The Olympic Games have been around for many centuries. But it was not until the Olympic Games were held in Athens Greece in 1896 that competitive swimming was first introduced. The focus of competitive swimming is to swim a set distance, using a specific stroke, in the shortest time possible. During the 1896 games, all of the swimming events were held in the Bay of Zea. There were three swimming events that were open to every team, which include the 100m freestyle, 500m freestyle, and 1200m freestyle. There was a fourth special event that was only opened to Greek sailors which were called the sailors 100m freestyle. All of the participating countries swim teams were comprised of men.
But over the years, a lot has changed about the Olympic Games. There are now 17 swimming events, that both men and women are able to participate in. These include individual events, which are made up of four different swim strokes. The strokes that are included are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Team relay events are also included in the most recent Olympic games. Two of the three relays are done using the freestyle stroke, while the third relay is a combination of the four swimming strokes.
There are many top medalists that have made quite a splash during the Olympic games over the years.
For the USA Men’s team, this includes:
Being one of the most decorated Olympians, Michael Phelps has come out of retirement to participate in the 2016 Rio games. With 22 medals already under his belt, he is looking to add more to his collection by competing in the 200m medley, 100m, and 200m butterfly events.
First seen at the 1968 Mexico City Games, Mark did not perform as well as expected. But during the 1972 Munich Games, he was determined to do better this time around, and he did. Mark set new world records for every swimming event, which lead him to win 7 gold medals.
Matthew first competed in 1984 Olympic Games, but it was until 1988, four years later that he really shined at the games. That year he took home 7 gold medals, something that had not been done since Mark Spitz, in 1972.
For the USA Women’s team, this includes:
Between the years of 1992 to 2004, Jenny has won more medals than any other female swimmer. With 12 Olympic medals under her belt, Jenny retired and went back to school to become an anesthesiologist.
Making her debut in the 1988 Olympic Games, where she medaled in two events. Then over the next couple Olympic games she took home a total of 12 medals. Durin the Beijing games, she became the oldest Olympic swimmer in history.
She was first seen at the 2004 Athens games, where she broke the world record for the 4x200m freestyle relay. Then at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Natalie became the first U.S. female athlete to win six medals in one Olympiad. With 12 medals under her belt, she is one of the three females to hold that many Olympic medals.
After eight days of competition in Omaha, the U.S. Swimming team is getting ready to head out to Rio 2016. The team is made up Olympic veterans, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. As well as 30 first time-Olympians, including Katie Ledecky. With so much swimming talent heading to Rio, the U.S. is expected to bring home several medals in many of the swimming events.
We cannot wait to watch the swim competition this year, we are ready for Rio 2016.