on swimming lessons, life preservers or other equipment to make a child "water safe." There is no substitute for supervision.

Teach yourself water safety/rescue and swimming skills.

Appoint a "designated-water watcher" to monitor children during social gatherings at/or near bodies of water.

Don't ever leave a child alone in a body of water (bathtub, pool, etc.), 2 seconds is too long, let the phone ring.

Don't allow children to push Always brief babysitters on water playmates, jump on others, "dunk" safety, emphasizing the need for one another, dive or jump in shallow constant supervision. water.

Keep rescue equipment accessible at pool side and post CPR instructions.

Don't leave objects such as toys that might attract a child in the pool or pool area.

Invest in layers of protection for backyard pools such as: installing doors and windows that exit to a pool area with alarms and fencing with self closing latches.

Don't use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.

Never prop the gate to a pool area open.

Maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or pool area.

Never assume someone else is watching a child in a pool area.

Install a poolside phone, preferably a fully charged cordless model, with emergency numbers programmed into the speed dial.

Don't leave chairs or other items of furniture where a child could use them to climb into a fenced pool area.

If a child is missing, check all sources of water near home first; seconds count in preventing death or disability.

Don't think you'll hear a child who is in trouble in the water; drowning is a silent death, with no splashing to alert anyone that there

is trouble.

Introduction to swimming
Swimming is an activity that burns lots of calories, is easy on the joints, supports your weight, builds muscular strength and endurance, improves cardiovascular fitness, cools you off and refreshes you in summer, and one that you can do safely into old age. In this article, I'll review the history of swimming, the benefits, the strokes, how to get started, what to wear, equipment you need, where to do it, and more.

What is the history of swimming?

Human beings have been swimming for millennia. According to Wikipedia, Stone Age cave drawings depict individuals swimming and there are written references in the Bible and the Greek poems "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" dating back 1,500 to 2,000 years. There are even Egyptian clay seals from 4000 BC showing four swimmers doing a version of the crawl, and the most famous swimming drawings were apparently found in the Kebir desert and were estimated to also be from around 4000 BC. According to the Encyclopedia of Traditional British Rural Sports, literature specifically related to swimming grew in the middle ages. It is believed that the first book devoted to swimming was Colymbetes by Nicolas Wynman written in 1538, and a more widely recognized text, De Arte Nantandi, was published in Latin by Everard Digby in 1587. The encyclopedia also reports that swimming was required of knights and that Romans built bathhouses and pools wherever they conquered to serve as social clubs and places toexercise. Organized swimming began in the 1800s and 1900s with the creation of swimming associations (for example, the Amateur Swimming Association in 1886) and clubs that competed against each other. There are reports from

that era of swimming clubs in England, France, Germany, and the United States. High-profile events also contributed to swimming's visibility. For instance, Matthew Webb swam the English Channel in 1875. Competitive swimming continued to grow in popularity during the 1800s and was included in the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. In 1904, the Olympics in St. Louis included the 50-, 100-, 220-, 440-, 880-yard and one-mile freestyle, the 100-yard backstroke and 440-yard breaststroke, and a 4x50-yard freestyle relay. By the 20th century, swimming had become mainstream. Indoor pools were beginning to appear, most towns with populations over 20,000 had public outdoor pools, and swimming clubs became increasingly popular for recreation. Women participated for the first time in swimming in the Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912, and Johnny Weissmuller (considered by many authorities to be the greatest swimmer of all time and who later went on to Tarzan fame in movies) became the first person to swim 100 meters in less than one minute. Today swimming is the second most popular exercise activity in the United States, with approximately 360 million annual visits to recreational water venues. Swim clubs, recreation centers, Y's, and many other facilities feature swimming pools. Many high schools and colleges have competitive swim teams, and of course, swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports. Millions of Americans are swimming each year. Are you one of them? If not, the following information may help get you started.

What equipment do I need for swimming?


