Swimming at the Summer Olympics

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Swimming at the Summer Olympics
Swimming pictogram.svg
Governing body FINA
Events 34 (men: 17; women: 17)
Games

Swimming has been a sport at every modern Summer Olympics. It has been open to women since 1912. Along with track & field athletics and gymnastics, it is one of the most popular spectator sports at the Games. Swimming has the second largest number of events (after Athletics).

Events[edit]

Men's[edit]

Current program
Event 96 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 Years
50 metres freestyle X[1] X X X X X X X X X 10
100 metres freestyle X X[1] X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 28
200 metres freestyle X X[1] X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 15
400 metres freestyle X[1] X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 27
800 metre freestyle X[1] X 2
1500 metre freestyle X[1] X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 27
100 metre backstroke X[1] X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 26
200 metre backstroke X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 16
100 metre breaststroke X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 14
200 metre breaststroke X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 26
100 metre butterfly X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 14
200 metre butterfly X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 17
200 metre individual medley X X X X X X X X X X X X 12
400 metre individual medley X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 15
4 × 100 metre freestyle relay X X X X X X X X X X X X X 13
4 × 200 metre freestyle relay X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 26
4 × 100 metre medley relay X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 16
Marathon 10 km X X X X 4
Past events
Event 96 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 Years
500 metre freestyle X 1
1000 metre freestyle X 1
1200 metre freestyle X 1
4000 metre freestyle X 1
400 metre breaststroke X[1] X X 3
4 × 50 yard freestyle relay X[1] 1
200 metre team swimming X 1
200 metre obstacle event X 1
Underwater swimming X 1
100 metre freestyle for sailors X 1
Events 4 7 9 6 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 8 10 15 15 13 13 15 16 16 16 16 16 17 17 17 18

Women's[edit]

Current program
Event 96 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 Years
50 metre freestyle X X X X X X X X X 9
100 metre freestyle X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 25
200 metre freestyle X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 14
400 metre freestyle X[2] X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 24
800 metre freestyle X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 14
1500 metre freestyle X 1
100 metre backstroke X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 23
200 metre backstroke X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 14
100 metre breaststroke X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 14
200 metre breaststroke X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 23
100 metre butterfly X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 17
200 metre butterfly X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 14
200 metre individual medley X X X X X X X X X X X X 12
400 metre individual medley X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 15
4 × 100 metre freestyle relay X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 25
4 × 200 metre freestyle relay X X X X X X X 7
4 × 100 metre medley relay X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 16
Marathon 10 km X X X X 4
Events 2 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 7 8 14 14 13 13 14 15 15 16 16 16 17 17 17 18

Mixed[edit]

Current program
Event 96 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 Years
4 × 100 metre medley relay X 1
Events 1

Olympic records[edit]

The International Olympic Committee recognise the best performances in all 32 current (35 from 2020 on) pool-based swimming events at the Games as Olympic records.

Medal table[edit]

Total[edit]

Last updated after the 2016 Summer Olympics

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 United States (USA)246172135553
2 Australia (AUS)606464188
3 East Germany (GDR)38322292
4 Hungary (HUN)28252073
5 Japan (JPN)22263280
6 Netherlands (NED)22181959
7 Great Britain (GBR)16283074
8 Germany (GER)13192961
9 China (CHN)13191143
10 Soviet Union (URS)12212659
11 Sweden (SWE)9151438
12 Canada (CAN)8152649
13 France (FRA)8152043
14 South Africa (RSA)66618
15 Unified Team (EUN)63110
16 Russia (RUS)59923
17 Italy (ITA)551222
18 Ukraine (UKR)4217
19 West Germany (FRG)351422
20 Denmark (DEN)35614
21 Romania (ROU)3249
22 Ireland (IRL)3014
23 Zimbabwe (ZIM)2417
24 Australasia (ANZ)2338
25 Spain (ESP)2248
26 New Zealand (NZL)2136
27 Tunisia (TUN)2013
28 Austria (AUT)16512
29 United Team of Germany (EUA)15612
30 Brazil (BRA)14914
31 Greece (GRE)1438
32 Poland (POL)1326
33 South Korea (KOR)1304
34 Belgium (BEL)1225
35 Costa Rica (CRC)1124
36 Argentina (ARG)1113
 Bulgaria (BUL)1113
38 Yugoslavia (YUG)1102
39 Mexico (MEX)1012
 Suriname (SUR)1012
41 Kazakhstan (KAZ)1001
 Lithuania (LTU)1001
 Singapore (SIN)1001
44 Belarus (BLR)0213
45 Slovakia (SVK)0202
46 Finland (FIN)0134
47 Cuba (CUB)0112
 Norway (NOR)0112
49 Croatia (CRO)0101
 Serbia (SRB)0101
 Slovenia (SLO)0101
52 Philippines (PHI)0022
53 Switzerland (SUI)0011
 Trinidad and Tobago (TRI)0011
 Venezuela (VEN)0011
Totals (55 nations)5595575581674

