noun - Competitive swimming (or age group swimming) is a sport where pool and open water swimmers race to improve upon one's time or to beat the competitors in any given event. Competitive swimmers undergo various cycles of training in which the body is overloaded with work in the beginning and middle segments of the cycle, and then the workload is decreased in the final stage (the taper) as the swimmer approaches the competition. The taper is the final preparation period where the competitive swimmer reduces, or tapers, the workload in order to be able to perform at the optimal level.
Competitive swimming takes place for young children (age-group swimming), high school students, college students, masters athletes (or adult swimmers), and elite athletes at domestic and international competitions including the Summer Olympic Games.
At the Summer Olympic Games, male and female athletes compete in 16 of the recognized events each. Olympic events are held in a 50-meter pool, called a long course pool, and open bodies of water for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim.
There are individual swimming events for the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and individual medley and 4 types of relays that are governed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA).
Recognized Types of Competition
- Freestyle: 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 10 km (or other open water swims of lesser or greater distance)
- Backstroke: 50m, 100m, 200m
- Breaststroke: 50m, 100m, 200m
- Butterfly: 50m, 100m, 200m
- Individual medley: 100m (in 25m pools only), 200m, 400m
- Relays: 4×100m freestyle, 4×200m freestyle, 4×100m medley, 5 km 3-person team pursuit
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