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Butterfly swimming developed from breaststroke. An American named Brydenthal showed this technique in a competition in 1935. He was not faster than the best breast swimmers, but this style expanded very fast and after three years the breaststroke world record was already held by a smashing swimmer. After the 2nd World War the butterfly swimmers (dolphin arms with breaststroke) dominated the breast swimmers, so that the breast swimming threatened to sink. In 1953 the FINA separated these two types of swimming.

The most fundamental change in butterfly swimming was the footwork. Already at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, an American “dolphin swimmer” won by a large margin. He swam with snake-like closed legs. The technique has remained the same until today except for relatively small changes.

A few years ago the competition rules were changed from dolphin swimmers to butterfly swimmers, so that the breaststroke, which was forbidden in the meantime, was allowed again. However, this butterfly technique did not prevail any more. Since the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, the 200 m course has been swum as an Olympic discipline. The 100 m course was only added in 1963 in Mexico City.


In the 19th century backstroke was called a variation of breaststroke, namely backstroke. Due to a very strong hollow back the body lay very high on the water, the head was taken back so far that only the mouth and the nose looked out and the footwork was the same as with breaststroke. The arms were pulled from the starting position (hands on the thighs) over the head at shoulder height, dipped into the water and completely stretched back into the starting position. The leg was partly struck simultaneously or one after the other. It was not until the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm that the first American swam a change train with a leg strike that resembled the leg strike in crawling kick technique. After he won the gold medal, the conventional technique disappeared very quickly, the new technique was improved and is now about as fast as the butterfly technique.

The 200 m back discipline was for the first time in 1900 in Paris in the Olympic program, then however only again since 1964 (Tokyo). The 100m discipline has been held since 1908 (London).


Breaststroke is the most natural type of swimming in terms of movement. End of the l8. At the end of the 18th century, the claim was made that the human body was specifically lighter than water, you only had to keep your head up. From this core idea the breaststroke technique developed, whereby at the beginning the arms were not bent and the knees were pulled as far as possible to the body. Already at the beginning of the 20th century different breaststroke techniques were taught in the textbook “Ladebecks Schwimmschule”. Among other things, attempts were made here to cover as long a distance as possible with as few moves as possible, while maintaining very long gliding phases. In the course of the development of this century, the swing grab, a shorter arm pull, the late breathing etc. was slowly developed from the push grab. Just like the technique, the rules were often changed. In the beginning, the practice of the technique was evaluated in addition to the swimming time. Here, the rules were so strict that protests were constantly raised. The chin could not be moved and all movements carried out in pairs had to be carried out exactly symmetrically.

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Only the Americans managed it by their negative attitude that these rules were changed in the sixties. The first crossing of the English Channel was carried out in 1875 using the breaststroke technique. In 1908, breaststroke was included in the programme for the first time as an Olympic discipline over 200 m in London. In 1912 the 400 m distance was added in Stockholm, but this was only swum once again in Antwerp in 1920. Since 1963, the 100 m distance has also been an Olympic discipline (Mexico City).


Crawl swimming is the fastest type of swimming and it is therefore not surprising that already in ancient times a crawl-like technique was used, namely the alternating stroke technique and the creep stroke technique. However, there are several reasons for the development of crawling technology. The side swim technique, a chest swim technique in lateral position, should serve as a basis. In the middle of the 19th century this style was further developed by pushing an arm over water. The first long-distance championships were held with this then fastest style (e.g. over 1 English mile = 1,609 m). At the end of the 19th century, the hand overhand style was developed from this.

5 reasons why swimming will accompany you all your life

Swimming is a gift in many ways. Okay, there are also things you miss as a competitive swimmer – weekend parties when you’re back at a competition or need to train. But who remembers a party all your life – there are certainly many moments in your swimming career that you will remember all your life: comradeship, friendship, victories and defeats, life experience.

1. You are part of a great community.

On the one hand, it is the same experiences that make up this community, but also the atmosphere and the kick that you will never forget: This tension, which lies in the air during competitions – in the sultry, chlorine-smelling air, which actually makes you tired. Before I started to write, I already travelled to competitions like World Cups, the European Championships or the German Championships, because I wanted to experience this again long after my active time – this special atmosphere, this smell of chlorine, the commitment and passion of the athletes to give their best, the teammates and fans, who are enthusiastic about a partly “boring” sport for spectators. When I got closer as a reporter, a great time began: In one year I got to know so many people from all over the world, met old acquaintances again – and I like to swap a pool in a holiday hotel in Spain for a competition hall in Berlin, Chartres, Dubai, Wuppertal, Essen or Eindhoven. Because I am infected by this sport. And the athletes, coaches, but also the many judges and volunteers welcome me warmly and friendly – no matter in which country. Because we are all united by our enthusiasm for this great sport.

2. Discipline in sports or fitness training are a matter of course.

You will quickly notice this: Anyone who has stared at the black line on the floor for an endless long time in an individual sport like swimming and counted “tiles”, has to keep up the discipline in his life after the sport, in the gym or in daily running or walking or cycling. During swim training, we can’t talk, we can’t distract each other, we can only build each other up between sessions – during training, you’re always on your own. That’s why it’s more fun to go to the gym or do aerobics regularly after a swim – and you’ll always be the one who keeps up and comes to this workout regularly – because you’ve learned to take on physical challenges and physical fitness is an important part of your life.

3. The discipline and mental resistance you have acquired as a swimmer will serve you well in your daily life.

If you had to get up regularly in the morning before 5.00 a.m. to make your way from 6.00 a.m., you will be happy if your daily rhythm changes. But this discipline, which you have learned to stand up even at unpleasant times, and the rituals and habits you have learned to perform daily and for years, will accompany you for a lifetime and help you in many situations in your professional life.

4. The enthusiasm for the Olympic Games.

Whether you’re good enough to qualify for the Olympics or not, this big event every 4 years has a special attraction for you. In order to be able to travel to London as a visitor to the Olympic Games to get tickets for the swimming competitions, I not only had to invest a lot of money, but also spend “days” on the Internet – and with a lot of luck I could actually spend a day at the Olympic Aquatic Center. It was just row 42, called “nose bleeding seats” at the top – but the atmosphere at every race, especially at the award ceremonies when the flags were raised and the national anthems played – unforgettable and goose bumps. And last but not least, every 4 years swimming gets the attention it always deserves. Just as we experience sports every 4 years and even if only on television, which we are never interested in otherwise – to see and appreciate the best of the best. You can understand why every athlete in the world wants to take part in the Olympic Games – and you can understand why athletes over 30 still torture themselves daily in the pool, why they give up their professional status and income, why they retire like Michael Phelps, why they swim thousands of kilometres in the pool.

5. The pool will always be “home”.

You will always be a swimmer. People play football or basketball or tennis – but you are a swimmer. It’s a sport that most people don’t understand, they can’t tell crawl from butterfly swimming or wonder if someone even does all 4 kinds of swimming in one race. Every 4 years at the Olympic Games there are suddenly a lot of people interested in swimming – and that’s okay. They ask you as a “swimming specialist” many questions that you can answer objectively – but the feeling of being one of the first to jump into the pool early in the morning, the silence that surrounds you in the water, the superior feeling of gliding through the water in any position and effortlessly – this feeling is reserved for you as a swimmer. You can feel the water, feel weightless, free and relaxed – because the water was and is your “happy place”.