Long course swimming[edit]

Last updated after the 2016 Summer Olympics

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 United States (USA)246171135552
2 Australia (AUS)606464188
3 East Germany (GDR)38322292
4 Hungary (HUN)27252072
5 Japan (JPN)22263280
6 Netherlands (NED)19181956
7 Great Britain (GBR)16262971
8 China (CHN)13191143
9 Germany (GER)13182859
10 Soviet Union (URS)12212659
11 Sweden (SWE)9151438
12 Canada (CAN)8152548
13 France (FRA)8151942
14 South Africa (RSA)66618
15 Unified Team (EUN)63110
16 Italy (ITA)541120
17 Russia (RUS)49922
18 Ukraine (UKR)4217
19 West Germany (FRG)351422
20 Denmark (DEN)35614
21 Romania (ROU)3249
22 Ireland (IRL)3014
23 Zimbabwe (ZIM)2417
24 Australasia (ANZ)2338
25 Spain (ESP)2248
26 New Zealand (NZL)2136
27 Austria (AUT)16512
28 United Team of Germany (EUA)15612
29 Brazil (BRA)14813
30 Greece (GRE)1337
31 Poland (POL)1326
32 South Korea (KOR)1304
33 Belgium (BEL)1225
34 Costa Rica (CRC)1124
35 Argentina (ARG)1113
 Bulgaria (BUL)1113
37 Yugoslavia (YUG)1102
38 Mexico (MEX)1012
 Suriname (SUR)1012
 Tunisia (TUN)1012
41 Kazakhstan (KAZ)1001
 Lithuania (LTU)1001
 Singapore (SIN)1001
44 Belarus (BLR)0213
45 Slovakia (SVK)0202
46 Finland (FIN)0134
47 Cuba (CUB)0112
 Norway (NOR)0112
49 Croatia (CRO)0101
 Serbia (SRB)0101
 Slovenia (SLO)0101
52 Philippines (PHI)0022
53 Switzerland (SUI)0011
 Trinidad and Tobago (TRI)0011
 Venezuela (VEN)0011
Totals (55 nations)5535515521656

Marathon swimming[edit]

Last updated after the 2016 Summer Olympics

RankNationGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1 Netherlands (NED)3003
2 Hungary (HUN)1001
 Russia (RUS)1001
 Tunisia (TUN)1001
5 Great Britain (GBR)0213
6 Germany (GER)0112
 Italy (ITA)0112
8 Greece (GRE)0101
 United States (USA)0101
10 Brazil (BRA)0011
 Canada (CAN)0011
 France (FRA)0011
Totals (12 nations)66618

Nations[edit]

