History Of Swimming
The English are considered the first modern society to develop swimming as a sport. By 1837 swimming competitions were being held in London’s six artificial pools, these competitions were organized by the National Swimming Society in England. As the sport grew in popularity many more swimming pools were built, and when a new governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association of Great Britain, was organized in 1880, it numbered more than 300 member clubs.
In 1896, swimming became an Olympic sport for men with the 100 meters and 1500 meters freestyle competitions held in open water. Soon after, as swimming gained popularity, more freestyle events were included, followed by the backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke, and lastly, the individual medley.
For a variety of reasons, women were excluded from swimming in the first several Olympic Games. In 1896 and again in 1906, women could not participate because the developer of the modern games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, held firmly to the assumption, common in the Victorian era, that women were too frail to engage in competitive sports. It was only at the 1912 Games when women’s swimming made its debut at the prompting of the group that later became known as the International Olympic Committee.
The first modern Olympic Games had only four swimming events, three of them freestyle. The second Olympics in Paris in 1900 included three unusual swimming events. One used an obstacle course; another was a test of underwater swimming endurance; the third was a 4,000-metre event, the longest competitive swimming event ever. None of the three was ever used in the Olympics again.
From this humble beginning with four swimming events, the Olympics have now developed to 32 swimming races, 16 for men and 16 for women. The Special Olympics includes competitive swimming for people with disabilities and has 22 events for men and 22 for women.
The first swimming meet approved by the NCAA was held in 1924 at the U.S. Naval Academy. It was not until 1937 that the NCAA classed it as an official National Collegiate Championship Meet.
- BASIC SWIMMING RULES
The technical rules of swimming are designed to provide fair and equitable conditions for competitionand to promote uniformity in the sport. Each swimming stroke has specific rules designed to ensure that no swimmer gets an unfair competitive advantage over another swimmer. The technical rules for each stroke may be found in the publication “Unites States Swimming Rules and Regulations”. You can ask the coachto see a copy of this booklet.
- COMPETITIVE STROKE
The four competitive strokes are (1) freestyle, (2) backstroke, (3) breaststroke, and (4) butterfly. Events are held in all of the competitive strokes at varying distances depending on the age-group of the swimmer. In addition, there is a combination of the strokes swum by one swimmer called the individual medley (IM). Other swimming events include relays, which are a group of four swimmers who either all swim freestyle (freestyle relay) or each swim one of the competitive strokes in the order of backstroke, breaststroke,butterfly and freestyle (medley relay).
In Freestyle events, the competitor may swim any stroke. The stroke most commonly used is sometimes called the crawl, which is characterized by the alternate stroking of the arms over the water
surface and an alternating (up-and-down) flutter kick. On turns and finishes, some part of the swimmer must touch the wall. Most swimmers do a flip turn.
The Butterfly features a simultaneous recovery of the arms over the water combined with an undulating dolphin kick. In the kick, the swimmer must keep both legs together and may not flutter, scissors or use the breaststroke kick. Both hands must touch the wall simultaneously on the turns and the finish.
- INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
Commonly referred to as the I.M., features all four strokes. In the IM, the swimmer begins with the butterfly, then changes after one-fourth of the race to backstroke, then breaststroke and finally freestyle.
The swimmers are not allowed a false start. If they jump the start and the starter thinks they are trying to get an advantage (whether intentional or not-it does not matter), they will be taken out of the race. This is not like the Olympics where they are allowed two false starts.