Swimming and diving

Authored by: Melly Karst , Sarah Zipp

Routledge Handbook of Global Sport

Print publication date:  January  2020
Online publication date:  January  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138887237
eBook ISBN: 9781315714264
Adobe ISBN:


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People have been swimming and diving for thousands of years, most likely copying animals they observed in the water. The evolution from “dog paddling” to Olympic butterfly is rich with stories, skill development, technological advancements and shear human creativity. This chapter explores the history, development and critical milestones in swimming and diving. In particular, we focus on how the sport spread across the globe, examining pivotal developments and barrier-breaking athletes from diverse backgrounds. Both swimming and diving are governed by the Federation de Internationale de Natation (FINA), although each sport has its unique history and development. Swimming includes various evens performed in standardized pools or in open-water, with competitors racing the clock and each other for the fastest times. Diving is a judged sport and includes variations of diving board height and type. Other disciplines, such as water polo and artistic swimming, are also included in the FINA governed events.

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