Nation 96 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20 Years
 Albania (ALB) 1 2 2 2 2 5
 Algeria (ALG) 5 1 1 3 6 5 1 1 8
 American Samoa (ASA) 2 2 2
 Andorra (AND) 1 2 2 1 2 2 6
 Angola (ANG) 5 8 3 1 2 1 2 2 2 9
 Antigua and Barbuda (ANT) 2 1 2 3
 Argentina (ARG) 4 4 5 1 17 7 3 7 8 4 5 6 2 3 7 13 10 11 4 5 20
 Armenia (ARM) 1 2 1 1 2 2 6
 Aruba (ARU) 2 1 2 2 4
 Australasia (ANZ) 5 9 2
 Australia (AUS) 1 6 5 5 5 5 10 10 26 26 32 24 24 28 17 31 25 33 33 44 41 43 47 39 24
 Austria (AUT) 2 3 1 1 8 3 8 2 3 10 7 3 2 1 5 6 6 2 4 8 6 12 11 6 24
 Azerbaijan (AZE) 1 2 4 12 2 2 6
 Bahamas (BAH) 2 2 1 2 1 4 4 4 1 3 10
 Bahrain (BRN) 2 2 2 2 2 1 6
 Bangladesh (BAN) 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 2 8
 Barbados (BAR) 1 1 1 2 3 4 4 1 2 9
 Belarus (BLR) 10 9 9 8 8 8 6
 Belgium (BEL) 1 7 5 12 6 5 6 10 6 3 2 6 4 10 7 4 7 7 4 9 7 13 10 23
 Benin (BEN) 2 2 2 3
 Bermuda (BER) 5 5 2 1 1 6 1 1 2 1 2 11
 Bolivia (BOL) 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 9
 Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 7
 Botswana (BOT) 2 2 2
 Brazil (BRA) 2 8 16 13 12 4 5 4 4 12 9 9 7 15 9 10 13 23 25 19 36 21
 British Virgin Islands (IVB) 1 1
 Brunei (BRU) 1 1
 Bulgaria (BUL) 3 3 5 13 8 5 1 6 6 4 4 3 12
 Burkina Faso (BUR) 1 2 2 2 4
 Burundi (BDI) 2 1 2 2 4
 Cambodia (CAM) 4 2 2 2 2 2 2 7
 Cameroon (CMR) 1 2 2 3
 Canada (CAN) 1 1 3 2 6 14 14 9 9 8 8 12 15 38 38 37 31 29 27 39 20 27 33 30 24
 Cayman Islands (CAY) 3 2 2 2 4
 Central African Republic (CAF) 1 2 2
 Chile (CHI) 4 4 1 1 2 3 2 1 2 9
 China (CHN) 2 1 1 14 24 16 21 21 28 42 51 45 12
 Chinese Taipei (TPE) 1 4 3 5 8 8 13 13 5 3 2 11
 Colombia (COL) 2 3 1 9 4 5 2 1 1 1 5 5 3 5 3 4 16
 Comoros (COM) 1 1 2 3
 Congo (CGO) 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 7
 Cook Islands (COK) 1 2 2 2
 Costa Rica (CRC) 1 1 2 1 8 1 3 2 1 2 2 1 12
 Croatia (CRO) 11 17 13 13 4 2 6
 Cuba (CUB) 2 2 2 1 3 2 3 7 2 2 1 11
 Cyprus (CYP) 4 2 2 7 5 2 1 2 8
 Czechoslovakia (TCH) 4 9 1 3 3 4 2 3 3 1 3 1 5 6 8 17
 Czech Republic (CZE) 10 6 12 10 6 8 6
 Democratic Republic of the Congo (COD) 1 1
 Denmark (DEN) 1 5 1 4 5 2 18 6 9 2 4 3 3 6 2 1 3 15 8 10 7 6 9 10 15 25
 Djibouti (DJI) 1 1 2
 Dominica (DMA) 1 2 2
 Dominican Republic (DOM) 1 1 2 2 4
 East Germany (GDR) 24 37 23 30 26 5
 Ecuador (ECU) 3 1 1 2 1 5 3 1 2 3 3 11
 Egypt (EGY) 1 6 3 2 8 5 2 2 6 2 3 3 7 13
 El Salvador (ESA) 14 7 2 1 2 1 1 1 2 2 10
 Equatorial Guinea (GEQ) 2 1
 Estonia (EST) 2 4 1 4 6 9 2 2 8
 Ethiopia (ETH) 2 2 2
 Fiji (FIJ) 3 5 3 2 2 1 1 2 2 9
 Finland (FIN) 3 6 1 2 1 1 2 1 13 1 5 6 3 1 1 1 2 1 12 12 7 7 5 7 8 25
 France (FRA) 47 4 3 13 20 13 5 8 17 16 16 19 9 16 18 16 13 16 25 25 25 19 21 35 31 30 26
 Gabon (GAB) 1 1
 The Gambia (GAM) 1 1
 Georgia (GEO) 1 1 2 1 2 5
 Germany (GER) 6 4 5 17 19 2 24 9 18 26 38 24 28 35 35 25 30 29 18
 Ghana (GHA) 2 1
 Great Britain (GBR) 7 25 18 18 26 21 15 22 32 26 22 32 33 27 36 40 32 33 31 28 39 32 37 24 44 28 26
