In many of the classics, swimming is related to heroism and religion. Nicolas Wynman’s Dialogue on the Art of Swimming (1538) is the first recorded written document on swimming methods. Swimming first appeared at the 1896 Olympic Games, in parallel with the development of the swimming pool. Swimming in the English Channel is the most publicized non-Olympic event. Demonstrates excellence in strength and endurance. Matthew Webb from England was the first man to cross the English Channel in 1875, and later Gertrude Ederle from the United States of America became the first woman to cross in 1926.
Snorkeling to see exotic fish and aquamarine life is a much loved vacation adventure. In ancient times, snorkels were made from hollow reeds found in lakes and marshes. Pliny the Elder, a Roman from the 1st century AD, refers to snorkeling, which is why the activity is considered one of the oldest recorded water sports. Loenardo da Vinci created a more modern snorkel when the Venetian Senate summoned him to do so. Divers placed this hollow tube in leather helmets.
The current diver’s snorkel is typically a J-shaped tube that is open at the top and has a mouthpiece at the other end, usually no more than 2 feet (61 cm) long.
The roller coasters of the American West go wild riding the waves on a wooden board known as a surfboard. Surfing originally developed in Hawaii in the 1800s. It became popular in California in the 1920s and became a successful youth sport in the 1960s.
Surfers originally used long and cumbersome wooden boards, but now use lightweight synthetic boards that allow for a greater degree of maneuverability. Hawaii holds annual international surfing championships.
Water polo originated in England in 1870, and American joined the bandwagon in the early 1900s. There are many college clubs and teams for this rigorous sport. The Americans put a twist on the game by using a softer rubber ball in a larger pool, a game known as softball water polo. Violence and rough play put an end to this faction of the sport, and today only the version of hardball is still played around the world. Men started Olympic-level water polo in 1900, and women first played at the Olympics in 2000.
Diving, another favorite Olympic sport, began competition in 1871 in front of London Bridge. Scuba diving is now a popular sport at the high school and college level, and it’s an amazing display of strength, control, and agility.