In the real world, swimming is a skill that usually must be learned over a period of time - and that's just for swimming on the surface. Swimming underwater is another skill all on its own that must be learned, and even then, no human can stay under for more than a couple of minutes or so at the most without the aid of some special equipment, or some continuous training to boost lung capacity.

In fiction, however, this appears not to be the case. Video games are the biggest offender here. Any character that doesn't have SuperDrowningSkills has a completely natural ability to swim like a fish, even if they've lived out in someplace like a desert their entire life.

Usually, though, they must acquire some special outfit or equipment in order to be able to swim underwater - [[PossessionImpliesMastery but once they do acquire it, they are immediately able to use it like a total pro,]] and don't require any practice using it or moving around in the water with it whatsoever.

Then there's also the fact that in many video games, characters can swim and tread water for indefinite amounts of time without getting tired. In RealLife, swimming exerts a great amount of physical strength and energy, and gets very, very exhausting after some time, even for Olympic Swimmers (the namesake of this trope). Of course, they're also capable of walking for hundreds of miles on dry land without a break either...

This may be a somewhat AcceptableBreakFromReality, however. If characters in video games had even remotely realistic swimming skills, it would take a lot of fun out of exploring {{underwater ruins}} and such, and not to mention it would be [[ItSucks extremely aggravating for players]].

Compare SuperNotDrowningSkills for holding your breath indefinitely. Contrast SuperDrowningSkills and HazardousWater. See also WaterIsAir.

!! Examples:


[[folder: Comicbooks]]
* In ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'', Korinna swims at an incredible pace and seems to be able to hold her breath for incredible amounts of time.

* Subverted with ''Film/ThePoseidonAdventure''. Belle used to be a champion underwater swimmer, but she's years older now, and although she makes it through to the other side of the underwater area and saves the reverend, it's too much for her heart and she dies.
* ''Film/{{Mermaids}}'' has Kate Flax who actually wants to be an Olympic swimmer. She can already swim astoundingly well for a kid of her age [[spoiler:unless she's drunk]].