 Greece (GRE) 15 1 1 5 2 2 5 2 2 3 4 2 8 14 28 18 14 15 18
 Grenada (GRN) 1 2 1 2 4
 Guam (GUM) 4 7 2 1 1 1 3 2 8
 Guatemala (GUA) 1 3 6 1 5 2 1 4 1 1 2 11
 Guinea (GUI) 2 1 2 1 2 5
 Guyana (GUY) 1 1 2 2 4
 Haiti (HAI) 1 2 2
 Honduras (HON) 6 3 4 1 2 2 2 2 2 9
 Hong Kong (HKG) 4 2 1 3 3 2 4 8 10 8 3 9 7 4 3 7 16
 Hungary (HUN) 1 1 2 10 8 6 8 5 13 15 15 16 18 19 14 16 8 13 13 13 21 18 25 28 32 35 26
 Iceland (ISL) 8 2 2 4 4 3 4 6 2 3 9 7 8 7 3 15
 Independent Olympic Participants (IOP) 4 1
 India (IND) 1 7 5 2 1 2 2 1 4 1 2 11
 Independent Olympic Athletes (IOA) 2 1
 Indonesia (INA) 1 3 2 1 1 2 1 6 3 2 1 2 12
 Iran (IRI) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
 Iraq (IRQ) 2 1 1 1 4
 Ireland (IRL) 2 4 7 4 3 2 5 2 5 4 2 3 4 3 14
 Israel (ISR) 1 1 4 2 6 1 2 3 1 4 4 10 2 7 5 7 16
 Italy (ITA) 2 4 2 4 6 5 2 10 7 23 16 10 24 13 13 26 21 24 14 21 29 34 35 38 24
 Ivory Coast (CIV) 2 1 2 2 4
 Jamaica (JAM) 1 1 4 1 4 3 1 2 8
 Japan (JPN) 2 6 10 23 21 22 19 21 38 20 15 15 22 23 25 27 21 20 31 29 36 21
 Jordan (JOR) 2 2 2 2 2 2 6
 Kazakhstan (KAZ) 7 8 11 12 7 3 6
 Kenya (KEN) 1 2 2 2 2 2 6
 Kosovo (KOS) 2 1
 Kuwait (KUW) 2 3 5 2 3 3 2 1 2 9
 Kyrgyzstan (KGZ) 12 18 6 3 2 2 6
 Laos (LAO) 1 2 2 1 2 5
 Latvia (LAT) 1 4 4 5 2 2 2 7
 Lebanon (LIB) 1 2 2 4 4 1 2 5 2 2 2 11
 Lesotho (LES) 1 1
 Libya (LBA) 4 2 2 1 2 5
 Liechtenstein (LIE) 1 2 2
 Lithuania (LTU) 2 8 6 10 9 4 6 7
 Luxembourg (LUX) 2 4 3 4 1 1 4 1 1 2 1 3 2 4 1 3 16
 Macedonia (MKD) 4 4 4 2 2 2 6
 Madagascar (MAD) 3 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 8
 Malawi (MAW) 2 2 1 2 4
 Malaysia (MAS) 2 2 7 2 1 1 2 1 5 9 4 5 2 3 14
 Maldives (MDV) 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 7
 Mali (MLI) 2 2 2 2 2 5
 Malta (MLT) 1 2 2 2 2 2 6
 Marshall Islands (MHL) 2 2 2 3
 Mauritius (MRI) 6 2 2 2 2 2 2 7
 Mexico (MEX) 3 9 8 4 11 10 27 22 9 7 12 10 7 2 7 6 6 9 3 19
 Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) 2 2 2 2 2 5
 Moldova (MDA) 5 10 3 2 2 5
 Monaco (MON) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
 Mongolia (MGL) 2 1 2 2 2 5
 Montenegro (MNE) 1 2 2
 Morocco (MAR) 1 1 1 1 2 5
 Mozambique (MOZ) 5 2 2 3 1 2 2 2 2 2 10
 Myanmar (MYA) 1 1 1 1 1 5
 Namibia (NAM) 2 1 1 3
 Nepal (NEP) 2 2 2 2 2 2 6
 Netherlands (NED) 4 7 4 12 14 5 14 12 13 19 26 17 19 15 12 16 11 9 20 24 16 18 15 17 24
 Netherlands Antilles (AHO) 3 1 1 2 1 5
 New Zealand (NZL) 1 1 4 1 2 5 2 4 6 9 8 7 11 14 8 13 15 17 9 19
 Nicaragua (NCA) 2 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 8
 Niger (NIG) 2 1 2 1 2 5
 Nigeria (NGR) 2 2 2 2 2 5
 Norway (NOR) 5 2 1 1 1 1 3 1 4 7 3 2 6 5 1 4 3 2 18
 Oman (OMA) 1 1 4 3
 Pakistan (PAK) 4 2 3 1 1 2 2 2 2 9
 Palau (PLW) 2 1 1 1 2 5
 Palestine (PLE) 1 1 2 2 2 5
 Panama (PAN) 1 3 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 2 11
 Papua New Guinea (PNG) 2 1 2 2 1 5
