Swimming has been part of the Olympics since the first modern Games in Athens in 1896 when racing took place in the chilly waters of the Saronic Gulf. The swimmers were taken out in a boat and had to race back to the shore, watched by 40,000 spectators. The River Seine was the swimming venue at the 1900 Games in Paris. Butterfly was introduced as a separate discipline at the 1956 Melbourne Games after disputes over new techniques being used by breaststroke swimmers who saved time by moving their arms forward above the surface of the water. Individual medley was introduced in Mexico City in 1968 with the order of strokes being butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. In 1972, in Munich, American swimmer Mark Spitz became the first person to win seven gold medals at one Olympics.
34 events ? 17 for men and 17 for women. Of those, 28 are individual races in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, 10km open water and individual medley. Six are relays (freestyle and medley) swum by teams of four. All the events are held in a 50 metre pool. The finals will be held in the mornings, rather than the evenings as at previous Games.
About 800 athletes are expected to take part. Each country is limited to 92 swimmers.
Aug. 10 ? Men's 400 metres individual medley, men's 400 freestyle, women's 400 individual medley, women's 4x100 freestyle relay Aug. 11 ? Women's 100 butterfly, men's 100 breaststroke, women's 400 freestyle, men's 4x100 freestyle relay Aug. 12 ? Men's 200 freestyle, women's 100 backstroke, men's 100 backstroke, women's 100 breaststroke Aug. 13 ? Women's 200 freestyle, men's 200 butterfly, women's 200 individual medley, men's 4x200 freestyle Aug. 14 ? Men's 200 breaststroke, women's 200 butterfly, men's 100 freestyle, women's 4x200 freestyle relay Aug. 15 ? Women's 200 breaststroke, men's 200 backstroke, men's 200 individual medley, women's 100 freestyle Aug. 16 ? Women's 200 backstroke, men's 100 butterfly, women's 800 freestyle, men's 50 freestyle, Aug. 17 ? Women's 50 freestyle, men's 1500 freestyle, women's 4x100 medley relay, men's 4x100 medley relay Aug. 20 ? 10-km open water ? men's Aug. 21 ? 10-km open water ? women's
Men 50m freestyle: Gary Hall (USA) 100m freestyle: Pieter van den Hoogenband (Netherlands) 100m backstroke: Aaron Peirsol (USA) 100m breaststroke: Kosuke Kitajima (Japan) 100m butterfly: Michael Phelps (USA) 200m backstroke: Aaron Peirsol (USA) 200m breaststroke: Kosuke Kitajima (Japan) 200m butterfly: Michael Phelps (USA) 200m freestyle: Ian Thorpe (Australia) 200m individual medley: Michael Phelps (USA) 400m freestyle: Ian Thorpe (Australia) 400m individual medley: Michael Phelps (USA) 1,500m freestyle: Grant Hackett (Australia) 4x100m freestyle relay: South Africa (Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend, Ryk Neethling) 4x100m medley relay: United States (Airon Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Ian Crocker, Jason Lezak, Lenny Krayzelburg, Mark Gangloff) 4x200m freestyle relay: United States (Dan Ketchum, Scott Goldblatt, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay, Klete Keller)
Women 50m freestyle: Inge de Bruijn (Netherlands) 100m freestyle: Jodie Henry (Australia) 100m backstroke: Natalie Coughlin (USA) 100m breaststroke: Luo Xuejuan (China) 100m butterfly: Petria Thomas (Australia) 200m backstroke: Kirsty Coventry (Zimbabwe) 200m breaststroke: Amanda Beard (USA) 200m butterfly: Otylia Jedrzejczak (Poland) 200m freestyle: Camelia Potec (Romania) 200m individual medley: Yana Klochkova (Ukraine) 400m freestyle: Laure Manaudou (France)
400m individual medley: Yana Klochkova (Ukraine) 800m freestyle: Ai Shibata (Japan) 4x100m freestyle relay: Australia (Alice Mills, Libby Lenton, Petria Thomas, Jodie Henry, Sarah Ryan) 4x100m medley relay: Australia (Giaan Rooney, Leisel Jones, Petria Thomas, Jodie Henry, Brooke Hanson, Jess Schipper, Alice Mills) 4x200m freestyle relay: United States (Lindsay Benko, Rhi Jeffrey, Rachel Komisarz, Natalie Coughlin, Carly Piper, Dana Vollmer, Kaitlin Sandeno)
National Aquatics Centre; Shunyi rowing-canoeing park for open water events *Reuters