When it comes to competitive swimming there are various strokes and distances that can be competed in at most competitions. Competitive swimming started to become increasingly popular in the in the 1800’s, and due to its popularity is and has been for a long time one of the most popular events in the summer Olympics.
Competitive swimming has an international governing body that goes by the world recognized name of FINA. The governing body of FINA includes local sub groups such as Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) and Swimming Teachers Association (STA) in the United Kingdom,USA Swimming (USAS) and United States Masters Swimming (USMS) in the United States. FINA regulates the four swimming disciplines, swum over different distances as outlined below.
Freestyle, also known as ‘front crawl’, can be swum using any technique or style the swimmer chooses, although front crawl is swum 99% of the time, and thus in swimming competitions bares no restrictions on what action the swimmers use. The only exception to this is when the swimmer is swimming the freestyle part of an individual medley event. The following events are held for freestyle in distances of 50 m, 100 m, 200 m, 400 m, 800 m and 1500 m. All of these can be swum in regular competitions and major games.
Butterfly events require that the swimmer’s actions are equal at both sides; therefore the left side of the body has to do the same as the right. The leg kick of the butterfly stroke is commonly known as the ‘dolphin’ leg kick. Butterfly is considered one of the most physically challenging of the swimming strokes. The following events are held for Butterfly at distances of 50 m, 100 m, and 200 m. The 50m Butterfly can be swum in practically all competitions accept for the Olympics at the time of writing this, much this may change in the future.
Breaststroke is the stroke from which butterfly evolved. The restriction with Breaststroke is that the swimmer’s hands must be pushed forward together from the chest. Breaststroke is the slowest stroke in competitive swimming, and always will be. The following events are held for Breaststroke at distances of 50 m, 100 m, and 200 m. The 50m Breaststroke can be swum in practically all competitions accept for the Olympics at the time of writing this, much this may change in the future.
Backstroke is basically front crawl on your back. Swimmers have to lie on their back at all times except during turns to perform the stroke. Swimmers rotate their arms back over their shoulder one at a time and pull their arms back through under the water to provide a push, with a constant flowing leg kick. The following events are held for Backstroke at distances of 50 m, 100 m, and 200 m. The 50m Backstroke can be swum in practically all competitions accept for the Olympics at the time of writing this, much this may change in the future.