08/06/2009 18:17 +0300
| TENNIS |
The founding of the
Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) in 1908 was a
pragmatic response to an increase in international sporting
events, crowned by the Olympic Games. At the first modern
Olympics in 1896, three swimming contests were held.
However, no universally accepted rules, regulations or
definitions governed the swimming events.
The Olympic Games
competitions prior to FINA had included a variety of unusual
events such as underwater swimming (1900), 200m obstacle
swimming (1900) and plunge for distance (1904). Prior to the
London Olympics, where a 100m pool was used, the ocean
(1896), the River Seine (1900), and a little lake in St.
Louis, USA (1904), had been used as Olympic sites.
In order to unify the rules
and create a forum for international meetings, the leaders
of the eight attending countries (Germany, Belgium, Denmark,
Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary and Sweden) met on
19 July 1908 at the Manchester Hotel, London, on the
occasion of the Games of the IV Olympiad, and resolved to
form a world-wide swimming association.
Priority decisions or goals
were clear: to standardise the rules for swimming, diving
and water polo; to obtain control of world records and to
maintain an up-to-date list of these records; and finally,
to ensure the direction of Olympic Games competitions for
swimming, diving and water polo.
in the last 40 years have included the introduction of the
World Championships (1973), the first World Cups (1979), the
Olympic debut of synchronised swimming (1984), the Short
Course World Swimming Championships (1993), advances in the
use of technology, specifically of electronic timing
equipment; and the rapid development of the swimming
programme to include new events such as Masters and Open
The programme involves four
different strokes across a range of distances.
Freestyle races cover 50,
100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, 10 000 metres. The 800m is for
women only, the 1500m for men only. The butterfly,
backstroke and breaststroke races each cover 100 and 200
metres. All four strokes are used in the 200m and 400m
individual medley events.
The 4 x 100m freestyle, 4 x
200m freestyle and 4 x 100m medley relays complete the
Each race has a maximum of
eight swimmers. Preliminary heats in the 50m, 100m and 200m
lead to semi-finals and finals based on the fastest times.
In relays and individual events of 400 metres or more, the
eight fastest finishers in the preliminaries advance
directly to the finals.
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