Men and women have been swimming since, well, they found enough water to swim in.
But it was the Victorian British, as ever, who turned the recreation into a competitive sport.
A mainstay of the modern Olympics, swimming's first four appearances at the Games took place in open water and the 1912 Olympic gala was held in Stockholm harbour.
The modern, standard 50-metre pool was first used at the 1924 Olympics, the tumble turn evolved in the 1950s and goggles first used in Montreal 1976.
The sport has never made millionaires of its stars, but glory and fame has followed for a number of Olympic greats such as Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps and Becky Adlington.
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