Modern swimming originated in the UK, which has been rapidly developed due to its universality. Swimming was first introduced as an Olympic event in Athens in 1896, and the gold medals in swimming are currently just next to track and field events. Olympic swimming includes freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly stroke and medley, as well as men’s and women’s 10 km open water swimming which will be introduced in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Originated as a means of carrying stuff on water, backstroke developed in association with breaststroke and freestyle. A swimmer swims with arms stroke from the back of head to a side of body in turn and both legs kicking up and down by turns. It was formally introduced as a sports event in the Paris 1900 Olympic Games
Butterfly stroke is also called dolphin stroke which evolved from breaststroke. In its movement, both arms stroke forward simultaneously and both legs hold together kicking up and down; Butterfly was so named because the movement is like a butterfly spreading its wings. It was first included into Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956.
Freestyle, also dubbed as “crawl stroke, first became a formal Olympic event in the Athens 1896 Olympic Games. It is the fastest style in athletic swimming. When there’s no requirement of style, all swimmers will use freestyle and that’s why it’s .lled so．
In individual medley events, a swimmer covers the same distance with the four swimming styles in the following order butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. It was taken as a formal event in the Rome 60 Olympic Games.
Standard breaststroke appeared as early as in the 1830s in England. So it is the oldest style of swimming and also the most common competition style.
In medley relay events, four swimmers have to cover the same distance with different swimming styles in the following order: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. This event was formally introduced to Olympics in the Rome 1960 Games.
Freestyle relay is one of the team events of athletic swimming. Four swimmers of each team are allowed to swim through the total distance, with 1/4 distance for each swimmer. Scoring will be based on the average speed of the four swimmers. Freestyle relay was first introduced in the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games
Open Water Swimming
Open water swimming is newly introduced by Beijing Olympics; It will be held in natural water areas (including river, lake and sea) with a long distance, so athletes will be highly required in physical energy and influenced by factors of natural environment.
Diving took shape during the development of swimming. Modern diving started in the 20th century and was included as an Olympic event at the St. Louis 1904 Olympic Games. It consists of springboard diving and platform diving and platform diving is performed on a hard and inelastic platform, while springboard diving is done on a springboard with one end fixed the other elastic.