You'll need a swimsuit unless you plan on skinny-dipping! Like many other things, technology has entered the swimsuit arena as well. Fabrics are designed for minimal resistance through the water, they tend to last a long time, and they resist fading even when used repeatedly in chlorinated pools. Of course, not all of us would be comfortable in the skimpy racing suits that you see Olympians wear, but the good news is that you can find more modest suits at sporting goods and department stores as well as through a number of online vendors (see the resources section). The bottom line to a swimsuit is to select one that's comfortable. You're less likely to swim if you're uncomfortable in your suit. Goggles Goggles protect your eyes from chlorine (and anything else that may be in the water), and they help you keep your eyes open while you swim so that you can see where you're going. You can even get prescription swim goggles if you wear glasses (check with your optician for availability). To find the right pair of goggles, do the following:

the goggles over your eyes without slinging the strap over your head.
Press The

the goggles into your eye sockets and let go.

goggles should stay in place. until you find the pair that fits your eyes best (price range:


$10-$20). Bathing caps Bathing caps can serve several purposes. Some pool managers will require individuals with long hair to wear caps to keep hair from getting into the pool, and some people just like to protect their hair from the chlorine in the

water. You may also decide to wear a bathing cap to cut down on resistance in the water. This really works, and so if you're looking to increase your time a bit, a bathing cap might help. Many caps are made of latex, although you can find silicone, neoprene (keeps you warm), and Lycra as well. Choose the one that fits your head and is most comfortable (price range: $2-$10). Flotation devices and other stuff There are a number of flotation devices and other equipment available to help you learn how to swim, improve your swimming times if you start to get competitive, and add resistance to your water workouts to build muscular strength and tone. Flotation devices help keep you afloat so that you can slow down and work on your swim stroke without sinking or too much fatigue, and they help with confidence for individuals who don't know how to swim. Read on to learn more about floatation devices. Kickboards (price range: $7-$15) Kickboards are devices made of foam or other materials that float, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The main purpose is for you to hold on and stay afloat while your legs do all the work. It's good exercise for coordinating your kicking, and it gives your arms a rest. One technique that I suggest to swimmers who want to keep swimming continuously without a break is to leave a kickboard at the end of the pool, and when they get tired, grab the kickboard and do a lap or two with it until they get their arm strength back, and then drop the kickboard off at the end of the pool and swim again until they need the kickboard again. Many pools have kickboards available to try out. Pull buoys (price range: $5-$10) Like kickboards, pull buoys are flotation devices that come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but unlike a kickboard, which gives the upper body a

rest, pull buoys are placed between the legs to keep the legs afloat without kicking so that you can work your upper body. Pull buoys are excellent training devices for building upper-body strength, endurance, and cardiorespiratory fitness. They can also help you work on your form because you can swim slowly and deliberately without sinking. Fins (price range: $20-$35) Fins fit on your feet and add propulsion to your kicks (think of a duck's webfoot). They are great training for your legs and will help you swim faster. They come in long fins for beginners who want to work on their stroke and build up leg strength and ankle flexibility and short fins to help you go faster without overworking your legs. Fins should fit snugly but not so tight that they cut into your foot or cut off circulation. Wear socks with your fins if that feels more comfortable. Hand paddles (price range: $10-$20) Hand paddles attach to your hands and add propulsion to your arm stroke because they move more water. They can be a lot of work for the arms and shoulders because of the resistance in the water, and for this reason, they are used in water aerobic classes to mimic the resistance exercises that you do on land with dumbbells (for example, biceps curls). Hand paddles make a water workout difficult, and so you should warm up in the water without them first, and then build up slowly like you would with any resistance exercise workout so that you don't overwork your arms and shoulder joints. Gloves (price range: $10-$15) Gloves, like hand paddles, also add resistance for your arms, although they are smaller than paddles and so the resistance is lighter. These might be a better choice than paddles if you're just starting out with resistance exercise in the water.

