Swimming is a technique that humans, and other animals, use to move through water using only movements of the body. Swimming is an integral part of almost all water-based activities. It is also a competitive sport and a recreation in itself. This article concentrates on human swimming and a competitive sport. There are health benefits of swimming, but it also entails risks.
The most common reason for swimming is recreation, where the swimmer enters the water merely for enjoyment. Recreational swimming is considered by many a good way to relax, as well as providing a good full-body workout. Several swimming styles are suitable for recreational swimming; most recreational swimmers prefer a style that keeps their head out of the water and with an underwater arm recovery. Breaststroke, side stroke, back stroke, crawl, butterfly and dog paddle, are the most common strokes utilized in recreational swimming, but the out-of-water arm recovery of freestyle or Butterfly gives rise to better exploitation of the difference in resistance between air and water.
Butterfly stroke, which consists of out-of-water recovery with even symmetry in body movements, is most suited to rough water swimming. Most recreational swimming takes place in pools, where the water is calm. Therefore freestyle (which does not work as well in rough water) is suitable. People can swim in any body of water large enough to permit free movement. Most people enjoy swimming in water that is between 18° and 29°C (64° and 84°F). The act of moving through the water by using the arms, legs, and body in motions called strokes.
Beginners first put their heads in the water and blow bubbles by exhaling. Gradually, students progress to floating, treading water, and ultimately, learning the techniques of the major strokes. Venues for recreational swimming are swimming pools, beaches, lakes, rivers, canals and the recreational clubs and centers.