The sport of swimming has been around for millennia with the earliest recording of the activity dating back to ancient paintings from around 12,000BC. Written accounts of swimming have been around for approximately 4,000 years. The first publication about swimming was by Nikolaus Wynmann in 1538 whose book was titled The Swimmer or a Dialogue on the Art of Swimming. Swimming is a global recreational activity, and as demonstrated by these examples, will be so for many more years.
During the 1800’s swimming became a recognized competitive sport, and the goal was simple; beat your competitors. Like cycling in the wind, swimmers need to be efficient in their competitions and create the least amount of resistance through the water in their quest to finish first. There are four types or strokes within swimming, which are freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly. Some styles of competition combine all four strokes into one event and teams utilize swimmers skilled in each specific stroke style.
Similar to other endurance sports, swimming has become a highly specialized sport with regards to equipment. There are many training tools and gear that swimmers use to train, such as drag suits, zoomers, kickboards, and paddles to name a few.
Open water swimming is increasing in popularity and outdoor enthusiasts are taking the plunge in rivers, inland lakes, canals, and the ocean. This activity is ideal for beginners, experienced swimmers, and triathletes with the health benefits ranging from cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength to improving flexibility, coordination, and building stamina. Furthermore, it does not impact the joints so it is a fantastic low-impact activity for those with injuries who are unable to participate in land-based activities. Participants and coaches in other endurance sports are beginning to see the benefits of swimming as a cross-training activity and are incorporating it into their training programs.
The lure of the natural environment continues to draw new participants to open water swimming, and as a result, events and challenges are emerging constantly. It is fantastic way to connect with nature and immerse your self amongst the countryside and coastlines. Open water swimming can be a rejuvenating and energizing experience for the body and soul.
Join your friends at Endurance Unlimited to organize your swims with others and feel the satisfaction of exercising with friends. Jump in and make a splash!