Promotes cardiovascular fitness
Helps to build strength
Enhances muscle tone
Improves overall fitness and mobility
Improves breathing and respiratory health, including asthma
Helps to improve cognitive function
Improves coordination, balance and posture
Helps with weight management
Helps with pain management
Lowers stress and anxiety levels
Enhances overall wellbeing
Swimming is an individual or team sport, as well as a recreational pursuit, requiring the swimmer’s entire body move through water. It is a learnt activity, which involves mastering various techniques - swimming strokes - which are combined with rhythmic breathing, and takes place in pools, or open water(rivers, lakes or sea).
Swimming is an all-round healthy activity which can be enjoyed by everyone throughout life into advanced age, and some athletes take swimming to competitive levels including the Olympic Games.
It is a low-impact activity suitable for all age groups, skills and fitness levels, that can provide many physical and mental health benefits. It is a good overall body workout, as nearly all muscles in the body are used during swimming, moving against the resistance of the water, yet releasing the weight bearing pressure from the joints due to the water’s buoyancy.
Common swimming styles in recreational swimming are breaststroke, backstroke, sidestroke and freestyle.
The main strokes used in competitive swimming are breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke and butterfly.
Archaeological evidence reveals that swimming was practiced as early as 2500 BCE in Egypt, and later in Assyrian, Greek, andRoman civilisations.
In Greece and Rome, swimming was considered an important part of elementary education for male students alongside the alphabet, as well as part of martial training.
Among the ancientGreeks there is also a mention of swimming races, and a famous Greek boxer swam as part of his physical training.
In the 1st century BCE, the Roman Gaius Maecenas is said to have built the first heated swimming pool.
In Japan, there is evidence of swimming races taking place as early as 1st century BCE, and by 17th century, swimming education was compulsory in Japanese schools, and by 19th century, organised swimming events were already the norm.
Among the indigenous peoples of the Pacific islands, children learnt to swim at about the same time they started to walk, and sometimes even earlier.
During the Middle Ages however, fear of water escalated among society, caused by a rumour that swimming was the reason for the spread of infections and epidemics, thus it became unpopular, and it wasn’t until the 17th century that seaside resorts popularised swimming and bathing again, as part of water therapy.
In the 19th century, swimming gained further popularity as recreation and as a sport, with the first swimming organisation forming in London in 1837. At that time, London already had 6 indoor pools with diving boards.
From then on, the popularity of swimming began to spread far and wide, with local clubs opening and various associations forming around the world, growing into the popular sport it is today.
Internationally, competitive swimming became a prominent sport with its inclusion in the modern Olympic Games from their inception in 1896. Olympic events were originally only for men, but women’s events were added in 1912.