Swimming is an individual or team sport that uses arms and legs to move the body through water. The sport takes place in pools or open water (e.g., in a sea or lake). Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with varied distance events in butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and individual medley. In addition to these individual events, four swimmers can take part in either a freestyle or medley relay. Swimming each stroke requires specific techniques, and in competition, there are specific regulations concerning the acceptable form for different strokes.
Men's swimming became part of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens. In 1908, the world swimming association, Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), was formed. Women's swimming was introduced into the Olympics in 1912; the first international tournament for women outside the Olympics was the 1922 Women's Olympiad.
FINA is the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for administering international competition in water sports. It is one of several international federations which administer a given sport or discipline for the IOC and international community. FINA currently oversees competition in five aquatics sports: swimming, diving, artistic swimming, water polo, and open water swimming.
Events of FINA:
- World Aquatics Championships: The biggest FINA event is the biennial World Aquatics Championships, currently held every odd year. It features competitions in all five aquatic disciplines.
- Discipline championships
- Swimming: World Swimming Championships (25m), (a.k.a. "Short Course Worlds"). Bi-annual event (in even years), swum in 25-meter length pool (Olympic and World Championships are in a 50m pool).
- Open Water: World Open Water Swimming Championships (a.k.a. "Open Water Worlds").
- Artistic swimming: Synchro World Trophy.
- Masters: World Masters Championships (a.k.a. "Masters Worlds"). Bi-annual, in even years. "Masters" competition is for adults (20 years old and up). This championships features all 5 disciplines.
- Discipline world cups: In addition to the championships events listed above, FINA also organizes the following events:
- Swimming: Swimming World Cup.
- Open Water: 10 km Marathon Swimming World Cup.
- Artistic Swimming: Synchro World Cup. Every 4 years.
- Junior championships: A world-level championships restricted to a younger age, vary by discipline/gender:
- Swimming: World Junior Swimming Championships.
- Open Water: Junior Open Water Swimming World Championships.
- Artistic Swimming: World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships
The Swimming Federation of India (SFI) is the central governing body for promotion and administration of swimming sport in India. The SFI is affiliated to FINA, the world governing body for the sport. SFI was formed after the amalgamation of its predecessors – the National Swimming Association (NSA) and the Indian Swimming Federation (ISF). The SFI was formed in 1948
The SFI Annually conducts the following events:
- Sub Junior National Aquatic Championships
- Junior National Aquatic Championships
- Senior National Aquatic Championships
- National Masters Swimming
- National Club Championships
Swimming meets in India: upcoming meets
Some of the organisations offering swimming training in India are:
- Nisha Millet Swimming Academy, Bangalore: visit (www.nishamillet.com)
- Michael Phelps Swimming School: visit (michaelphelpsswimming.in)
- YMCA Swimming Pool, Tardeo, Mumbai: visit (ymcabombay.org)
- Ramagya Sports Academy, Noida: visit (ramagyasportsacademy.com)
- Fitso Seals, Noida: visit (www.getfitso.com)
- Dolphin Swimming Academy, Chennai: visit (www.dolphinswimmingacademy.com)
Competitive swimming: Competitive swimming became popular in the 19th century. The goal of competitive swimming is to break personal or world records while beating competitors in any given event. Swimming is an event at the Summer Olympic Games, where male and female athletes compete in 16 of the recognized events each. Olympic events are held in a 50-meter pool, called a long course pool. There are forty officially recognized individual swimming events in the pool; however the International Olympic Committee only recognizes 32 of them.
Open water: In open water swimming, where the events are swum in a body of open water (lake or sea), there are also 5 km, 10 km and 25 km events for men and women. However, only the 10 km event is included in the Olympic schedule, again for both men and women. Open-water competitions are typically separate to other swimming competitions with the exception of the World Championships and the Olympics.
Swim styles: In competitive swimming, four major styles have been established. These have been relatively stable over the last 30–40 years with minor improvements. They are:
In competition, only one of these styles may be used except in the case of the individual medley, or IM, which consists of all four. In this latter event, swimmers swim equal distances of butterfly, then backstroke, breaststroke, and finally, freestyle. In Olympic competition, this event is swum in two distances – 200 and 400 meters.
Dolphin kick: Since the 1990s, the most drastic change in swimming has been the addition of the underwater dolphin kick. This is used to maximize the speed at the start and after the turns in all styles. The first successful use of it was by David Berkoff. At the 1988 Olympics, he swam most of the 100 m backstroke race underwater and broke the world record in the distance during the preliminaries. however currently swimmers are not allowed to go any further than fifteen metres underwater due to rule changes by FINA.
Elite and international swimming: Elite and international swimming comprises the highest level of competition available to swimmers, including competitions such as the Olympic Games and FINA World Aquatics Championships.
Professionalism: Swimming creates a mix of levels, including: fully professional, semi-professional, and amateur. Fully professional swimmers will typically get a salary both from their national governing body and from outside sponsors, semi-professionals a small stipend from their national governing body, and amateurs receive no funding.
Health benefits: Swimming is a healthy workout that can be done for a lifetime. It is a low-impact workout that has several mental and bodily health benefits, and can be a recreational activity. Swimming builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness.
Common injuries: Due to continuous rotation and usage, the shoulder (rotator cuff) is the joint most susceptible to injury in swimmers.