 Paraguay (PAR) 3 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 8
 Peru (PER) 3 6 3 3 4 5 2 2 2 3 2 2 3 2 14
 Philippines (PHI) 2 3 5 3 1 8 8 2 7 7 3 4 4 5 2 4 5 5 2 2 20
 Poland (POL) 2 4 7 1 5 4 5 3 8 5 14 11 8 7 15 19 20 17
 Portugal (POR) 1 1 4 5 3 5 2 2 12 9 12 7 11 10 7 5 16
 Puerto Rico (PUR) 1 4 9 12 5 3 6 7 3 6 4 2 2 13
 Qatar (QAT) 1 1 1 2 2 5
 Rhodesia (RHO) 4 1
 Romania (ROU) 1 2 2 2 3 5 2 5 10 14 11 7 6 4 6 15
 Russia (RUS) 4 30 28 30 35 35 36 7
 Rwanda (RWA) 2 2 2 2 2 5
 Saar (SAA) 1 1
 Saint Lucia (LCA) 2 1 1 1 1 5
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VIN) 2 1 1 2 4
 Samoa (SAM) 2 1
 San Marino (SMR) 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 8
 Saudi Arabia (KSA) 2 1 1 1 4
 Senegal (SEN) 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 7
 Serbia and Montenegro (SCG) 4 7 2
 Serbia (SRB) 9 8 6 3
 Seychelles (SEY) 4 1 2 2 2 2 2 7
 Sierra Leone (SLE) 1 2 2
 Singapore (SIN) 1 3 4 5 5 5 8 5 5 5 3 11
 Slovakia (SVK) 3 4 2 3 5 3 6
 Slovenia (SLO) 5 5 6 11 10 12 10 7
 South Africa (RSA) 1 1 5 1 3 6 8 3 10 7 14 8 24 20 13 15
 South Korea (KOR) 4 1 1 3 15 4 20 17 19 16 15 8 12
 Soviet Union (URS) 18 10 23 21 31 26 31 39 27 29 9
 Spain (ESP) 2 4 5 6 3 10 11 13 9 14 11 8 11 21 18 23 16 23 14 24 20
 Sri Lanka (SRI) 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 10
 Sudan (SUD) 1 1 2 2 4
 Suriname (SUR) 2 1 3 4 2 2 2 2 2 9
 Swaziland (SWZ) 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 7
 Sweden (SWE) 1 12 24 13 14 9 2 5 8 12 5 15 14 16 15 18 24 24 18 17 18 16 15 18 12 11 26
 Switzerland (SUI) 4 2 1 4 8 8 9 2 4 10 2 3 13 10 4 5 9 13 7 7 8 21
 Syria (SYR) 1 1 2 1 3 2 2 7
 Tajikistan (TJK) 2 2 1 2 4
 Tanzania (TAN) 2 2 2 3
 Thailand (THA) 2 2 5 6 8 6 2 2 2 9
 Togo (TOG) 1 2 2
 Tonga (TGA) 1 2 2
 Trinidad and Tobago (TRI) 1 1 1 1 2 3 3 3 1 2 10
 Tunisia (TUN) 2 1 1 1 2 2 4 2 8
 Turkey (TUR) 2 2 4 2 3 4 7 9 11 6 4 11
 Turkmenistan (TKM) 2 2 2 2 4
 Uganda (UGA) 1 2 1 2 2 2 6
 Ukraine (UKR) 13 25 27 23 14 7 6
 United Arab Emirates (UAE) 6 5 1 1 1 1 1 2 8
 United States (USA) 1 2 25 8 7 22 26 23 27 28 28 30 28 31 48 52 51 51 43 44 40 44 48 43 43 49 47 27
 Uruguay (URU) 2 1 5 4 1 2 1 1 2 4 4 3 2 2 14
 Uzbekistan (UZB) 6 10 15 7 2 2 6
 Venezuela (VEN) 1 1 2 4 12 3 6 7 5 4 13 10 6 13
 Vietnam (VIE) 1 2 3 2 11 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 13
 Virgin Islands (ISV) 2 7 6 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 10
 West Germany (FRG) 27 44 22 24 29 5
 Yemen (YEM) 1 2 2 3
 Yugoslavia (YUG) 6 4 6 3 1 9 2 6 5 4 3 3 3 9 22
 Zambia (ZAM) 2 2 2 2 2 2 6
 Zimbabwe (ZIM) 2 2 4 4 1 3 2 2 1 2 10
Nations 4 12 4 14 17 19 23 28 20 29 34 48 33 45 42 51 52 51 41 67 77 92 117 150 152 162 166 169
Swimmers 19 76 32 100 120 116 118 182 128 248 249 319 235 380 405 468 532 471 333 494 633 641 762 954 937 1026 950 950
Year 96 00 04 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20

