Swimming

Swimming is a sport that turns tides for everyone who experiences the competition. It is an exciting sport and one of the easiest sports to practice. Although mastering it takes time, it is a sport that most people do in daily life. It is a water sport and takes its place in the Summer Olympics. There are four different strokes in the sport. The common one is freestyle, followed by backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Many swimmers have graced the swimming pool while performing well to their abilities. Along with the Olympics, the FINA World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the World Short Course Championships. The length of the swimming pool is 50 meters long and 25 meters wide. Likewise, the short course pool is 25 meters long and the world records between the short course and long course pools are kept separately.

18 Sep 2000: Michael Phelps of the USA in action during the Mens 200m Butterfly Heats at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre on Day Three of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Mandatory Credit: Ross Kinnaird /Allsport (Getty)

History of swimming

The sport originated way back when humans swam in the water to find food. Until the 1800s, they did not consider swimming to be a sport. Athletic swimming is believed to have started in Britain. Likewise, the swimming championships in the 1840s were put to the forefront by Australia. As they held the 1896 Olympics in Athens, Greece, swimming became a staple part of the competitions, henceforth. With just four swimming events at first, a Greek sailor named Ioannis Malokinis won the first competition.

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Britain established swimming pools in 1837. Likewise, swimming originated in Australia in 1846. The USA established swimming in 1888. With most countries taking up the sport, FINA, or the Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur was founded in 1909.

The four swimming strokes

There are four different strokes of swimming. The four disciplines have different events amongst them. The four strokes are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Hence, these strokes are used in major swimming competitions. The first stroke is freestyle. It is the most commonly used swimming stoke as it has the most events at the Olympic Games. It is usually known as the front crawl and is one of the fastest swimming stokes in the world.

ATHENS - AUGUST 19: Michael Phelps of USA competes in the men's swimming 200 metre individual medley final on August 19, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Main Pool of the Olympic Sports Complex Aquatic Centre in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The next stroke is the backstroke where swimmers swim with their backs inside the water. This is a stroke that enables a swimmer to breathe from above but swimmers cannot see the endpoint. The start of this stroke is inside the water and swimmers swim their way to the finishing point. After that comes the breaststroke. The breaststroke is a comfortable swimming stroke and the swimmer's head comes out of the water. It is a style in which the swimmer is on their chest and is one of the slowest strokes in the competition. The leg kicks are similar to a frog and it is a comfortable stroke.

The final stroke is the butterfly which is one of the hardest strokes in swimming. A person swims on the chest with both hands going symmetrically. The swimmer uses a dolphin kick to do this stroke. Technically, it is a hard stroke and swimmers require great physical conditioning to pull this off.

Greatest swimmers in the world

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The sport has produced some of the best talents the Olympics has seen. Many of them have won an incredible number of medals and dominated the competition. These are the world's most talented swimmers to grace the swimming pool.

  • Michael Phelps: Arguably the greatest swimmer of all time, Michael Phelps is just a phenomenon. He won 28 Olympic medals of which 23 are gold medals. He won eight gold medals at a single Olympic Games, breaking world records throughout his career.

  • Mark Spitz: The nine-time Olympic champion once won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics, which was ultimately broken by Phelps. World Magazine selected him as World Swimmer of the Year in 1969, 1971, and 1972.

  • Ian Thorpe: The Australian Thorpedo is the best swimmer to come out of Australia. He won five Olympic gold medals and had one of the best swimming motions, in the sport's history. He was a four-time World swimmer of the year.

  • Matt Biondi: The American swimmer was one of the best swimmers in the world with eleven Olympic medals. He is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 28: Katie Ledecky of Team United States celebrates after winning the Women’s 1500m Freestyle Final on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 28, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

  • Katie Ledecky: Still going strong, Katie Ledecky is the benchmark for women swimmers. She won seven Olympic gold medals and is one of the most decorated swimmers in the world. She won her first gold medal at the age of 15 at the 2012 London Olympics.

  • Dara Torres: She is a 12-time Olympic medalist and held three world records during her career. She became the oldest swimmer to win an Olympic medal at the age of 41.

  • Natalie Coughlin: A 12-time Olympic medalist, Coughlin became the first woman ever to swim the 100-meter backstroke (long course) in less than one minute. She won six Olympic medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

  • Adam Peaty: Including the British swimmer on the list may raise a few eyebrows but Peaty is the breaststroke swimmer in the world. He has all the top 10 times in breaststroke.

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