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Latest news in the world of Aquatics.

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An Olympic sport since 1896, there were only three swimming events at the first modern Olympics, in Athens.

It wasn't until the London Olympics in 1908 that a 100 metre pool was used (inside the athletics track).

In Athens 1896, athletes swam in the Bay of Zea; used the Asničres basin on the Seine in Paris 1900; and a lake in St. Louis 1904.

1908 also saw the founding of the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), to formulate a set of rules for swimming, diving and water polo and to keep a tally of the world records.

Synchronised Swimming was added to Aquatics in Los Angeles 1984.

Athens 2004 marked the first time in Olympic Games history that all Aquatics events took place in a single venue; the Olympic Aquatic Centre of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex.

Aquatics - Diving

Gymnasts first practised their acrobats over water in Europe, during the 17th century.

Diving entered the Olympics in Paris 1924, with pairs (synchronised) diving making a new splash during the Sydney 2000 Games.

Diving Competition

Dives are awarded points out of 10, depending on their elegance and skill, then adjusted to take into account the degree of difficulty in performing the combination of somersaults, pikes, twists and tucks; a reverse 1.5 somersault with 3.5 twists is considered the most difficult.

Seven judges traditionally score the dives and nine judges scrutinise the synchronised diving; four judging the execution of individual dives and five keeping a close watch on the mirror image.

Men Women
Individual Springboard
Individual Platform

Synchronised Springboard
Synchronised Platform

Individual Springboard
Individual Platform

Synchronised Springboard
Synchronised Platform

Diving Rules.

Aquatics - Swimming

Women's swimming events came into the Olympic Games in Stockholm 1912. Now men and women compete in 16 events each, with four different strokes across a range of distances.

Freestyle Races
50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m (women) and 1,500m (men).

Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly:
100 and 200 metres.

All four strokes are used in the 200m and 400m individual medley events.

The programme is completed with the 4 x 100m freestyle, 4 x 200m freestyle and 4 x 100m medley relays.

Swimming Competition

Each race has a maximum of eight swimmers.

Preliminary heats in the 50m, 100m and 200m lead to semi-finals and finals, based on the fastest times.

In relays and individual events of 400 metres or more, the eight fastest finishers in the preliminaries advance directly to the finals.

Men Women
50m freestyle
100m freestyle
200m freestyle
400m freestyle
1,500m freestyle

100m backstroke
200m backstroke

100m breaststroke
200m breaststroke

100m butterfly
200m butterfly

200m individual medley
400m individual medley

4x100m freestyle relay
4x100m medley relay

4x200m freestyle relay

Marathon 10km

50m freestyle
100m freestyle
200m freestyle
400m freestyle
800m freestyle

100m backstroke
200m backstroke

100m breaststroke
200m breaststroke

100m butterfly
200m butterfly

200m individual medley
400m individual medley

4x100m freestyle relay
4x100m medley relay

4x200m freestyle relay

Marathon 10km

Swimming Rules.

Aquatics - Synchronised Swimming

Gymnastics takes to the water - but how do they keep their make-up on?

The Canadians started the water ballet in the 1920s and it soon spread to the United States, culminating in a display at the 1934 Chicago World's Fair.

Esther Williams made the water art more popular, by performing in a string of MGM 'aqua musicals' in the 1940s and '50s.

From 1948 to 1968, synchronised swimming entered the Olympics as an exhibition sport and became a full medal winner in Los Angeles 1984.

Only open to women swimmers, medals are offered in two events: duet competition and team competition.

Syncro Competition

Both events consist of a technical routine and a free routine, performed to music within a time limit.

The technical routine involves specific moves in a set order, including boosts, rockets, thrusts and twirls.

The free routine has no restrictions on music or choreography.

The judges like to see swimmers performing to a high degree of difficulty and risk, with impeccable execution, innovative choreography and a performance that makes it all look easy.

In judging synchronised swimming, two panels of five judges consider the performance, with one panel scoring technical merit and the other appraising the artistic impression.

Each judge marks the performance out of 10.

Synchronised Swimming Rules.

Aquatics - Water Polo

Water polo, which began as an aquatic form of rugby in England during the mid-1800s, is one of the most demanding sports. Swimmers are not allowed to touch the sides or bottom of the pool during four, seven-minute quarters.

Water polo players need tremendous strength and endurance as they cover up to 3 kilometres in a game, while battling to get to the ball and keeping their opponents off it.

The sport was included in the Olympic Games as early as Paris 1900 but women could only play it at the Olympics 100 years later, in Sydney 2000.

Water Polo Competition

Twelve teams qualify for the men's division at the Olympic Games while eight teams compete in the women's division.

The qualifying teams are divided into two pools of six for a round-robin preliminary heat.

The top four teams from each pool then advance to the quarter-finals and the quarter-finals winners advance to the medal rounds.

The eight teams play a full round-robin preliminary heat, with the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals.

The two teams failing to advance play to determine fifth and sixth place.

Water Polo Rules.

Diving - Olympic Greats

In Seoul 1988, US diver Greg Louganis cracked his head on the springboard while attempting a reverse 2.5 pike. After receiving stitches, Louganis went on to win the gold in both men's events.

