Recreation Swimming and Its Interesting History
Swimming is one of the most popular forms of pastimes in the world and is universally beloved by people from just about every known culture. Humans have had a long and passionate relationship with water since the dawn of prehistory, and we’ve fished, sailed, and enjoyed water for thousands of years. Recreational swimming is among the oldest types of swimming that historians have been able to find, and it shows that even our ancient ancestors enjoyed spending a hot afternoon in the water.
The Origins of Recreational Swimming
Evidence from archaeological digs have shown that swimming was enjoyed as far back as 2500 BCE in Ancient Egypt, as well as in the Roman, Greek, and Assyrian civilisations. In both Rome and Greece, swimming was an important part of martial training, and was included in a young male’s overall education. In fact, the Romans were known for building separate pools for recreation that were not the same as their famous baths. In the east, swimming for recreation dates back to the first century, and there is some evidence to suggest that the ancient Japanese would take part in swimming competitions.
By the 17th century, an imperial edict was released to schools across the country, making swimming a compulsory activity, similarly to what many schools have today in a number of different countries. Swimming competitions in Japan were also fairly common before the country made contact with the Western world. For those that lived in islands and coastal areas on the Pacific, swimming was learned early in childhood, sometimes before they even began to walk.
In medieval Europe, swimming was not popular among most people due to the belief that water carried infection and was the source of epidemics. The fear was most likely sparked by the Black Plague, that had killed a third of all Europeans in less than 6 years, which caused widespread fear and panic. Despite this, swimming was recorded during the 17th century in Great Britain, where records show that people enjoyed spending time at the beaches around the country.
It wouldn’t be until the 19th century where the British began once again to enjoy swimming as a recreational activity, a time that would see the rise of many industries, such as widespread gambling, which would eventually lead to today’s wide range of games for those that enjoy NZ bingo games online. The first modern swimming organisation was put together in London in 1837, and was equipped with six indoor pools and along with diving boards. The first competition involving swimming took place in Australia and consisted of a 400m race in 1846. The Metropolitan Swimming Clubs of London were formed some time later in 1869, and would later on become the Amateur Swimming Association.
Swimming in the Olympics was introduced as a main sport when the first modern Olympics began in 1896. These events were originally only for men, but women began to take place in 1912. Swimming remains one of the primary sports in the Olympics and will remain so for the foreseeable future.