Water dumbbells (price range: $25-$35) Some manufacturers produce dumbbells made of foam for use in the water. They add resistance like paddles or gloves, but you can release them quickly after a set and then grab them again when you're ready. Water creates lots of resistance, and so water dumbbells will make you stronger if you use them consistently. They're fun! Noodle (price range: $5-$10) A noodle is a flexible, tube-shaped flotation device that you can wrap under your arms or around your waist to keep you buoyant so that you can keep moving in the water (kids love to play with them). The advantage of being able to keep moving is that you can work on your stroke without fatigue and increase your strength and endurance. Aqua jogger (price range: $35-$55) Aqua jogger is a flotation device that you wear like a belt. Like a noodle, it permits you to keep on moving without fatigue, so that you can work on your stroke as well as your strength and aerobic fitness, but it's more heavy-duty than a noodle and will accommodate heavier people and more resistance. Aqua joggers also allow you to participate in water aerobic classes and water running without having to know how to swim or break frequently. Water treadmill (price range: $1,500-$20,000) Did you read that right? Yep, water treadmill. There are two types. One is a device that you install in your pool that works with a propeller to create a current of water that you swim in place against (okay, it's not really a treadmill, but you do swim in place). This type is a great training aid and is also used for rehabilitation, but it is very expensive (anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the model and whether you have it installed when your pool is being built or in an existing pool). The other type is a treadmill

that is designed for use in water (price range $1,500 to $2,500). You walk on it just like any land-based treadmill, only there is less strain on your joints because of the water. This type of treadmill is frequently used in rehabilitation. See the resources section or search online for "water treadmill" to learn more. There is one other option for swimming in place, and it's inexpensive ($10$50). Swim stretch cords attach to the side of a pool and to your body so you can swim without going anywhere, or they come with a drag belt (sort of like a mini-parachute) that catches water as you swim and drag it behind you. Both are fine options for getting a great workout.

What are the benefits of swimming?

There are plenty of reasons to swim! Here's a list that should get you motivated. Low impact There's no ground impact when you swim, and so you protect the joints from stress and strain. In fact, the Arthritis Foundation strongly recommends swimming and water activities for this reason, so much so that they sponsor water classes all over the country (check http://www.arthritis.org for information). Water aerobics classes are also desirable for this reason, because even if you do jump and hit the bottom of the pool, you do so with less force because you're buoyant in the water. Not only that, but if you wear or hold a flotation device during a water aerobics class, the impact is even less. Can be continued for a lifetime Because there's no impact with swimming, it can be continued for a lifetime. If you check the United States Masters Swimming

(http://www.usms.org/) Web site for age categories of their swim competitions, you will find a 100- to 104-year-old age group! And the master of fitness, Jack La Lanne, still swims one hour every day at age 93! Builds cardiorespiratory fitness Swimming improves endurance. In one study of sedentary middle-aged men and women who did swim training for 12 weeks, maximal oxygen consumption improved 10% and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each beat which indicates heart strength) improved as much as 18%. Builds muscle mass In a study of men who completed an eight-week swimming program, there was a 23.8% increase in the triceps muscle (the back of the arm). My take on muscle mass and swimming is that if you have been doing no resistance exercise at all and you start to swim, you will certainly get more toned and you may even gain mass like the men in this study. But even without the gain in mass, it's well worth the strength and tone that you will almost certainly gain. An alternative when injured When athletes are injured, particularly in the lower extremities, they are frequently told to swim to maintain their fitness level. Swimming helps them stay in shape, and it's even part of the rehabilitation. That's because the resistance of the water makes the muscles work hard without the strain or impact that is experienced on land. It's a break from the summer heat There's nothing like it during the hot days of summer, whether it's at the beach or in the pool. It's relaxing, the movements are smooth and rhythmic, and it's a great workout.

It's a family affair Swimming and other water activities are something the entire family can share. With rising levels of obesity in children as well as adults in the United States, family physical activities and good role-modeling may be one way to stem the epidemic of inactivity and obesity facing our nation. Burns calories Swimming burns lots of calories, anywhere from 500-650 per hour depending on how efficiently you swim (you burn more flopping around than swimming cleanly!) and how buoyant you are (the more body fat you have, the more you float and the fewer calories it takes to swim). Very early and original research on swimming and calorie expenditure showed that swimming, regardless of the stroke, burned about 89% of the calories burned during running and 97% of the calories burned during cycling for the same time period. Stated another way, swimming burns about 11% fewer calories than running but only 3% fewer calories than biking. One important caveat about this data is that calorie expenditure is dependent on the intensity of exercise, and so it's entirely possible to burn more calories swimming than running in the same period of time as long as you swim hard enough, and particularly so if compared to running at light intensity.