NEWS BOARDMore News

Proud follows Halsall's lead in completing sprint double

Ben Proud admitted the double-gold medal winning achievements of England teammate Fran Halsall had spurred him on to pick up a second title hims...

0 Comments

Full Article

Carlin replaces Olympic heartbreak with Commonwealth glory

Two years ago Jazz Carlin tearfully watched the London Olympics unfold from her sofa, dreaming of what might have been.

But last night th...

0 Comments

Full Article

Halsall on cloud nine at the Commonwealth Games

Fran Halsall added another medal to her growing collection of Commonwealth Games successes after blowing away the field to take the women’s 50m ...

0 Comments

Full Article

Walker-Hebborn, Proud and Wallace shine in Glasgow pool

Chris Walker-Hebborn avenged his disappointment of four years ago to strike Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow.

The double British champi...

0 Comments

Full Article

Jamieson admits Commonwealth disappointment will haunt him

Michael Jamieson insists he will be licking his wounds for a while after being pipped to Commonwealth 200m breaststroke gold in Glasgow.

...

0 Comments

Full Article

History

In ancient times, swimming was a popular means of physical exercise and recreation with the Romans and Ancient Greeks, but it wasn’t part of the original ancient Olympic Games, which held all its events on land.

In fact, swimming wasn’t practised widely as a sport until the early 19th century, with the newly-founded National Swimming Society of Great Britain organising the first competitions in 1837.

Early swimmers used a version of breaststroke, but in 1870 a British swimming instructor called J Arthur Trudgeon was inspired by the over-arm technique of South American natives to create the front crawl-like trudgeon stroke. Another Englishman, Frederick Cavill, was inspired by the similar stroke of natives in the Western Pacific to create the Australian crawl.

 

Olympic History

Due to the rise in popularity of the sport, swimming events were held in the inaugural modern Summer Games in Athens in 1896. They were very different from the events held today, though. They were held in the open Mediterranean sea in the Bay of Zea, which was unusually icy cold for the time of year.

Events were held for men only, and included the 100m, 400m and 1500m freestyle and breaststroke, with the 100m and 1500m being won by Hungarian Alfred Hajos, who had been inspired to take up swimming following the death of his father in a drowning accident. 40,000 people turned up to watch, though, confirming the popularity of the sport.

In the 1900 Summer Games in Paris, France, events took place in the River Seine, with a 200m backstroke competition added to the swimming schedule, as well as one-off contests for underwater swimming and an obstacle race.

The 50m freestyle and 100m backstroke were added to the programme in the 1904 Summer Games in St Louis, USA, while women were allowed to compete in their own swimming events in the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden.

Events moved from natural open water to a more manageable 100m-long pool for the 1908 Summer Games in London, England, with the adoption of the now-standard 50m pool coming in the 1924 Summer Games in Paris, France.

The butterfly stroke was created in 1940, when breaststroke swimmers they could go even faster if they moved their arms over their head, and butterfly events joined the Olympic swimming programme for the Summer Games in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956.

Today, men and women compete in virtually the same list of wide-ranging disciplines in a 50m controlled, heated pool – the only difference being that the long-distance race for men covers 1500m, while for women it covers 800m.

The Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 witnessed the introduction of 10km open water events for both men and women.

Technical

There are strict rules governing the four strokes of swimming (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle) pertaining to leg and arm movements, starts and turns as well as the length of time swimmers can remain under water.

For all pool swimming events, competitors take part in heats with the fastest 8 going through to the final in the 400m Individual Medley, 800m &1500m Freestyle, and Relay Teams. For all other events the fastest 16 from the heats will qualify for the semi-finals and the fastest eight from the semi-finals will go through to the final. The fastest four swimmers in the final are placed in the middle four lanes. 

There are no preliminary rounds in the 10km event which is a straight final.

Starting blocks and electronic touch pads are used at each end of the pool to time the competitors, and competitors must touch the pads on the wall at each end of the pool whilst turning at the end of each lap.

equipment

Goggles

These are allowed in order to protect the eyes.

Lap Card

Used for 800m and 1500m Freestyle events by judges to let competitors know the distance they have swum.

Touch pad

A sensitive pad at the end of each lane which electronically registers a swimmers time.

Swimsuit

Modern swimsuits are far more sophisticated than the baggy, water-retaining cotton suits used in swimming’s early history. 

rules

In all swimming events, the individual or team with the fastest time in the final wins.

Freestyle: Events: 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m.

The 800m event is only for women, while the 1,500m is only for men.
Freestyle is the quickest and most popular swimming style. Technically, freestyle competitors may use whatever style they think best (except those used in the medley)

Backstroke: Events: 100m, 200m

Backstroke resembles freestyle swimming as far as the alternating movements of arms and legs. When starting, competitors take their place in the swimming pool facing the pool’s wall and holding the starting points’ handholds with both hands.

Breaststroke: Events: 100m, 200m

This is a fairly complex swimming style, calling for perfect coordination of arm and leg movements. In direct contrast to freestyle and backstroke, hand and legs must move simultaneously. If the swimmer gets out of synch, he or she will be considered by the judges as swimming freestyle and be disqualified.

Butterfly: Events: 100m, 200m

Butterfly is the most spectacular swimming style. The athlete’s body moves in such a way that resembles the movements of a dolphin. Their legs move simultaneously, while the whole body is used to propel the athlete forward.

Individual medley: Events: 200m, 400m

In medley individual events, the swimmer competes in every swimming style, at equal distances. This event combines technique, speed, and endurance. The sequence followed is: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.

Relays: Events: 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley, 4x200m freestyle.

Four swimmers from the same team compete in relays, using all four swimming styles, the sequence being: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle. The outgoing swimmer must not lose touch with the starting platform before the preceding team-mate touches the wall otherwise the team will be disqualified.

Open Water: Events: 10km men and 10km women

Team HeroesEntire Team

Rebecca Adlington became a household name after winning double gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 but made her senior British debut at the 2006 European Championships in Hungary, winning 800m freestyle silver.

Adlington treated hersel...

Our Results

Total: 84 medals
  • 19 Gold
  • 31 Silver
  • 34 Bronze
Paris 1900
  • 2 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
London 1908
  • 4 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Stockholm 1912
  • 1 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 3 Bronze
Antwerp 1920
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Paris 1924
  • 1 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Amsterdam 1928
  • 0 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 2 Bronze
Los Angeles 1932
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 2 Bronze
Berlin 1936
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 1948
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Helsinki 1952
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Melbourne 1956
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Rome 1960
  • 1 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Tokyo 1964
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Mexico City 1968
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Munich 1972
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Montreal 1976
  • 1 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Moscow 1980
  • 1 Gold
  • 3 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Los Angeles 1984
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 4 Bronze
Seoul 1988
  • 1 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Barcelona 1992
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Atlanta 1996
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Sydney 2000
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Athens 2004
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 2 Bronze
Beijing 2008
  • 2 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 2 Bronze
London 2012
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 2 Bronze
EYOF 2013
  • 4 Gold
  • 8 Silver
  • 4 Bronze
View More