Swimming For Dummies - An oversimplified explanation of swimming
If you have ever wanted to get into swimming because of its many benefits or just had questions about how it works, you've come to the right place. Written by a retired competitive swimmer here is the basics of swimming.
In swimming recognized by the Olympics, NCAA and most professional swimming organizations there are four strokes or different types of swimming technique: Freestyle (also known as front crawl), Backstroke (also known as Back), Breaststroke (also known as Breast), and Butterfly (called Fly by most swimmers). Out of these strokes the fastest and most efficient stroke is Freestyle. This stroke, commonly referred to as Free is where face is down in the water, your legs do a scissor like kick, and your arms move one at a time catching water in front of you and pulling it behind you. Backstroke to simply put it is freestyle but on your back. This stroke makes it so you can constantly breathe while swimming it however you can't look forward to see where you are going. Breaststroke is the slowest stroke out of the four, but the only stroke that you can swim while completely underwater. This stroke involves a frog like kick combined with both arms pulling at the same time. The last stroke, Butterfly is the hardest and most energy consuming stroke. Butterfly is a stroke that takes lost of time to fully master. The butterfly kick, known as dolphin kick is a vital part of all 4 strokes. The IM (Individual Medley) is a combination of all 4 strokes into one event.
In closed water pool swimming there are a few different kinds of pools. The first most common pool in America is a 25 yard pool. These pools are referred to as "Short Course". These are used for most highschool and college level swim meets and events. Olympic pools are 50 meters long and are the choice for almost all international meets. Most swimmers will refer to these as "Long Course". Usually in places outside of the U.S. you can find 25 meter pools and to most U.S. swimmers these are known as "Short Course Meters". For those of you who don't know a meter is slightly bigger than a yard so a Long Course pool is more than double the length of a Short Course pool. Events that are swam at most meets range from a 50 all the way up to a mile short course or a 1600 long course. Events that are backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly are either a 50 ,100, or 200 meters or yards. The IM is a 200 or 400 meter/yard event.
How a Race Works
In the begging of a race the swimmers get up on a starting block. The official then says "take your mark" a slight pause occurs then a starting beep goes off. The swimmers then dive in and swim their race. The race is finished when the swimmer touches the touch pad on the wall at the end of the race. The time is recorded from between the starting beep and the swimmer touching the touch pad. Whoever has the fastest time is determined the winner.