Types of Swimming
Swimming is a popular recreational activity in Britain and there are pools in most towns which are open to members of the public. Swimming is highly recommended by experts as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and it is an ideal sport for all the family to participate in.
Synchronised swimming or ‘synchro’ was originally known as ‘water ballet’, so called because it incorporates the graceful choreographed moves and glamorous costumes of ballet. Synchronised swimming is very strenuous and requires great strength, flexibility and powerful lungs. Recent tests have deemed synchro to be the second most aerobic activity after long distance running.
The objective of synchronised swimming is to execute a series of movements to music that is played through underwater speakers without sculling or using the floor for balance at any time. Swimmers must execute their moves with elegance and style either by themselves or, more commonly, in synchronisation with a partner or team.
Presentation is also a key element of synchronised swimming, requiring swimmers to be well-groomed, wear colourful costumes and adjust their facial expressions to the mood of the music. Synchronised swimming is an official Olympic sport and divided into solo, duet and team competitions (a team usually comprising of eight swimmers).
Ocean swimming is a long tradition that dates back to the 19th century. Many people have tried, and often failed, to swim across the world’s most turbulent waters. Close to home, there is a long line of swimmers who, since 1875, have made the journey across the English channel and the Channel Swimming Association offers information about Channel Swimming, practical advice and a list of all the swimmers who have been officially recorded to have swum the channel. The first man to swim the English Channel was Matthew Webb in 1875, crossing the channel in 21 hours 45 minutes. In 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to complete the swim and the youngest swimmer to cross the channel was Marcus Hooper in 1929, aged 12.