A Brief History Of Swimming

A Brief History Of Swimming

History of Swimming

From iSport Swimming

Ever wonder when Human Beings started considering swimming as a sport?  It seems as though people are able to swim virtually coming out of the womb, and so it stands to reason that humans have been swimming as recreation, relaxation, or sport ever since they stood upright.  However, this post from iSport Swimming documents some important milestones in the long and storied history of documented swimming as a sport, and gives some historical context to swimming and swimming pools.  Next time you are watching your kids at the high school swim meet, or frolicking in your own backyard swimming pool, remember the titans of swimming that helped get you to that point.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Although humans have been swimming for thousands of years, swimming only became a competitive sport in the early 1800s. Today, swimming is the third most-watched sport in the Olympic Games.

Crossing the English Channel

In 1875, Matthew Webb ignited public interest in swimming when he became the first person to swim across the English Channel. Swimming only breastroke, it took him more than 21 hours to complete this feat. Thirty-one years would pass before another person would successfully swim across the Channel.

The Debut of Modern Olympic Swimming

In the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, men competed in four swimming events, all contested in the choppy open water of the Mediterranean Sea. Four years later at the 1900 Summer Games in Paris, all the swimming events (which included an obstacle course) were contested in the Seine River.

Freestyle Evolves

In the early years of recreational and competitive swimming, breastroke was the only stroke swum. In 1902, Australian Richard Cavill was the first to swim with an up-and-down kick and alternating over-arm recoveries. This stroke, dubbed the “Australian crawl,” was the beginning of modern freestyle. Johnny Weissmuller (who went on greater fame playing Tarzan in the movie of the same name) became the first man to break the one-minute barrier in the 100 Freestyle in 1912.

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