Swimming didn’t emerge as a popular sport or past time until the early 19th century. A National Swimming Society was formed in the UK, with competitions being held towards the end of that century. In the early days of the sport the most popular stroke was what has become to be known as the modern day breaststroke.
The sport made its debut at the Olympic Games in 1896 and has featured on the sport roster ever since. Changes to the number of events in terms of strokes, distances and programmes for both male and female competitors have changed substantially over the years.
1908 saw the formation of the current international swimming federation FINA in London, prior to this there was no standard structure or rules that governed the sport globally.
FINA now govern the sport on the international stage and set rules and regulations followed at all levels of competition. Swimming has seen many technological advances with the introduction of temperature controlled pools, anti-wave lane rope, goggles and of course the racing suits.
The sport has continued to grow with current World Championship and Olympic swimming seeing more than thirty nations competing for medals.