Swimming at the Summer Olympics

Swimming At The Summer Olympics

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Swimming at the Summer Olympics

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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 and the one with the largest number of events.

Men's events

Women's events

Olympic records

The International Olympic Committee recognise the best performances in all 32 current pool-based swimming events at the Games as Olympic records.

Medal table


Notable changes to the sport

Times have consistently dropped over the years due to better training techniques and to new developments in 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 at yards, instead of the usual metres. A 100 metre pool was built for the 1908 Olympics and sat 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,...
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