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Swimming

The goal of competitive swimming is to be the fastest over a given distance. Competitive swimming became popular in the nineteenth century, and comprises 36 individual events - 18 male events and 18 female events, however the IOC only recognizes 34 events - 17 male and 17 female events. Swimming is an event at the Summer Olympic Games, where male and female athletes compete in 13 of the recognized events each. Olympic events are held in a 50 meter pool. Competitive swimming's international governing body is FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation), the International Swimming Federation.

The four competitive strokes are the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and front crawl (freestyle). "Freestyle" and "front crawl" are often used interchangeably, but "freestyle" properly refers to an unregulated competitive event rather than to any particular stroke. Swimmers generally choose to swim front crawl in a freestyle event since it is the fastest stroke. In events that require specific strokes, disqualification will occur if the stroke is not swum correctly, for example if the swimmer does not touch the wall with two hands during breaststroke or butterfly.
(source: Wikipedia contributors, "Swimming," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed September 19, 2008))

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