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One of the most popular, and ancient, pastimes around the globe is swimming.

The origins of swimming as an organized activity can be traced back to approximately 2500 B.C. You can find ancient relics from the Egyptians that give incredibly detailed depictions of the act of swimming. Other ancient cultures also saw the importance of swimming, it was even taught to boys as part of their education in Ancient Rome and Greece. We find evidence of the first public swimming pools in Rome.

Rome is also the location of the first heated swimming pool, which was built under the leadership of Gaius Maecenas, a wealthy Roman lord. Plato even lists swimming as one of the elements of a complete education. Other ancient cultures that shared this passion for swimming include the Assyrians, Phoenicians, and Babylonians. From Japan we even have evidence of competitive swimming as early as 2000 years ago.

Swim clubs were established in England during the 1830s, leading to the incredible popularity of the sport. The breaststroke was the most common stroke during this time period. It was even used by Captain Matthew Webb as he became the first man to swim across the English Channel in 1885. The Otter Swimming Club and The Leander Swimming Club were two of the most popular of the time.

Competitive swimming played a staring role in the first modern Olympic Games which were held in Athens, Greece in 1896. Alfred Hoyos Guttman won the first modern Olympic gold medal in swimming, an event which took place in the bay of Zea on the Aegean Sea. He is said to have had to contend with incredibly cold water and waves that reached up to 12 feet. Swimming, of course, continues to play a major role in today`s summer Olympic Games.

Many athletes today choose swimming as a way to get in shape and compete. You will find public swimming pools in almost every city in the country, which makes it easy for people to swim for pleasure and competition. You can even find lessons at a number of these public swimming pools for a reasonable price. Those who have a great passion for swimming may want to consider installing a pool in their own yard. Now is the perfect time, with summer almost here.