Origin of the sport:

From prehistoric times, man learned to swim to cross rivers and lakes, yet swimming was not widely practised until the 19th century when formal competitions were first organised by the National Swimming Society of Great Britain. Most early swimmers used the breaststroke and it was not until the late 19th century that the front crawl or freestyle developed.

Swimming has featured on the programme of every modern Olympics since the inaugural edition of the modern Games in 1896 when breaststroke and freestyle events took place. Backstroke was added to the Olympic programme in 1904 and butterfly at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

How it Works:

The swimming events in the pool are raced over a range of distances and four strokes – freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. All races in the pool are run in lanes with the swimmer completing the distance in the shortest time awarded the race victory. Note, individual medley races - in which swimmers will compete across all four strokes - and relay races also take place. Open water swim races – which are not raced in lanes – are hosted in rivers, lakes or the ocean. Competitions are timed and the quickest swimmer from point A to point B wins the race.

Format at World Masters Games 2017:

There are two main disciplines within the swimming programme- Pool and Ocean. Para disciplines will also be offered but announced at a later date.

The age categories for the swimming competition are swum in groupings of five years from aged 25-29, 30-34, 35-39 etc right up to the 100+. Freestyle swimming events are run over distances of 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m. Breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly events are competed over 50m, 100m and 200m. The individual medley races take place over distances of 200m and 400m.

Meanwhile, the relay races with four people per team are: Men’s and women’s 4x50m freestyle, mixed freestyle 4x50m, men’s and women’s medley 4x50m and mixed medley 4x50m.

For the Ocean swimming races the distance and course still have to be determined. FINA rules dictate that the course has to be set at a distance of between 1500m and 5km long.

Expected number of competitors: 1500

Kiwi Hero

Anthony Mosse – An ambassador for the 2017 World Masters Games, Anthony was regarded as the standard bearer for New Zealand swimming in the Eighties and early Nineties. A winner of the Olympic bronze medal in the 200m butterfly at the 1988 Seoul Games he also secured World Championship silver in 1986 and back-to-back Commonwealth titles in the 200m butterfly at the 1986 Edinburgh and 1990 Auckland Games. Today a successful US-based businessman, Anthony says training for and competing in masters competition improves his overall sense of well-being. He has given serious thought to competing in at the 2017 World Masters Games in the pool.

Did you know?

Japan’s Hideaki Hara M35-39 100m freestyle world record of 50.78 is faster than the time Olympic legend Mark Spitz swam to win the 1972 Olympic final in the same event.

How to Get Involved:

See more at http://www.nzmastersswimming.org.nz/