35 Surprising Swimming Facts You Didn’t Know!

What is Swimming?

Curious about swimming facts? Before we get to facts about swimming, let us know what swimming is. Swimming is either an individual or a team racing sport that involves the movement of one’s body in water. It is also seen as an activity or an exercise to keep oneself fit. Swimming as a competition is an immensely popular Olympic sport.

Swimming is an amazing activity that helps in keeping your body fit. It also provides a lot of enjoyment especially during summers. Whether you swim or not, you should know something about swimming. So, without any further ado, let us begin our surprising swimming facts.

Swimming Facts 1-5

1. Swimming is not a new sport. Paintings from the Stone Age, which are over 10,000 years old, were uncovered. Written references of swimming date from around 2000 BCE. The drawings of Egyptians depicted swimming. The drawings date back to 2500 BCE.

2. Colymbetes, sive de arte natandi dialogus et festivus et iucundus lectu (or The Swimmer, or a Dialogue on the Art of Swimming and Joyful and Pleasant to Read) is the first known complete book on swimming. It was written by Nikolaus Wynmann who was a professor of languges.

3. St George’s Baths were the first indoor swimming pool in the world. It was made open to public in 1828. Japan was the country that had the earliest records of swimming races. Swimming races in Japan were held from 36 BCE.

4. Front crawl technique was first introduced by Native Americans to Europeans. It is the fastest stroke and is usually the choice for triathlons and freestyle competitions.

Similarly, trudgen or East Indian stroke or racing stroke was gift from the natives of South America. It is named after Sir John Arthur Trudgen who learnt the stroke from them and introduced it to the world in 1873.

5. The first man to cross English Channel was Captain Mathew Webb. He achieved this feat in 1875. Gertrude Ederle, an American, was the first woman to cross English Channel in 1926.

Swimming Facts 6-10

6. The first-time swimming was introduced as a sport in Olympics was in Athens in 1896. Only men’s swimming became part of the Olympics. Women were allowed in 1912.

7. The first ocean liner to have an indoor swimming pool is debatable. It may be Titanic or Adriatic.

8. One of the founding fathers of the USA, Benjamin Franklin invented swimming fins.

9. Did you know that children who are 12 months old can learn swimming? Drowning rates decrease significantly in children of 1 to 4 years who enroll in formal swimming classes.

10. Orthlied pool located in Morocco’s Casablanca is the longest pool in the world. It measures 480 * 75 meters long which equals to 7 football fields.

Swimming Facts 11-15

11. A resort in Malaysia’s Port Dickson has a whopping 643 swimming pools apart from the private swimming pools allocated for each villa.

12. Do you wonder why professional swimmers have caps on their head and shave their arms and legs? It’s because hair creates friction which decreases their performance. That is the reason why most of the sea creatures, aquatic creatures, and semi-aquatic creatures are almost hairless like hippos, penguins, etc.

13. Free divers can hold their breath in water for around 10 minutes! Aleix Segura, a Spanish freediver held his breath under water for 24 minutes and 3 seconds. It is a world record.

14. 2000 swimmers get selected for Olympics trial, but only 50 of them can make it to Olympic swim team.

15. Breaststroke is the oldest stroke in the world. It dates back to the Stone Age. It is also the slowest stroke in the Olympics.

Swimming Facts 16-20

16. According to an Australian study, swimmers lose nearly 125 ml of water from body through sweat for every kilometer they swim.

17. According to a 2014 survey conducted by American Red Cross found out that over half of the USA’s population (65%) can’t swim.

18. The youngest competitive swimmer in the world championship in the world is Alzain Tareq. She was just 10 years old (in 2015) when she became a professional swimmer.

19. The earliest record of swimming goggles was recorded in Persia in the 14th century. The early swimming goggles were made of tortoise shells. Rubber goggles were created in 1930s.

20. Swimmers use every big muscle of their body, and hence is one of the best ways to exercise one’s body.

Swimming Facts 21-25

21. Swimming for an hour burns nearly 784 calories (based on the strokes). Running burns around 557 calories and biking burns only 483 calories. Technically, swimming burns 30% more calories than running for an hour and 40% more calories than biking for an hour.

22. Ian Thrope, an Australian, won men’s 400 meters freestyle in 1998. With this victory, he was the youngest swimmer to win world championship in the entire world.

23. Florence Chadwick, an American (California) swam from France to England in over thirteen hours!

24. The ankles of swimmers are so flexible that their toes can touch the ground when they are lying down.

25. Over 50% of the swimmers complain about shoulder pain.

Swimming Facts 26-30

26. Polyester is the best material for swimming. It causes less friction and allows the body to move freely in water.

27. Water of a single Olympic-sized swimming pool is good enough to fill 9,400 bathtubs.

28. Michael Phelps, an American swimmer, won 23 gold medals, 3 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals. He set 39 new world records! He won the most number of Olympic medals to date. He retired in 2016.  

29. Mieko Nagaoka is the world’s oldest swimmer. She is 100 years old and is from Japan. She started her career in 2015 and completed her 1500-meter freestyle swim. She started swimming at the age of 80 to treat her knee injury.

30. The oldest concrete swimming pool was built in Texas in 1915. In 1975, President Gerald Ford built another swimming pool in the White House.

Swimming Facts 31-35

31. Richmond Cavill, an Australian, was the person to introduce freestyle to world.

32. The largest pool is built in Moscow, Russia. Fleishhacker Pool in USA’s San Francisco was the largest pool of the United States of America. But it was closed in 1971.

33. The first bikini was invented in 1946 in Paris. Men wore topless swimming suits for the first time in 1935 in America.

34. Swimming helps in lowering depression and stress. It also improves asthma symptoms that is caused to excessive exercise. However, there are no conclusive evidences to prove that.

35. Saltwater swimming can help in promoting cell growth and detoxifying your skin!

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