Organization: Organizing Committee of the 1976 Olympic Games
Since the dawn of time, man has been equipped with a large number of natural defence mechanisms and swimming and diving rank high in this regard.
In his search for the origins of man’s relationship to the seas about him, Pierre Naukonm, a well-documented author, found data from mythology, paintings, engravings and ancient scriptures to show that modern swimming styles owe a great deal to antiquity.
He also quoted from history to show the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Greeks and the Romans practised some form of swimming.
The Romans and the Greeks of old, in fact, had little use for anyone who couldn’t read, write or swim. And unless a man could run – and swim – he was less than an athlete. Or a soldier!
In 648 B.C., historians say, brigades of soldiers attached enemy fortresses by swimming up to them and taking the enemy by surprise.
During the feudal wars in the Middle Ages, this form of fighting and escape from strongholds surrounded by water is frequently recounted in literature and history.
In 1555, Olaus Magnos published a book on water sports which drew considerable attention and came to be considered by experts as a milestone in literature on swimming and diving.
Japan was the first country to organize a national swimming organization.
In 1603, by imperial edict, swimming was added to school curricula and teachers were urged to encourage intercollegiate competitions.
In Mexico, the history of swimming and diving can be traced back to paintings like the “Paradise of Tlaloc” at San Juan Teotihuacan which shows a series of human figures in different postures in the water of diving from the shore or from branches of trees.
Bernal Diaz del Castillo, in his book “La Conquista de la Nueva Espada,” often referred to the aquatic skills of the Indians. He also mentioned diving into a deep pool where it was believed to be located.
In America, Benjamin Franklin was a strong supporter of swimming as an integral part of school activities and even experimented with hand flippers to add ease and speed of his pupils.
The first swimming competitions are believed to have been held in 1837 and positive championship records date back to international events in Sydney in 1846 and Melbourne in 1858.
In England, swimming became a popular exercise and sport more than two centuries ago and in 1891, Oxford and Cambridge met in their first water polo contest. A year later, competitive swimming was added to the rivalry between these two great universities.
Swimming made its Olympic Games debut at Athens in 1896 with a single 100-metre freestyle event. It has been part of the Games ever since.
The swimming centre, under the heel of the mast that will eventually house the retractable roof, contains 10,000 square metres of space. Part of this will be rearranged after the Games to make room for a five-lane 250-metre athletics track since the Olympic track in the main stadium will be removed to make room for an artificial turf layout to accommodate North American football and baseball.
The swimming centre includes an Olympic pool, measuring 50 by 25 by 2 metres; a diving pool 25 by 25 metres with diving platforms at 10, 7.5 and 5 metres and springboards at 3 and 1 metres; a training pool; and a pool for scuba diving that will be placed in service after the Olympic Games.
While there are only 2,500 permanent seats in the building, there is accommodation for 9,200 spectators during the Games.
A gymnasium, saunas, rest and massage rooms, a medical centre, electronic control facilities, a reception centre, a cafeteria and service areas complete the picture.
The physical version of this product is part of the federal identity archive.