Swimming is perhaps the oldest water sport and has been recorded since prehistoric times. Internationally, competitive swimming gained popularity after it was included in the modern Olympic games from their inception in 1896. Swimming has gained popularity in India both as a sport and general well-being activity across all age groups and demography.
The competitive swimming is governed by the Swimming Federation of India (SFI). Indian swimmers have some great history in international swimming scenario. The most famous Indian swimmers of all time are Khazan Singh, Mihir Sen and Bula Chowdhary. Khazan Singh won the silver medal in the Seoul Asian Games in 1986. Mihir Sen was the first Asian as well as the first Indian to swim across the English Channel in 1958 and Bula Chowdhary was the first woman swimmer in the world to swim across seven seas. She was known as the Queen of Seven Seas. She also became the first woman in Asia to swim the English Channel twice.
With rich history of swimming in India, the country hasn’t progressed much when it comes to scientific training and world-class infrastructure for swimmers who aspire for international competitions. However, there is adequate level of coaching and infrastructure available at local level in almost all Indian cities. Finding a right coach is the first step towards learning this enjoyable sport. Besides overall fitness, swimming is known to improve bone strength, take care of joint stiffness and improve asthma symptoms. It’s the most recommended workout for arthritic patients and post-menopausal women. Swimming should be avoided if you have any skin infections or conditions.
Trivia: Mihir Sen features in the Guiness Book of the World for being the first man to swim across the Indian Ocean, the Palk Strait, the Strait of Bosphorus, the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Strait of Dardanellas.
Quote:“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get”.
– Michael Phelps, a retired American Swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 22 medals