American born Aileen Riggin won the Olympic gold medal in springboard diving at the tender age of 14, in the Antwerp 1920 Olympics. In the Paris 1924 Olympics, Riggin won a silver medal for springboard diving and a bronze in the 100m backstroke, to become the first person to earn Olympic medals in both diving and swimming.

Olympic Swimmers

Johnny - call me Tarzan - Weissmuller won the 100m and 400m freestyle in Paris 1924, the 100m freestyle in Amsterdam 1928 and was a member of the 4x200m gold-medal winning relay team in both years. The Hungarian-born swimmer also won a bronze medal for USA in the 1924 water polo competition.

Mark Spitz didn't get anywhere near the six gold medals he predicted in Mexico City 1968 (2 golds, a silver and a bronze) but went on to haul seven golds for the United States in Munich 1972 - breaking seven world records and taking his tally to nine career gold medals, one silver and one bronze.

Mary T. Meagher, appropriately nicknamed 'Madame Butterfly', won three gold medals at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics; in both butterfly events (100m and 200m) and in the 4x100m medley relay. Past her prime in Seoul 1988,  Madame Butterfly still managed a bronze in the 200m butterfly and a silver in the medley 4x100m relay.

Australia's Dawn Fraser was unbeatable at the 100m freestyle, winning the Olympic event three times (in Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964) setting new world records in the process. She also picked up a gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay in Melbourne and added another 4 silver medals to her collection in the 400m freestyle in Melbourne and in relays at the following Olympic games.

Alfred Hajos was only 13 years old when he his father drowned in the Danube River. The Hungarian vowed to be a good swimmer and won the first Olympic swimming events, in Athens 1896 - the 100m and the 1,200m freestyle, in open sea.

Inge de Bruijn was one of the stars of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, winning four medals - three individual gold and one relay silver - and setting three world records.

Water Polo - Hungarian Great

Dezsö Gyarmati goes down in history as the greatest water poloist of all-time.

The Hungarian won water polo medals at five consecutive Olympic Games (Gold in Helsinki 1952, Melbourne 1956 and Tokyo 1964; Silver in London 1948; and Bronze in Rome 1960).

Gyarmati was the fastest water polo player of his time, was ambidextrous and could play either back or forward. He then went on to coach the Hungarian team that won the Olympic title in Montreal 1976.

Olympic Sports

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Aquatics Links

Av. de l' Avant-Poste 4, 1005 Lausanne; Switzerland.
The Fédération Internationale de Natation is the official body of Aquatics.


Diving Australia:
Keeping you informed on diving activities in Australia.

Diving Plongeon Canada:
Diving Plongeon Canada (DPC) is the country’s national governing body of springboard and platform diving. Their membership includes some of the world’s best divers, coaches and officials.

Olympic Diving History:
Includes all Olympic diving medallists.

USA Diving:
Headquartered in Indianapolis at the Pan American Plaza, USA Diving offers a variety of programs for divers of all ages and skill levels.


Australian Swimming:
Australian Swimming's official website. Highlights include news, events and records, national team profiles, photo gallery, history, education and coaching information, video and audio.

British Swimming:
Amateur Swimming Association.

Swim City:
Some beautiful photographs of swimmers and divers.

Swimming Canada:
Swimming Canada represents over 50,000 competitive swimmers registered in more than 350 clubs across the country. In addition, another 75,000 people participate in other competitive SNC-designed activities and programs.

Swimming New Zealand:
Swimming New Zealand is the national organisation which represents swimming, from learn to swim to Olympic Games competition.

Swim Team Canada:
Follow the team’s journey in their quest for gold and witness behind the scenes moments as the Team prepares to compete in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.

USA Swimming:
The national headquarters are located at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Synchronised Swimming

History of Synchronised Swimming in the US:
It all started with Annette Kellerman performing in a glass tank at the New York Hippodrome as the first underwater ballerina, in 1907.

Inside Synchro:
Synchronised swimming insights from an Olympic gold medallist. Jill Savery has been involved with synchronised swimming since 1982. She began at the age of 10 and worked her way up through age group competitions to junior nationals and into senior national competitions, ending her athletic career on a high note with a gold medal in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Synchro Australia:
Almost as bare as the swimmers.

Synchro Canada:
The outstanding success of Canada's national synchronised swimming teams stem from a solid membership base and the quality programming offered by Synchro Canada, the governing body of the sport in Canada.

USA Synchro:
Includes Olympic information, news, results, events, and a newsletter.


Inge de Bruijn:
Profile of Holland's pin-up swimmer at Zwemkroniek Online.

Water Polo

Australian Water Polo:
Australia first played in the Olympic Games in 1948, and has qualified for all subsequent Games, but did not win a point in Olympic competition until 1972 when it drew with Bulgaria. Since then the Aussies have qualified for all Olympics (except Atlanta in 1996) and World Championships, gradually moving up the rankings to a high of fifth in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics.

Magyar Vízilabda Szövetség:
Hungarian Water Polo Federation - only in Hungarian.

USA Water Polo:
United States water polo homepage.

Water Polo Canada:
Canadian Water Polo.

Water Polo World:
Total database dedicated to water polo news, results and statistics.

Further Reading

Olympic Swimming.


Winter Olympics

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