The sport of swimming has been recorded since prehistoric times, but the modern evolution dates back to the 1800s and was developed primarily in the United States. Included in the Olympic Games since 1896, the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) was formed in 1908.
There are four strokes contested in competitive swimming - butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. In addition, the four strokes are combined into one event called the medley.
Distances in all strokes are 100m and 200m, with additional freestyle (front crawl) races in the 50m, 400m, 800m (girls), and 1500m (boys). There is also a 400m individual medley. It is clear after watching a few swim races that the goal of competition is simple: the first person to touch the electronic touch-pad at the end of the pool wins the race.
At the Canada Summer Games, there are competitions for athletes with a disability in the Para-swimming and Special Olympics categories.
With an extensive coastline and the mild climate in the province, it is not surprising that British Columbia has a long and rich tradition and history in the sport of competitive swimming. BC has proportionally won more international medals than any other province in Canada, culminating in all three of Canada’s medals at the 2012 Olympic Games and two medals a the 2016 Olympic Games from alumni Hillary Caldwell and Emily Overholt.