Both of them based in the water. Both of them part of the program of events scheduled for the Games of London 2012:
Swimming, and Synchronized Swimming.

My thanks as always to, for additional facts and figures.


Swimming can be dated back to the Stone Age, when Prehistoric humans learned to swim in order to cross rivers and lakes.


Swimming is the act of moving through water by using the arms, legs, and body in motions called strokes. The most common strokes are the crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and sidestroke.


In the late 1880s, an Englishman named Frederick Cavill traveled to the South Seas, where he saw the natives performing a swimming technique with a flutter kick. Cavill settled in Australia, where he taught the stroke that was to become the famous Australian crawl.

The crawl is the fastest and most efficient swimming technique. It is also called the freestyle, because swimmers use it in freestyle events, which allow the use of any stroke.

To swim the crawl, a swimmer travels through the water with the chest and head pointing downward toward the bottom. The legs move up and down quickly and continually, in a flutterkick. Each arm stroke begins as the right arm is brought in front and slightly to the right of the swimmer’s head and into the water. At the same time, the left arm accelerates underneath the water in a pulling motion down the length of the body.

The swimmer then brings the left arm forward to enter the water while the right arm travels down the swimmer’s side. As the left arm enters the water and the right arm exits, the swimmer’s body begins to turn to the left again, and the swimmer begins the stroke sequence once more.

As the body tilts completely to the right or left side, the swimmer should roll the head to the same side and take a breath. After inhaling, the swimmer puts his or her face back in the water. The swimmer exhales slowly through the nose or mouth as the body rolls toward the other side.


The backstroke is the only stroke that is swum on the back, with the swimmer looking up. Backstroke swimmers therefore cannot see where they are going. Because the face is out of the water, swimmers need no special breathing technique. Backstrokers use the same flutterkick that crawl swimmers do.

At the beginning of each arm stroke, the swimmer extends the right arm so it enters the water slightly to the right of the head.

As the swimmer finishes the right arm’s stroke along the body, he or she begins to rotate toward the left side as the left arm reaches to enter the water above the head.

As the left hand enters the water, the body completes its roll to the left side and the right arm lifts out of the water. Continuing these motions, the swimmer moves forward.

The breaststroke uses more energy than the crawl and backstroke, when swum at a fast pace. The technique has undergone major changes since it was introduced in the 17th century. Most swimmers now use a method called the wave breaststroke, which Hungarian coach Jozsef Nagy developed in the late 1980s.
To swim the wave breaststroke, the swimmer enters the water with the body streamlined, facing the pool bottom with arms and legs fully extended. To begin the stroke, the swimmer sweeps the arms out with the hands facing outward and bent slightly upward at the wrist.
As the head and upper torso clear the surface of the water, the swimmer inhales and lunges forward with the arms. During this movement the swimmer turns the feet outward and kicks backward. The swimmer then returns to the basic streamlined position and repeats the stroke.
Developed between 1930 and 1952, the butterfly is swum with an undulating motion. The arms are brought forward over the water’s surface, then brought back together in front of the body simultaneously. Each arm stroke is complemented by two dolphin kicks, meaning the feet are kept together and brought down then up again, much like the motion of a dolphin’s tail.
As the swimmer lunges forward, submerging the head and chest slightly, he or she makes a light downward kick with both feet. The body glides forward, and the hands catch water and begin to pull.
When the swimmer then pulls the arms down to the hips, the motion forces the head and shoulders above the surface of the water. This positioning enables the swimmer to inhale.The swimmer finishes the arm pull with a sweeping motion that brings each arm along the sides with the palms facing in.

The sidestroke evolved out of the breaststroke technique in the 19th century. However, because the sidestroke generates less force than the other strokes, it turned out to be slower.
The sidestroke has remained a popular recreational stroke for novices. It is also used as a life-saving technique because the lifesaver’s head remains above the water at all times and one arm stays free to help the distressed swimmer.
The sidestroke’s propulsion comes mainly from the legs in a movement called a scissors kick, because the legs are brought together powerfully like the shears of a pair of scissors. The arms provide some propulsion but mainly serve to stabilize the body on its side.

