Kind of sport
FREESTYLE or FRONT CRAWL
As an Olympic event, the freestyle or front crawl has several distances. It is the fastest swimming style in which the body lies horizontally in the water while the arms provide the primary propulsion. From the hips the legs are lightly moved up and down which have a stabilizing function. Inhaling is possible by turning the head sideways in the "bow wave". The turn is performed as a kind of somersault in the water.
The back stroke is performed with an outstretched body and the head is held in such a way that the face is kept out of the water. In the swing phase above the water, the arms are slightly bent. The movement of the leg is the same as with the front crawl. Turning can be a bit difficult since one cannot see the side of the pool.
The breast stroke is the slowest of all the swimming techniques. The most striking features of this stroke is the froglike movement of the legs with the simultaneous forward extention of both arms which spread sidewards and then extend forwards again. The movements of the arms and legs are performed simultaneously and symmetrically.
Next to the front crawl, the butterfly is the fastest mode of swimming. With this stroke the legs are pressed together, with the feet slightly turned outwards. Contrary to the front crawl both arms are immersed simultaneously. This arm movement, in combination with the flowing movement of hips and legs, explains why some countries call the butterfly 'dolphin swimming'. The butterfly is a stroke demanding a lot from the movement-coordination of the swimmer.
The medley is a combination of swimming techniques and as an individual event the line-up is: butterfly, back-stroke, breast stroke and freestyle. During the medley relay the order is: back-stroke, breast stroke, butterfly and freestyle.
In 1996 the 4 x 200 m freestyle relay for women is admitted to the programme.