Olympic Swimming

The modern Olympic Games started in 1896. Swimming and other aquatic events are part of the Summer Olympic Games, and the first Summer Olympic Games were held in 1904. There are four aquatic events: swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming.

Swimming has been a part of the Olympics since 1896. Freestyle and breaststroke were the first events. 1904 saw the introduction of  backstroke events, and butterfly became part of the games in 1956.

Women could finally compete in the games starting in 1912. The swimming events are the same except one: women swim an 800m freestyle race while the men swim a 1500m freestyle race. The other Olympic swimming events are: 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 200m breaststroke, 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 400m freestyle, 400m individual medley, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay, 4x200m freestyle relay, 50m freestyle, and a 10km marathon.

Olympic Diving

Diving became an Olympic event in the 1904 games. The diving events have not changed much since 1928; men and women compete in 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform events. The 2000 Sydney Games saw the introduction of synchronized diving competitions. The synchronized diving events have two divers performing the same dive at the same time. There are two synchronized diving competitions: the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform.

Olympic Water Polo

Water polo is played by two teams of seven, six field players and one goalie, and can be described as aquatic handball. Players swim and tread water in order to score goals for their teams. To score a goal, players avoid defenders and pass the ball to fellow teammates. A goal is scored when the ball is thrown into a net defended by the opposing team’s goalie. The 1900 Paris games saw the debut of water polo. Although water polo was not played at the 1904 games, the event has been a part of every Olympic Games since. Women’s water polo made its first appearance at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Olympic Synchronized Swimming

Like rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming is an exclusively female Olympic competition. Synchronized swimming involves advanced water skills; athletes need a lot of strength, acrobatic ability, flexibility, good timing, and amazing breath control, especially when the swimmer is upside down in the water. The sport is a combination of swimming, dance, and gymnastics; swimmers perform elaborate, choreographed routines to music. Synchronized swimming debuted as an Olympic event in 1984, with solo and duet competitions. In 1996, the solo and duet events were replaced by a water ballet event performed by teams of eight. Water ballet was dropped, and two events, team and duet, have been in the Olympic Games since the 2000 Sydney Games.

Swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming are just four of the many events of the Summer Olympic Games. Athletes train years to have the opportunity to compete in this prestigious sporting event. Held every four years, the Olympic Games is a time when athletes from all over the world can come together and compete in a safe environment. To participate, to represent your country, is an honor not many individuals ever experience.