The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) was founded in 1908 as the governing body for all aquatic sports, 12 years after swimming made its debut at the first modern Olympic Games.
Representatives from eight countries (Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary and Sweden) decided to unify the rules for aquatic sports ahead of the 1908 London Olympic Games.
FINA standardised the rules for swimming, diving and water polo, and organised the recording of official world records. The 1908 London Olympic Games were the first to use a purpose-built swimming pool under FINA rules.
At the 1st Asian Games in Delhi, India in 1951, aquatics was one of the six official competitive sports. It has remained an Asian Games sport ever since.
Swimming was part of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 but featured only the men's freestyle and breaststroke events. Backstroke was added in St Louis in 1904, when women were first allowed to compete. MORE
Swimming events are races over one or more lengths of a 50m pool. There are four different strokes: breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and freestyle. Freestyle races allow any stroke to be used although, in any serious competition, competitors use the front crawl - the fastest of all swimming strokes.
Swimming events take place in a pool 50m long and 25 metres wide, divided into 10 lanes, of which the eight in the middle are used for competitions, one for each swimmer. The pool must be at least two metres deep. Races range in distance from 50m (one length) to 1500m (30 lengths) in all four strokes backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and butterfly - and a combination of them, the medley. Relays comprise four different swimmers, each swimming in sequence for one quarter of the total distance.
Swimming competition is controlled by strictly observed rules applied by the International Swimming Federation, FINA.
Breaststroke, the slowest stroke, involves swimming with the body face down and flat on the water, with the arms pulling and recovering together underwater.
Butterfly is similar, but with the arms recovering together above the water in combination with a dolphin kick, obtaining greater speed.
Backstroke is swum on the back with alternate arm strokes and kicking.
In freestyle, the fastest of all the swimming strokes, swimmers use alternate arm strokes and different kick pace, facing the pool bottom.
The medley combines four strokes in one race, with each stroke taking up an equal part of the distance. The swimmer first swims butterfly, then backstroke, then breaststroke and then freestyle.