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History of SwimmingAncient PeriodSwimming is a sport that is believed to have existed in bothancient Egypt and ancient Babylon. Prehistoric man learnt toswim in order to cross-rivers and lakes base on the cavepaintings from the Stone Age depicting swimmers have beenfound in Egypt. These picture seem to show the breaststrokeor dog paddle, although it is possible that the movementshave the meaning unrelated to the swimming. There areEgyptian clay seals dated between 9000 BC and 4000 BCthat show people swimming variants of the well knownswimming stroke, the front crawl. Swimming was not widelypracticed until the early 19th century, when the National Swimming Society of Great Britainbegan to hold competitions. Most early swimmers used thebreaststroke. There are more references of swimming thatfound in Babylonians and Assyrian drawings in their wallsdepicting a variant of breaststroke.Germanic folklore often describes how swimming was anactivity that was successfully used in wars and invasionsagainst the Roman Empire and epics written during the Anglo-Saxon age of English literature, such as Beowulf refer to theact of swimming though the style of swimming is never reallydescribed.Middle AgesIn Greece and Rome, swimming was a part of martial training, also part of elementary educationfor males. The first known swimming competitions were held in Japan in 36 BC. In Japan,swimming was one of the noble skills of the Samurai, and historic records describe swimmingcompetitions in 36 B.C., which are the first known swimming races. Emperor Go-Yozei of Japandeclared that all children should know how to swim he made a teaching of swimmingcompulsory in the schools.In 1844, the first swimming competition was held in London, with the participation of two NativeAmericans. Based on a stroke used by native South Americans, the first version of the crawlfeatured a scissor kick, which has been used by people in the Americas, West Africa, but wasnot known to the British, while the British competitor used the traditional breaststroke. As thefront crawl is much faster style than the breaststroke, the Americans won against the British.Flying Gull won the medal, who swam the 130 feet in just 30 seconds, the second place wasalso won by another American named Tobacco. According to the “The Times”, a nationalnewspaper of London that Native American was not was an unrefined motion with the arms "likea windmill" and the chaotic and unregulated kicking of the legs and it is deemed as barbaric tothe British people. However, the British continued to swim only breaststroke until 1873.“Cave of Swimmers”
John Arthur Trudgen reintroduced the stroke that he learned fromthe Native Americans to England. In addition, he started to call itTrudgen or Trudgeon. Due to its speed, the Trudgen became veryquickly popular around the world, despite all the ungentle man-likesplashing.