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History Of Swimming

What is the history of Swimming? What are its origins? Where did Swimming come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Swimming.

Swimming History

Table of Contents


What are the basic rules of Swimming?

Many spectators mistake swimming for a simple racing sport. In reality, there are many rules and regulations in swimming, and swimmers must follow a specific technique. To monitor the competitors, there are many different types of officials:

  • Referee
  • Starter
  • Stroke Judge
  • Turn Judge
  • Place Judge
  • Timekeepers
  • Chief Timekeeper

Aside from avoiding a false start, the most important rules in swimming revolve around the technique. The technique to be followed is determined by the type of race. The options are freestyle, breastroke, butterfly, and backstroke. Competitors can only break out of the given stroke type when they are turning around at the end of the pool.

The referee has the final say it what happens. He or she is the only one who can disqualify a swimmer, and has many other responsibilities. The starter also has a very important job: he is the one who you hear saying "Take your marks" before starting the race.

Which Country Started Swimming?

Swimming originates from the first humans, who had to swim in order to find food and avoid starvation. However, swimming as a sport didn't begin until the 1800's. Athletic swimming is believed to have started in Britain. The National Swimming Society was formed around then, and they held races in indoor swimming pools around Britain.

Australia also deserves some mention, as they held some of the first swimming championships in the 1840's.

In 1896, the first ever modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece. Swimming was featured as one of the sports at these Olympics, and has stayed an Olympic sport ever since. At the time, there were just four swimming events: two 100 meter events, a 500 meter event, and a 1200 meter event. One of the 100 meter events was only for sailors, and was first won by Greek sailor Ioannis Malokinis. The other winners of the first events were Alfred Hajos (Hungary), and Austria's Paul Neumann. Hajos won both the 100 meter and 1200 meter events.

Who Invented Swimming?

No one person invented swimming, and swimming itself started with the very first humans. As a sport, however, the National Swimming Society gets a lot of credit. They held competitions in Britain in the early 19th century.

In 1873 John Trudgen invented a new swimming stroke named the front crawl. The front crawl eventually became what is known as the freestyle today. The freestyle is now the fastest and most easy stroke.

When was Swimming Established?

Swimming was established at different times in different countries. In Britain, swimming was first established in 1837. Their first swimming organization had six indoor pools, each with diving boards.

In Australia, swimming originated in 1846. Australia held swimming championships, and held subsequent competitions each year after.

In the United States, swimming wasn't established until 1888.

FINA, or the Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur was formed in 1909. This was the first ever global swimming association. They laid out rules, regulations, and competitions for years to come. They also governed over the sport of diving, and other aquatic sports.

There is some belief that swimming originated before the 19th century. However, it was during the 1800's that swimming became popular. In this century many modern day sports were just starting up, and swimming is no different. However, swimming became popular much quicker than other sports. There were many competitions and championships held right away, and this created interest in the world of swimming leading up to the first ever modern Olympics.

In 1896 the first modern Olympics happened, and swimming was a big success. This grew the popularity of swimming, and grew the sport. New strokes were already added by the time the 1900 Olympics were held.

  • Britain
  • Australia
  • U.S.A.
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • China
  • Australia
  • Italy
  • Russia
  • Hungary
  • Netherlands

Swimming History Key Facts and Timeline

  • Early 1800's - National Swimming Society formed in Britain
  • 1830's - Competitions held in Britain
  • 1846 - Australia holds first championships
  • 1873 - Invention of the front crawl
  • 1888 - U.S.A. Nationally Organizes Swimming
  • 1896 - First Modern Olympics, swimming is an included sport
  • 1909 - Global Swimming Association Created
  • 1912 - Women's swimming events added to Olympics


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