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Useful Notes / Pool Sports

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Where it all happens. (This particular sports pool is located in the Munrow Sports Centre at the University of Birmingham in England.)

Sports that take place in a swimming pool. This has nothing to do with billiards.

Competitive Swimming

  • Competed in by both men and women the races are generally split up by distance and stroke. Common distance are 50m and 100m classified as sprints, 200m and 400m for middle distance and 800m and the gruelling 1500m for long distance swimming. Swimmers will generally specialise in a distance range though where to draw the line depends on the swimmer and the competition format. The four most common strokes are
    • Backstroke: A stroke where the swimmer is on their back with their face upwards. At the top level of competition its the only stroke where races aren't started off the diving block but with the swimmers already in the water and braced against the wall of the pool.
    • Breast stroke: The slowest of the four competitive strokes with a distinctive leg motion described as a frog kick while the arms are brought into the chest and then swept out and back in a sweeping motion.
    • Butterfly: The legs are held together in a movement known as a dolphin kick while the arms move in unison coming up and out of the water in large sweeping arcs.
    • Freestyle: Not technically a stroke but a category of race where as the name suggests the swimmer is free to swim in any style they choose as long as it is not one of the other three. Historically the sidestroke was the most common stroke used but was replaced by the front crawl (also known as the Australian crawl) as it is probably the fastest competitive swimming stroke. This is also the only of the four formats to have a length of over 200m for a single stroke.
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    • The Medley: Not a swim style in of itself but a race where all four strokes are used in a single race. Individual Medley is where one swimmer uses all four strokes starting in a single race (starting with Butterfly) or the Medley Relay where each swimmer uses a different stroke (starting with backstroke since backstroke specialists don't dive like the other three.)
  • The top level of swimming is generally done in pools 50m in length which are generally referred to as long course or Olympic size (since all Olympic events are long course). There is also a short course championships swum in pools of 25m, though it omits the 800m freestyle event.


Competitive Diving

Synchronized Swimming

Water Polo