Notable changes to the sport[edit]

Times have consistently dropped over the years due to better training techniques and new developments withinin the sport.

In the first four Olympics, competitions were not held in pools, but rather in open water (1896, the Mediterranean Sea; 1900, the Seine; 1904, an artificial lake; 1906, the Mediterranean). The 1904 Olympics' races were the only ones ever measured in yards, instead of the usual metres. A 100-metre pool was built for the 1908 Olympics and was located in the centre of the main stadium's track and field oval. The 1912 Olympics, held in the Stockholm harbour, marked the beginning of electrical timing.

Male swimmers wore full body swimsuits up until the 1940s, which caused more drag in the water than their modern swim-wear counterparts. Also, over the years, pool designs have lessened the drag. Some design considerations allow for the reduction of swimming resistance making the pool faster. Namely, proper pool depth, elimination of waves, elimination of currents, increased lane width, energy absorbing racing lane lines and gutters, and the use of other innovative hydraulic, acoustic, illumination, and swimwear designs.

The 1924 Olympics were the first to use the standard 50 metre pool with marked lanes. In the freestyle, swimmers originally dove from the pool walls, but diving blocks were incorporated starting at the 1936 Summer Olympics. The flip-turn was developed by the 1950s. Swimming goggles were first allowed in 1976.

The butterfly stroke events were not held until 1956. Previous rules permitted the butterfly stroke in breaststroke races. After 1956, when these rules were changed, butterfly became its own stroke entirely.

Women were first allowed the longer distance of 800 metres freestyle in 1968, which remains the longest distance for women in the swimming pool. Up until then, women were considered to be too "delicate" to swim a race this long[citation needed], even though the men had had the 1,500 metre freestyle from the very early years.

Both men and women were granted the 200 metre freestyle race in 1968, giving swimmers an intermediate distance race between 100 metres and 400 metres.

Women's teams were first granted the 800 metre freestyle relay race in 1996 - even though there had been a men's relay race at that distance since 1912. At six Olympiads, the men had two freestyle relay races, but the women only had one. Now, both sexes have two.

The medley relay races (4×100 metres) were not held for men or for women until 1960, but they have continued in every Olympiad since then.

Starting in 2008, both men and women compete in 10 km open water marathon swim events.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Distances at the 1904 Olympics were measured in yards rather than metres. The 50 yard freestyle was 45.7 metres and the 100 yard freestyle and backstroke races were 91.4 metres. The 220, 440, and 880 yard freestyle races were 201, 402, and 805 metres, respectively. Instead of a 1500 metre race, there was a 1 mile race which made for 1609 metres. The 440 yard breaststroke, like the freestyle, was 402 metres. The relay, 4 × 50 yards, was 4 × 45.7 metres.
  2. ^ In 1920, the women's event was 300 metres.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]