40 Fun Facts about Swimming

Kids jumping into pool

Swimming offers a vigorous workout and a fun way to pass a hot summer day. Many people even consider it a form of meditation, as the rhythm of stroking through the water for a while seems to lessen any problem you might have.

There are all kinds of fun swimming facts that even avid swimmers might not know. The history of swimming dates back to ancient Egypt, leaving centuries for humans to come up with interesting and innovative ways to swim.

Read on for some unique swimming facts that will make you appreciate the sport even more—or at least be great conversation starters.

Swimming History

  1. The first swimming goggles were made from tortoise shells.
  2. Swimming was first introduced at the Olympics in 1896.
  3. The first known record of people swimming dates back to Egyptian drawings from 2500 BC, with stone age paintings in the Cave of Swimmers dating back even further.
  4. Benjamin Franklin invented swim fins to help move through the water more efficiently.
  5. The oldest known concrete swimming pool was built in Texas in 1915.
  6. Breastroke is the oldest known form of swimming stroke.
  7. Synchronized swimming was popularized by actress Esther Williams in her “aqua musicals” of the 1940s and 1950s.
  8. An outdoor swimming pool was added to the White House in 1975 by President Gerald Ford.
  9. The first swimming races were held in Japan in 36 BC.
  10. The U.S. National Swimming Pool Institute was founded in 1956, and still sets safety standards for pools today.

Impressive Swimming Stats

  1. Most competitive swimmers swim 6-12 miles a day.
  2. An Olympic pool can hold up to 850,000 gallons of water.
  3. Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim the English Channel, in 1926.
  4. Mark Spitz beat the record for the most gold medals in one Olympic games when he won 7 gold medals at the 1972 games.
  5. The largest swimming pool ever built was made in Moscow, Russian.
  6. The longest swimming pool is Casablanca, Morocco. It is 480 meters long and 75 meters wide, covering 8.9 acres.
  7. The largest swimming pool in the U.S. was the Fleishhacker Pool in San Francisco, but it closed in 1971.
  8. Don Schollander was the first swimmer to break 2 minutes for the 200 meter race.
  9. Freedivers can hold their breath for more than 10 minutes.
  10. The crawl/freestyle stroke is the fastest Olympic swim stroke.
  11. A Malaysian resort has 643 different swimming pools.
  12. Australian Ian Thorpe became the youngest world champion swimmer in 1998.

Weird Swimming Stuff

  1. Most professional swimmers shave their whole body before they compete.
  2. A space shuttle turbopump could empty an entire Olympic-sized pool in less than 25 seconds.
  3. Many swimmers have very flexible ankles and can touch the ground with their toes while laying on their backs.
  4. More than half of Americans can’t swim.
  5. Competitive swimming became more popular after World War I, when “long john”-style swimming costumes went out of fashion.
  6. Home swimming pools became popular after World War II, when Hollywood movies from synchronized swimming start Esther Williams made them more desirable.
  7. Australia is known as the country that is most passionate about swimming.
  8. The first topless male swimming suits were worn in America in 1935.
  9. The first bikini was invented in Paris in 1946.
  10. Swimming was known to be a noble skill for Japanese samurai.

Health & Fitness

  1. In one hour, swimming burns about 40% more calories than biking.
  2. Swimming burns about 30% more calories than running per hour.
  3. Swimming strengthens the heart and lungs.
  4. More than half of competitive swimmers experience shoulder pain.
  5. Swimming can improve exercise-induced asthma.
  6. Swimming lowers stress and depression.
  7. Swimming in saltwater can detoxify the skin and promote new cell growth.
  8. Aerobic activities like swimming can reduce inflammation.

Enroll in Swim Lessons Today

Now that you know so much more about swimming, are you ready to jump in the pool? Improve your swimming technique or learn to swim by contacting SwimJim today.