Swimming made its first debut into the Olympics at the very first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. The sport has appeared in every Summer Olympics since then. Women’s swimming events were introduced at the 1912 Stockholm Games.
Swimming events took place in open waters up until the London 1908 Games, when they were moved to indoor pools. Men’s and women’s swimming events include the 50-, 100-, 200-, 400-, 800-, 1500-metre freestyle; the 100- and 200-metre backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly; 200- and 400-metre individual medley; 4×100- and 4×200-metre freestyle relay and 4×100-metre medley relay.
The USA has dominated in aquatic sports for decades, partially due to the large number of swimming events that give swimmers the opportunity to medal when competing in multiple events. Michael Phelps was one of the most decorated swimmers in Olympic history with 23 gold medals and a total of 28 medals. Other famous Olympic swimmers include Mark Spitz and Kristin Otto.
Swimming has also been part of the Summer Paralympic Games since 1960. It’s one of the largest sports at the Paralympics with 140 events covering distances from 50- to 400-metres, plus 4×50- and 4×100-metre relays. Trischa Zorn is one of the most decorated female para swimmers of all time. Competing in the blind swimming events, Zorn won 41 gold medals, with a total of 55 medals. Other famous names include Erin Popovich and Elizabeth Scott.