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Summer Olympics London 2012

Summer Olympics London 2012

The 2012 Summer Olympics will be held in London this year! Take a peek at a few of the facts behind this years swimming events.

Speed, strength and stamina will be key for athletes in the Swimming competition at the London 2012 Games, which features no fewer than 34 medal events.

Did you know?
Underwater Swimming featured at the Paris 1900 Games. Competitors earned points for the length of time and distance they were underwater.

Venue: Aquatics Centre – Olympic Park (pool events); Hyde Park (Marathon Swimming 10km)
Dates: Saturday 28 July – Saturday 4 August (Aquatics Centre); Thursday 9 – Friday 10 August (Hyde Park)
Medal events: 34
Athletes: 950

The basics

There are four strokes used in Olympic competition: Freestyle (essentially, front crawl), Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly. All four strokes feature in the Individual Medley and Medley Relay events.

Olympic races are conducted over a variety of distances, from 50m (one length of the pool) all the way up to 1500m. All the pool events begin with heats, with the best swimmers from the qualifying rounds eventually racing for gold in the final.

Olympic Swimming, past and present

At the first few modern Olympic Games, Swimming events were held in open water. At Paris in 1900, for instance, they took place in the River Seine. However, the rules were formalised in 1908, when the London Games staged the first Olympic Swimming competition to be held in a pool.

Other than the Marathon Swimming 10km event, held in the Serpentine within Hyde Park, the Swimming competition will take place in the dazzling Aquatics Centre, built in the Olympic Park especially for London 2012.

Jargon buster

Long course: A 50m pool of the type used in Olympic competition, as opposed to a short course measuring 25m.
Medley: A combination event in which a swimmer or team swims separate legs of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.
Negative split: When an athlete swims the second half of a race faster than the first half.
Open turn: A type of turn for which swimmers must touch the end of the pool with their hands.
Tumble turn: An underwater roll at the end of a lap, which allows swimmers to push off from the end of the pool with their feet.

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