The highest level of swimming competition occurs at the Summer Olympic Games, as governed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA; French for “International Federation of Amateur Swimming”) governs almost all other international competitions.

Swimming has featured on the programme of all editions of the Games since 1896. The very first Olympic events were freestyle (crawl) and breaststroke. Backstroke was added in 1904.

The butterfly first appeared at the 1956 Games in Melbourne. This style is now one of the four strokes used in competition (Sidestroke does not feature, at the Olympics).

Women first participated in 1912, at the Stockholm Games. Since then, women’s swimming has been part of every edition of the Games.

The men’s and women’s programs are almost identical, as they contain the same number of events, with only one difference: the freestyle distance is 800 meters for women and 1,500 meters for men:


100m backstroke men
100m breaststroke men
100m butterfly men
100m freestyle men
1500m freestyle men
200m backstroke men
200m breaststroke men
200m butterfly men
200m freestyle men
200m individual medley men
400m freestyle men
400m individual medley men
4x100m freestyle relay men
4x100m medley relay men
4x200m freestyle relay men
50m freestyle men
marathon 10km men


100m backstroke women
100m breaststroke women
100m butterfly women
100m freestyle women
200m backstroke women
200m breaststroke women
200m butterfly women
200m freestyle women
200m individual medley women
400m freestyle women
400m individual medley women
4x100m freestyle relay women
4x100m medley relay women
4x200m freestyle relay women
50m freestyle women
800m freestyle women
marathon 10km women

At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, American swimmer Mark Spitz won seven gold medals, all in world-record times. He remains the only swimmer ever to win seven gold medals at one Olympics.

At the 1988 Games in Seoul, Kristin Otto of East Germany won six gold medals, and Janet Evans of the United States won three. American Matt Biondi won five gold medals in the men’s events. Also at Seoul, Anthony Nesty of Suriname became the first black Olympic swimming champion, when he won the 100-meter butterfly.

Ian Thorpe was one of the top stars at the 2000 Olympics, held in Sydney. He won five medals, including gold in the 400-meter freestyle and in the 4 × 100-meter and 4 × 200-meter freestyle relays.

Synchronized Swimming

Synchronized Swimming

Synchronized swimming has its origins in water acrobatics.

At the turn of the 20th century, Annette Kellerman, an Australian swimmer, toured the United States performing water acrobatics. Her shows proved very popular and a sport was born.

The discipline was further developed by Katherine Curtis, who had the idea of combining water acrobatics with music. Her students performed at the 1933-34 Chicago “Century of Progress” Fair, where the announcer, former Olympic swimming gold medallist Norman Ross, coined the term “synchronized swimming”.

The first synchronized swimming competition in the United States was a meet between Wright Junior College and the Chicago Teacher’s College in 1939. In 1941 the sport was recognized by the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States, then the governing body over many amateur sports in the US. Synchronized swimming became a competitive event in the Pan American Games in 1955 in Mexico City.

Synchronized swimming became an Olympic sport for the first time in Los Angeles in 1984, with solo and duet events.

These events also took place at the Olympic Games in 1988 in Seoul, and in 1992 in Barcelona. Atlanta replaced them in 1996 by a water ballet for eight people.

Since the 2000 Olympic Games, the Olympic programme has included the team event, and the duet.

In each event, synchronized swimmers compete in three categories: figures, technical routine, and free routine.

In the figures competition, swimmers perform 4 of a possible 20 figures, or combinations of movements. A panel of judges awards points from 0 to 10 based on the accuracy of the performance and the timing, height, stability, and control of the figures.

In the technical routine, the swimmers must perform a set list of elements, or combinations of figures and swimming strokes, in a prescribed order.

In the free routine, swimmers can create their own choreography of figures and strokes.

In the technical and free routines – which can last from two to five minutes each – a panel of judges awards points from 0 to 10 in the categories of technical merit and artistic impression.

Together with rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming is the only exclusively female Olympic sport.

That’s it, for the Ss.

Ts up, next.

Till then.