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Swimming has been known of since prehistoric times with some of the earliest recordings of swimming dating back to Stone Age paintings from around 7,000 years ago. There are written references to swimming dating from as long ago as 2000BC. Swimming references can even be found in great literary works including the Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Bible, Beowulf, and other sagas.

Competitive swimming as we know it today started in the United States around 1800, mostly using breaststroke. Americans used swimming competitions to settle frontier differences, such as those relating to property rights. John Arthur Trudgen introduced the trudgen stroke to Western swimming competitions in 1873, after copying the front crawl he had observed being used by Native Americans. The British had a dislike of splashing so Trudgen employed a scissor kick instead of the front crawl's flutter kick.

Swimming first appeared in the Olympics at the Athens Games of 1896 and in 1902 Richmond Cavill introduced the front crawl to the Western world. Butterfly was developed in the 1930s and was at first a variation of breaststroke, until it was accepted as a separate style in 1952.

Keeping Fit

Swimming is a great, low impact form of exercise and accessible to all. Below you will find a list of swimming resources including local indoor and outdoor pools, some of which will offer swimming lessons and aquarobics classes. There are also links to the British Swimming website and details about 'wild swimming' within the United Kingdom which is easier to find than you might have thought. There are wild swimming locations on the Thames not far from Chalgrove.

Swimming Related Links

  • [POOL] Abbey Meadows Outdoor Pool, Abingdon (11.7 mi - Summer Only)
    The pool provides a relaxing and fun place for all types of swimmers, ranging from those who like diving to those who prefer leisurely or lane swims, and it's fully supervised by qualified lifeguards.
  • [INFO] British Swimming
    In British Swimming you will find information about the world of high performance sport, including the disciplines of Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Disability Swimming.
  • [POOL] Temple Cowley Pools and Fitness Centre (8.9 mi)
    This pool and fitness centre is brought to you by your local council, in partnership with Fusion, a highly experienced sports and leisure organisation.
  • [POOL] Thame Leisure Centre (11.3 mi)
    Thame Leisure Centre is situated next to the Lord Williams's Upper School site, on the edge of the small market town. It boasts a 25m swimming pool with sessions for fitness and fun.
  • [POOL] Riverside Park and Pools, Wallingford (8.0 mi - Summer Only)
    Riverside Campsite and Pool is attractively located adjacent to the River Thames between Crowmarsh Gifford and Wallingford. The picturesque location makes it an ideal place for a family day out or a base for an extended holiday to explore this beautiful area of Oxfordshire.
  • [POOL] White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, Abingdon (11.7 mi)
    Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find great sporting activities to take part in at White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, and you’re bound to have lots of fun in doing so.
  • [INFO] Wild Swimming
    Exploring the world's outdoor swimming places. On a hot summer day, what could be more refreshing than slipping into the cool, clear waters of a secret lake? And what could be more exciting than plunging into a hidden waterfall? Our rivers, lakes and waterfalls, coves, caves and beaches, are cleaner, safer and more accessible than at any time in living memory and the health benefits of a wild swim or natural dip are also now well known, so take the plunge and dip in.