Swimming is the act of propelling one’s body through water using a combination of arm and leg movements as well as the body’s natural flow. Swimming is a popular all-around body builder that is very beneficial in treatment and exercise for physically disabled people. It is also taught with the purpose of saving lives. Diving, lifesaving, surfing, synchronised swimming, underwater diving, and water polo are all swimming-related activities.
Swimming was practised as early as 2500 BC in Egypt, and later in Assyrian, Greek, and Roman civilizations, according to archaeological and other evidence. Swimming was part of combat preparation in Greece and Rome, and it was also part of basic education for men, along with the alphabet. Swimming in the Orient dates back at least to the 1st century BCE, and there is evidence of swimming competitions in Japan since then. Swimming was made compulsory in schools by the 17th century, thanks to an imperial edict. Prior to Japan’s opening to the outside world in the 19th century, organised swimming competitions were staged. Children appear to have learned to swim around the time they left, if not before, among the Pacific’s early mariners. There are accounts of occasional competitions among the ancient Greeks, and a great boxer swam as part of his preparation. Swimming pools, as opposed to baths, were established by the Romans. The earliest heated pool is claimed to have been built by Roman Gaius Maecenas in the first century BC.
Some experts attribute the scarcity of swimming in Europe throughout the Middle Ages to a fear that swimming might spread sickness and trigger epidemics. Swimming in beach resorts in Britain in the late 17th century appears to have been associated with water therapy. Swimming’s appeal as a recreational and sporting activity did not begin in earnest until the nineteenth century. London had six indoor pools with diving boards when the first swimming organisation was founded there in 1837. The inaugural swimming championship, a 400-meter event, was conducted in Australia in 1846, and it was held every year following that. The Metropolitan Swimming Clubs of London, founded in 1869, eventually became the Amateur Swimming Association, the British amateur swimming regulatory organisation. Between 1882 and 1889, national swimming federations were created in a number of European countries. When the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) was created in 1888, it was the first organisation to organise swimming as a national sport in the United States. In the year 1909, the Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) was established.
Competition swimming became well-known on a global scale after its introduction in the modern Olympic Games in 1896. Originally, only men competed in the Olympics, but in 1912, women’s events were included. The games contained some unusual events prior to the founding of FINA. When the games’ swimming events were held on the Seine in France in 1900, for example, a 200-meter obstacle course entailed climbing over a pole and swimming under a row of boats. After FINA took over, strange things stopped happening. According to FINA standards, race lengths were increasingly measured in metres for both Olympic and other world competitions, and the world record for farm-measured races was scrapped in 1969. Freestyle (crawl), backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly were the only strokes allowed. Individual medley races used all four strokes. Hungary, Denmark, Australia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and the United States have all dominated Olympic and international tournaments at one point or another.