[[folder: Literature]]
* In ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', this is one of the powers that Percy has inherited from his father Poseidon, god of the sea.
** Poseidon is a Greek god, sometimes known as an Olympian. This makes his son Percy a ''literal'' Olympic Swimmer (in that he is descended from an Olympian, not actually competing in The Olympics).
* ''Literature/PrinceCaspian'' discusses and averts this trope when the children are contemplating swimming a river to escape from the island they're trapped on. They note that the only one of them who would stand a real chance of actually making it to the other side is Susan, who has "won prizes for swimming", but Susan herself points out that without knowing the river or its currents, swimming it would be a ridiculously dangerous thing to do.
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'': How Annie Cresta won her games, outswimming the other tributes. Justified, as she lived in the district responsible for fishing and would have grown up being taught relevant trade skills like swimming.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In the ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' series, starting with the second game, the player character always has perfect swimming skills: never gets tired and never sinks no matter how much armor he or she is wearing. In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'', the player can also swim in icy-cold water without suffering hypothermia or frostbite. There is a concession to realism in that you can only hold your breath underwater for a certain amount of time (in gameplay this grants total concealment from enemies) before having to come up for air. All other characters in the series have SuperDrowningSkills.
* In the ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlertSeries'', Tanya Adams can swim across any sized body of water without slowing down to sink a dreadnought with C4. A few other infantry units from all factions in 3 are this as well
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyCrystalChroniclesEchoesOfTime'': [[SuperDrowningSkills In contrast to]] [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyCrystalChroniclesRingOfFates the previous game]], the hero and whatever allies s/he picks up can swim indefinitely regardless of whatever heavy armor and weaponry they have equipped (one dungeon is ''entirely'' swum). They can also dive, and though they swim back up immediately, the player can just keep hitting the dive button over and over to keep them underwater with no ill effects.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' allows the player to swim indefinitely and never grow tired the first time they ever jump in the water.
* ''VideoGame/HalfMinuteHero'': If Hero doesn't have a boat, he'll just swim across the ocean.
* Both ''VideoGame/{{Everquest}}'' and ''VideoGame/EverquestII'' have a breath mechanism, but beyond that swimming is just another movement mechanic. Both games have a Swimming skill but its only effect on the game is how fast you move when swimming. You can swim in any water forever without tiring or freezing, you can tread water forever and if you have any item or spell that eliminates the breath meter (underwater breathing or a Fishbone Earring or whatever) you can swim forever if you care to do it. In Everquest II you can swim from one continent to another if you have the time (zone edge mechanics block this behavior in Everquest).
* Lampshade hung in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' with [[MeaningfulName Griftah]] the charm salesman, who sells charms that grant amazing abilities...that you already have. One of them (supposedly) gives your character amazing swimming ability.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros'': The titular Mario and Luigi. Apart from their SuperNotDrowningSkills, they've actually managed to out-swim ''torpedoes'' and can dash through the water in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'' by spinning, using their arms as propeller blades. Lampshaded in ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfSuperMarioBros3'', where Luigi points out that Mario can swim better than most fish. Sometimes other characters are this, as well, but not very often, and certainly never quite as swift as the Bros.
* In ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'', your dwarves (and most other non-aquatic creatures) require at least novice skill in swimming to avoid drowning, and at least adequate skill to avoid drowning when stunned, which usually occurs when falling into the water. Other than that the swimming skill only affects speed, and swimmers only tire when selecting a swimming "gait" above the medium speed, in the same way they only tire when running or sprinting on land.
* Zig-zagged in the various games of ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' series.
** Probably justified in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast A Link to the Past]]''. Link starts out with SuperDrowningSkills, but is then able to swim indefinitely after he gets an item called the Zora Flippers, [[AWizardDidIt which are magic]], presumably explaining why they allow to swim forever.
** Played straight in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'', ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Majora's Mask]]'', ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]'', where Link can swim for an indefinite amount of time on the surface of the water. Underwater swimming does have a time limit until you get the proper items, but that's a [[OxygenMeter different trope]].
** Averted in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild Breath of the Wild]]'' where there's no underwater swimming and surface swimming is limited by a stamina meter. Because the former game is set on an ocean, this was done to prevent the player from traveling between the islands without the boat. The latter game zig zags when it comes to the Zora Armor; it only slightly increases your swimming speed, but it also gives you the ability to swim straight up waterfalls rapidly.
* Present throughout ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series. The PlayerCharacter, regardless of race of background, can swim perfectly well even if they are in a full suit of armor and carrying hundreds of pounds of gear. Even the Khajiit, a CatFolk race with a desert homeland, [[CatsHateWater can swim without issue]]. Arguably Justified for the Argonians, LizardFolk with gills who hail from a marshy homeland, who are canonically good swimmers (even conducting underwater guerilla warfare with this ExploitedImmunity). Less justified is that they can even do this in, say, the frigid waters of ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]''. This also applies to [=NPCs=] who, whether they are following you, chasing you, or simply accidentally wind up in water, can swim without issue.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebAnimation/DSBTInsaniT'': Due to being a lifeguard and friends with [[MakingASplash WG]], Corla is an incredibly great swimmer.
** Tide is a [[FishPeople fish person]], so of course he's going to be a fast swimmer!

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animalympics}}'' features ''actual'' Olympic swimming, but Animalympics being Animalympics, it takes it ''beyond'' Olympic swimming: When caught by a massive wave caused by his opponent, the ginormous Japanese orca [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Ono Nono]], the Californian otter Dean Wilson resorts to riding through the tube, using his own tail as a surf board. Granted, being from So-Cal, he is trained in doing this well enough to keep cool all the time, but he has certainly never trained switching to surfing while in the middle of a swimming race.