In the past when swimming did not take place in man-made containers of chlorine water, swimmers swam in open bodies of water such as seas, oceans, lakes and rivers.
The beginning of modern-age open water swimming was taken to be on 3rd May 1810, when Lord Byron became the first person to swim several miles in open water across the Hellespont (now known as The Dardanelles) from Europe to Asia. Competitive open water swimming later took place in 1896 at the Athens Olympic Games, where athletes competed at the port of Piraeus.
First competitive open water swim
Similar to conventional swimming competitions, open water events vary in distances, from 1 kilometer to 80 kilo-meter. In 1991 though, participants had only one option of swimming 25 kilometers at the first official open water event during the General FINA World Championships in Perth, Australia. Today, the FINA championships feature 3 race distances – 5 kilometer (5K), 10 kilometer (10K) and 25 kilometer (25K) for men and women.
Best open water events
Open Water Swimming increased in popularity over the years, and has since been enjoyed by a vast variety of people from at least 158 countries. Open water swimming clinics, camps, tours, races and events are just some of the 6,000 open water events sanctioned in the World. The sport is growing like never before, often advocated by national governing bodies and the mass media.