Swimming – One of the most Popular Activities in the USA
There are many health benefits that a person can gain from swimming. Swimming works most muscles of the body, burns a lot of calories and is often recommended activity for people with injuries or disabilities. It is one of the most popular Olympic sports and one of the oldest activities in human history. According to an article written by Dr. Melinda Biro (2015), swimming can be traced back to ancient Egypt where clay tablet from 4000 to 9000 B.C. show people swimming similar style of swimming to modern freestyle stroke.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, swimming became a more common practice around 2500 B.C. “”In Greece and Rome swimming was a part of martial training and was, with the alphabet, also part of elementary education for males.”” (p.1) As swimming was evolving and gaining popularity it started to turn into more organized and sport. In Japan there is evidence of swimming races that can be traced to 1st century B.C. (p. 1). Swimming continued to develop and evolve over centuries and gained more and popularity.
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Overtime four distinct styles of swimming emerged. With growing popularity over health benefits some countries in the 17 century enacted a royal decree that made the teaching of swimming at schools mandatory. This led to holding of interschool competitions. “”The backstroke began to appear in the picture in the early 20th century as an independent style.”” (Hopkins, 2018) It was first introduced at Olympics in 1900 with a 200-yard course.
“Backstroke at first was only men’s sport as in 1847 in London the first women’s swimming club declared that it was shameless for women to swim on their back and banned this style.”” (Biro, 2015, p. 41) This rule was adapted throughout the world until 1924 Olympics in Paris. As backstroke became more competitive and represented by man and women swimmers it continues to evolve. “”In the 1950s, the shoulders turned slightly, the underwater phase of the arm stroke was executed deeper and was finished by the thumb facing down further away from the thighs.”” (Biro, 2015, p.42)
In a backstroke swimmer goes thru stages while swimming. Swimmer floats on back in the water in neutral position while staying in line with spine. Face is kept above the water surface and looking up at the sealing. Legs perform a flutter kick motion with toes pointing and legs alternate kick upward and then downward. At the same time, arms perform alternating movements with one arm sweeping underwater from an overhead position backward to the hips, the other arm recovers above water from the hips to the overhead position. Swimmer inhales thru the mouth and exhales thru the mouth.
Backstroke is the only stroke that starts while in the water facing the wall. Swimmer places legs shoulder width apart on the wall with both heels. To take off the swimmer lets go of the wall and pushes with feet away from the wall for best propulsion. While on back swimmer streamline with both hands extended and in hand over hand position. After the start swimmer goes under the water and begins to flutter kick. As swimmer comes out of the water he or she begins to use arms to increase the speed with one arm ahead of the other in half cycle delay.
As the swimmer get closer to the wall that is where he or she encounters a problem as one can not see where to go. Often flags mark an approximate area of the turn. Although turning head is possible it will slow down the swimmer. Most of the professional or experienced swimmers know when to turn around as they know the number of strokes they must take. The backstroke is a competition stroke, but it is also used in recreational swimming as a rest from other strokes, frequently with minimum arm motion and only enough kick to maintain forward motion. (p. 6)
Swimming is a good all-round activity as it keeps swimmer heart rate up and puts less impact stress on a body. Periodic swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and helps maintain a healthy weight, heart and lungs. Backstroke is easier style to master as it is easier to breath, but its down side is not being able to see where you are going. As its name implies backstroke is the only swimming stroke that is swum on the back. Backstroke in particular helps strengthen back muscles. It is the more important stroke to learn as it allows for easier breathing. The only major deficiency of the backstroke is not being able to see where you going which may cause swimmer to run into an obstacle.