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Ten Surprising Swimming Facts

Everything you didn't know you didn't know.

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Have you ever really tried to know swimming? Like really know swimming? Well you can’t do that without getting familiar with its weird side!

Ever wonder how many people make it into the Olympics, what the oldest stroke is, or if swimmers sweat in the water? Time to find out!

1. Free divers can hold their breath for more than 10 minutes.

Can you imagine holding your breath for 10 minutes? (For perspective, that is close to half a Seinfeld episode without commercials!)

With proper training, free divers can hold their breath for 10 minutes or more. Currently, the longest record is held by freediver Aleix Segura Vendrell for holding his breath for twenty four minutes and three seconds.

2. There is enough water in an Olympic-sized pool to take 9,400 baths.

An Olympic pool holds up to 660,000 gallons of water.

3. Many swimmers can flex their toes to the ground.

Toes, ready! And flex! Foot and ankle flexibility helps swim performance, which is why you see a lot pointed toes. Hydrodynamic pointed toes reduce drag by creating a smooth surface so that water can rush by.

4. The odds of swimming in the Olympics are, well, slim to none.

Every four years, approximately 2,000 swimmers qualify to compete at Olympic Trials, but only 52 make it on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team. According to FINA rules, the team can consist of twenty six men and twenty six women.

5. The oldest stroke is breaststroke.

Dating back to the first century, breaststroke is depicted as the oldest swim stroke. The breaststroke was included in the 1904 Olympics but was only utilized in a race for a distance of 440 yards. In 1908, the breaststroke was implemented in the 200 meter race.

6. Swimmers sweat in the water. A LOT.

Yes, you read correctly: Swimmers sweat in the water. In fact, swimmers sweat in the pool just as much as other athletes do on land. A study measuring four swimmers' ability to sweat in a pool showed an amount of sweat almost equal to over half a liter of water.

7. Most of the United States population can’t swim.

According to a 2014 survey from the American Red Cross, it was revealed that over half of Americans cannot swim.

8. Women weren’t allowed to compete in the Olympics until 1912.

When swimming became an Olympic sport in 1908, it was male dominated event. This changed in 1912 allowing women to engage in the sport. Fanny Durack, an Australian Swimmer, was the first woman to take the gold medal in the 100 yard-freestyle in the same year.

9. The first swimming goggles were made from tortoise shells.

If you can make them, someone will wear them... Especially if they’re made out of tortoise shells! The creation of the first swimming goggles dates back to the fourteenth century in Persia. The standard rubber goggles weren’t created until the 1930s.

10. Children can take swim lessons as young as 12 months.

There’s no such thing as swimming too early in life. Parents can begin swimming lessons with kids when they’re just a year old. Talk about getting an early start for the Olympics!

In 2009, drowning risks were reduced by over 88 percent when children between the ages of one and four were trained in formal swimming lessons.



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