History of swimming may be as old as the prehistoric times, if not older. Even the Bible has reference to swimming along with books that were written way back in 2000 BC. However, in those ancient times, swimming was not a sport. It was a ritual meant to cleanse the body.
It only became a competitive sport in the 1800s in Europe and from there it found its way in the first Olympics held in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
There are many Ancient Egyptian drawings that show humans swimming in the sea. Usually the humans in these drawings are seen doing either breast stroke or front crawl. In fact, history shows that Ancient Egyptian, Grecian and Roman palaces had swimming pools, also known as baths. These pools were used by the societal elite for relaxing and cleansing themselves.
History of swimming also shows that swimming was used in battled. The Ancient Greeks were considered to be strong swimmers and there is evidence to show that in the Battle of Salamis between the Greeks and Persians, the boats of both sides capsized. However, the Greeks triumphed due to their ability to swim while the Persians drowned because they could not swim.
The countries that had access to water were the first to learn swimming. History of swimming shows that this sport did not spread like other sports because it was already being used by many countries. The actual evolution of swimming started in the Middle Ages when many books about the sport were written. Most of these books concentrated on not drowning rather than perfecting a stroke. In the 18th and 19th centuries, life saving techniques were also added and it is around this time that swimming started evolving as competition rather than being relegated to a method of life saving. Some of the first swimmers in the history of swimming came from countries like Germany, Sweden and China.
Schools, colleges and universities started teaching swimming to their students and this led to competitions in the middle of the 1800s. The 1900s saw the sport evolving further with scientific methods being used to perfect the art of swimming. The science community started studying swimmers and looking for ways to improve their timings.And today, swimming is not just a competitive sport, it is also a recreational and fitness sport that many people indulge in.
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