The English are considered the first modern society to develop swimming as a sport. By 1837 swimming competitions were being held in London’s six artificial pools, these competitions were organized by the National Swimming Society in England. As the sport grew in popularity many more swimming pools were built, and when a new governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association of Great Britain, was organized in 1880, it numbered more than 300 member clubs.
In 1896, swimming became an Olympic sport for men with the 100 meters and 1500 meters freestyle competitions held in open water. Soon after, as swimming gained popularity, more freestyle events were included, followed by the backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke, and lastly, the individual medley.
For a variety of reasons, women were excluded from swimming in the first several Olympic Games. In 1896 and again in 1906, women could not participate because the developer of the modern games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, held firmly to the assumption, common in the Victorian era, that women were too frail to engage in competitive sports. It was only at the 1912 Games when women’s swimming made its debut at the prompting the International Olympic Committee. Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) is the international governing body for international competitive swimming. The Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago is FINA’s associate in this country.
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