Swimming and its charms

Swimming is the activity of moving living beings through water, which includes keeping on the surface of the water and moving in the desired direction. Swimming is a frequent recreational activity but also a competitive sport. Although swimming is a very healthy activity, if a swimmer does not evaluate his skill and preparation well and does not respect the conditions on the water, there is a constant danger of drowning, so precautionary measures are necessary.

The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates considered water to be the source of life. On one occasion he said poetically: “If the whole world burned down and the flames died down, the only thing left would be water in which the germ of new life lay.”

Even today, it is an indisputable fact that water is a source of life, but also a source of health and a place of recreation, relaxation, and entertainment. Swimming and staying in the water is an unavoidable parts of summer vacation. It is considered one of the oldest physical activities. The oldest recorded trace of human activity related to swimming has been recorded in the form of drawings from the Stone Age, some 7,000 years old. In prehistoric times, people built settlements on water, so practically all their activities were related to water.

In ancient Egypt, Assyria in China in the east, and in ancient Greece and Rome, swimming was part of the system of physical education. In ancient Rome, a person who could not swim was considered illiterate, so there was a saying: “Neither learned to swim, nor learned to write.” The Greek philosopher and student of Socrates, Plato, believed that no official duty could be entrusted to someone who could not read or swim.

In the Middle Ages, under the influence of humanism and the Renaissance, the first textbook on swimming in the German city of Augsburg was published in 1538 by Professor Wyman. That year, for the first time, a French soldier swam the English Channel, which took him about 22 hours, and later Gertrug Erdele’s wife swam the same channel on August 6, 1926, at 2 p.m. 35 minutes.

Here are some very interesting facts you probably didn’t know about swimming:

▪ The first written work on swimming dates from 1538 and was written in Latin;
▪ Swimming has been on the program of the Olympic Games since 1896;
▪ The art of swimming was known to the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians, and in Greece swimming was part of the general culture;
▪ Almost all mammals on earth know how to swim from birth, only man has to “learn”
▪ Elephants can swim, they can use all four legs and they are able to move quite fast due to their weight;
▪ The bikini swimsuit was named after a nuclear test in the South Pacific in the USA, at a place called “Bikini Atoll”;
▪ 65% of people in the US do not know how to swim;
▪ Hungarian swimmer Gyorgy Tumpek in 1952 demonstrated a new style of swimming called “dolphin”;
▪ An hour of vigorous swimming can burn up to 650 calories, so we can say that swimming burns more calories than walking or cycling;

  • Peanuts are a source of energy for swimmers;
    ▪ Swimming strengthens the heart and lungs;
    ▪ Swimming trains all muscle groups;
    ▪ Swimming reduces stress;
    ▪ Water buoyancy makes it ideal for physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises, ie for all those who want to exercise without a huge load on the joints and muscles;
    ▪ Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise (exercise for the heart, lungs and blood vessels) because the resistance to movement in water is 10 times greater than the resistance to air;
    ▪ Over 50% of world-class swimmers suffer from some kind of shoulder pain;
    ▪ Research has shown that sharks swim very fast, and this speed comes from the V-shaped bulges (tentacles) on the skin, which allow greater efficiency in swimming;
    ▪ “Speedo” – a well-known manufacturer of swimming equipment, made a fabric similar in appearance to shark skin and from a material called “fast skin”, which reduces water resistance and turbulence and allows more efficient swimming;
    ▪ In the Dead Sea, due to the very high salt content, the body floats on the surface and it is not possible to swim normally;
    ▪ When the hair is shorter, the swimmer swims faster because there is less friction;
    ▪ Famous film actor Johnny Weissmüller, who played the character of “Tarzan”, is a five-time Olympic swimming winner;
    ▪ Mark Spitz is the first swimmer to win seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics. That record was broken by Michael Phelps with eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics;
    ▪ Synchronized swimming first appeared at the 1984 Olympics;
    ▪ Renowned American physicist, statesman, writer and inventor, Benjamin Franklin invented swimming fins;
    ▪ The first swimming competition recorded was in Japan;
    ▪ Swimming was not included as a sport at the ancient Olympic Games;
    ▪ Sasa Djordjevic from Nis is the first Serb to cross the famous English Channel.

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