Human swimming

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A person doing the front crawl

Swimming is the movement of the body through water using arms and legs. Most of the time equipment is not used. People swim for exercise and fun.[1]

People swim using their arms and/or legs. There are several "strokes": breaststroke, front crawl, butterfly, and backstroke are some of them. The main stroke that is easiest to swim is front crawl.

Swimming can be done for competitive sport. Many schools use swimming as a physical training exercise.

Society[change | change source]

Swimming has been around for a long time. Humans learned how to swim from the sea creatures. When they started swimming, they could swim as well and fast as today.

Swimming works all the muscles simultaneously. It is impact free.

Competitive swimming became popular in the nineteenth century. The goal of competitive swimming is to constantly improve upon one's time(s), or to beat the competitors in any given event. However, some professional swimmers who do not hold a national or world ranking are considered the best in regard to their technical skills. Typically, an athlete goes through a cycle of training in which the body is overloaded with work in the beginning and middle segments of the cycle. The workload is decreased in the final stage as the swimmer approaches the competition in which he or she is to compete in. This final stage is often referred to as "shave and taper"; the swimmer tapering downs his or her workload to be able to perform at their optimal level. At the very end of this stage, before competition, the swimmer shaves off all exposed hair for the sake of reducing drag and having a sleeker and more hydrodynamic feel in the water. Women who are menstruating may use tampons rather than pads.

Style[change | change source]

There are several styles in swimming. Some of them are:

  • Front crawl: fastest and most efficient technique; also called freestyle, because swimmers use it in freestyle events
  • Backstroke: only stroke that is swum on the back with the swimmer looking up; uses the same flutterkick as crawl
  • Breaststroke: one of the easiest and most relaxing strokes for novices; competitive swimmers find it difficult because it uses more energy when swum at a fast pace
  • Butterfly: powerful and fast; relies on good technique; uses the dolphin kick

Equipment[change | change source]

Sometimes equipment is used when swimming. Equipment can include:

  • Fins
  • Kickboard: keeps the upper body afloat; allows the swimmer to concentrate on kicking correctly
  • Pull buoy: foam float that swimmers hold between their thighs to keep the lower body high & flat; helps to learn the arm & upper body movements

References[change | change source]

  1. "Healthy Swimming/Recreational Water". http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/health_benefits_water_exercise.html.