Swimming is a water based sport governed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA).
The sport of swimming has been recorded since prehistoric times; the earliest recording of swimming dates back to Stone Age paintings from around 14,000 years ago. Written references date from 2000 BC. Some of the earliest references to swimming include the Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Bible, Beowulf, Quran and other sagas. In 1538, Nikolaus Wynmann, a German professor of languages, wrote the first swimming book, The Swimmer or A Dialogue on the Art of Swimming Der Schwimmer oder ein Zweigespräch über die Schwimmkunst. Competitive swimming as we know it today started in the United States around 1800, mostly using breaststroke. Many Americans often used swimming competitions to settle differences in the frontier, such as property rights. In 1873, John Arthur Trudgen introduced the trudgen to Western swimming competitions, after copying the front crawl used by Native Americans. Due to a British dislike of splashing, Trudgen employed a scissor kick instead of the front crawl's flutter kick. The front crawl was first standardized in Australia and then perfected in the United States. Swimming was part of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 Summer Olympics|1896 in Athens. In 1902 Cavill family (swimming)|Richmond Cavill introduced the front crawl to the Western world. In 1908, the world swimming association, Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), was formed. Butterfly was developed in the 1930s and was at first a variant of breaststroke, until it was accepted as a separate style in 1952.
The backstroke, also sometimes called the back crawl or the upside-down freestyle, is one of the four swimming styles regulated by FINA, and the only regulated style swum on the back. This has the advantage of easy breathing, but the disadvantage of swimmers not being able to see where they are going. It is also the only competition swimming style that has a different start. The swimming style is similar to an upside down front crawl. Both backstroke and front crawl are long-axis strokes. In Individual medley backstroke is the second style swum; in the team medley it is the first style swum.