History of Swimming
It is believed that swimming appeared around 2500 B.C. in Egypt. People learned how to swim accidentally (Belson, 2016). The first person who began to swim probably fell into the water and fought to get to the shore using the dog-paddle stroke. Two thousand years later, swimming was a part of Greek and Roman military training. Diving into the sea was also among ancient Roman sporting activities. During the sixteenth century, swimming was forbidden because there were several epidemics at that time, and people could get infected through water (Murphy, 2013). The current paper seeks to explore the history of swimming, present the world record-holders, and discuss the benefits of swimming.
England is considered to be one of the first nations where swimming started as a competitive and recreational sport. The first swimming pool was built in England in 1862, and later many other swimming pools were constructed after the establishment of the Amateur Swimming Association in 1880 (Murphy, 2013). This association had more than three hundred members. The major styles used in swimming during that time were the sidestroke and breaststroke.
Before 1844, the British still swam keeping their heads above water, a relic of the time when people thought that water was polluted. However, in 1874, Trudgen introduced the overhand stroke to England after he had seen American Indians swimming very fast using this method (Belson, 2016).
Swimming competitions were included in the first Olympic Games taking place in 1896 (Belson, 2016). However, swimming at that period was not well-developed. Only men were permitted to participate in competitions that were usually held in the ocean. As a rule, participants did not even wet their faces. Their swimsuits were made out of wool covering them from elbows to knees. Women were first allowed to participate in the Olympic Games in 1912, swimming in a well-designed pool (Murphy, 2013).
In 1935, American male swimmers started wearing swimsuits that did not include the top portion (Clemente, 2014). In the 1972 Olympics, Mark Spitz won six gold medals, and his record was not broken until 2008 (Clemente, 2014). Swimmers first started wearing goggles while swimming in 1976 (Clemente, 2014). The goggles were used to protect the swimmers’ eyes from chlorine in the water.
In 1991, the International Swimming Federation started recognizing world records in short course swimming events (Clemente, 2014). In 2002, Natalie Coughlin became the first woman who swam the 100-meter backstroke less than in one minute. In 2008, Michael Phelps won eight Olympic gold medals breaking Spitz’s world record (Clemente, 2014). According to Chanelle Clemente (2014), in 2010, the International Swimming Federation banned swimsuits made out of non-textile materials because they gave an unfair advantage to swimmers with larger physiques.
Swimming has many benefits outside recreation and competition. Knowing how to swim can be very useful in case of danger. Moreover, swimming can be utilized in physical therapy. It is also a good exercise because many body muscles are used during swimming workouts. Therefore, many resorts build swimming pools for their visitors.
In conclusion, it is believed that swimming originated in Egypt. The Greeks and Romans used swimming during military training. However, swimming started to rapidly develop in England. After some time, people organized the first swimming competitions. However, women were not allowed to participate in these competitions until 1912. Currently, the two best-known world record-holders are Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps. Overall, swimming has many benefits as it helps to survive in case of danger and keep the body fit.
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