Competitive swimming in Britain started around 1830, mostly using breaststroke. Swimming was part of the first modern Olympic games in 1896 in Athens. In 1908, the world swimming association, Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), was formed.
Babylonian bas-reliefs and Assyrian wall drawings point to very early swimming skills among humans. The most ancient and famous of drawings depicting men swimming are to be found in the Kebir desert. They are estimated to be about 6,000 years old. The Nagoda bas-relief also has paintings of swimmers that date back some 5,000 years....... Read More
Swimming has come a long way in 100 years of official FINA history. When the founding fathers of the federation gathered in London, 1908, there was no global standardisation of rules, structures, distances and general conditions under which race competitions could be held and records set. Swimming distances were often “guesstimates”, while most events took place in open water in which no two venues offered the same conditions, some racing taking place against the tide, others with the tide, some in choppy sea, others in millpond conditions. Read More
Flying Gull taught freestyle to the world when he winged his way past a fellow Native American Indian who went by the name Tobacco – in a race with Englishman Harold Kenworthy, doing breaststroke – down one length of a 130-foot pool in London on April 2, 1844. Note the time: 30 seconds for the equivalent of 39.6 metres. ‘The Times’ archive holds a report from a nameless correspondent who may well have been the first swimming writer, 154 years before the current swimming reporter for the paper penned FINA’s Centenary book. Read More