What is competitive swimming?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

Competitive swimming consists of four strokes, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. These strokes must be performed in accordance with preset rules, and are judged by officials. In order to win, an athlete must perform the specified stroke adequately and cover a certain distance in a faster time than the rest of the contestants. There are five major types of swimming in the U.S.: USA Swimming, a national organization of which many age-group club teams are members, YMCA Swimming, also national age-group club teams but on a smaller scale with some overlap to USA Swimming, Country-Club Swimming (summer age-group club teams only), interscholastic swimming (school or college-sponsored teams), and Masters teams (teams for adults). Age-group swimming means that the competitions are divided into categories by age. Intercollegiate swimming is on a national scale as well, but is divided up into divisions ( in similar manner to other collegiate sports). One large difference between USA and interscholastic swimming is that USA competitions on the whole are longer and swimmers are allowed to participate in more events. Possible events at a USA competition: 50 Freestyle 100 Freestyle 200 Freestyle 500 Freestyle 1000 Freestyle 1650 Freestyle 50 Backstroke 100 Backstroke 200 Backstroke 50 Breaststroke 100 Breaststroke 200 Breaststroke 50 Butterfly 100 Butterfly 200 Butterfly 100 I.M. (Individual Medley; 25 Butterfly, 25 Backstroke, 25 Breaststroke, 25 Freestyle) 200 I.M. 400 I.M. Relays: (4 swimmers each competing in one leg of the relay) 200 Free Relay 400 Free Relay 200 Medley Relay (50 Backstroke, 50 Breaststroke, 50 Butterfly, 50 Freestyle) 400 Medley Relay

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