What are Aquatic Sports?

Aquatic sport is quite a large category that includes several disciplines. You can do them in the water, over it, or underneath it. Read on to find out more!
What are Aquatic Sports?

Last update: 27 February, 2020

There are three ways that you can participate in aquatic sports: on the water, in the water, or under it. In this article, we’ll tell you more about them!

What aquatic sports exist?

First things first: these are obviously sports that have something to do with water. They can be divided into three types. The first is in the water, in which athletes are sometimes also under the water, but must come to the surface. Second, on the water: these athletes use various vehicles to move around. And third, under the water, in which they use special breathing equipment. Here are a few of these sports in more detail:

1. Swimming

This is one of the most well-known aquatic sports and consists of moving at the level of the water without touching the bottom. For competitions, the pool is 50 meters long and 25 meters wide and divided into ten lanes.

Swimming as a sport began in Great Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century. Swimmers have participated in the Olympics since 1896 for men and 1912 for women. Swimmers can compete in four main styles: the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Officials established these styles in the 30s and 40s.

Within swimming, athletes can participate in other types of events, such as open water swimming – not in a pool, but in the sea or a lake – and synchronized swimming. The International Federation of Swimming has endorsed both forms.

A woman swimming in a pool.

2. Water polo: aquatic sports

In this sport, two teams face each other. There are six players for each team and one goalie. The object is to score more goals than the other team until the game ends, in four periods of seven minutes each.

The players may not touch the bottom of the pool at any time; they must float. They can also only grab and throw the ball with one hand.

In 1900 teams began to play water polo in the Olympics. Hungary has been the most frequent winner in this sport that’s been played in the Games for over one hundred years. In 2000, women began playing water polo in the Olympics, and the US women’s team is world-class.

A goal being scored in water polo.

3. Sailing

This nautical sport consists of controlling a boat pushed by the wind, changing the position of the sails. The competition itself is called regatta, and the boats are called sailboats. The history of this sport began in the 18th century but became competitive in England on the River Thames.

Saling has been an Olympic sport since the Paris Games in 1900. Except for Saint Louis in 1904, sailers have participated every year. The biggest winner is the Danish athlete, Paul Bert Elvstrom, with four gold medals.

On the other hand, the first woman to participate in this sport was the British athlete, Frances Rivett-Carnac. The United Kingdom leads in this sport, followed by the United States and then Norway.

4. Speedboat racing: aquatic sports

Another aquatic sport that takes place on the surface of the water is with a motorized boat; more precisely, a motorboat. The first speedboat racing competition was in 1898, and it was included in the Olympics in the 1900 and 1908 Games.

There are different types of competitions that the International Union of Speedboat Racing recognizes. Inshore speed is the first (on lakes and rivers), and offshore is the second (in the sea). There’s also resistance (24 hours), rally speedboat racing (such as the Gabares race), and drag boat racing (one-fourth of a mile at 400 km/hr).

5. Rowing

In this case, athletes use oars to propel themselves through the water. This form of transport is very traditional. It started in England in the 17th century, and it was only for gentlemen.

Two men rowing.

Within the aquatic sport of rowing, there are different events. For example, within the bench rowing, there’s the single, the double scull, the double with or without a helmsperson, the quadruple scull, the quadruple with or without a helmsperson, and the octane with helmsperson. In sculls, the rowers have one oar in each arm; with the competitions with or without a helmsperson, they only have one each.

On the other hand, there are events with more rowers per team that are more traditional in Spain. These can be with small fishing boats, standard fishing boats or dinghies.

Finally, there are some other aquatic sports such as synchronized diving, water skiing, surfing, and paragliding (kitesurfing or windsurfing). Diving and underwater cave diving are also popular. Which one do you want to try?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.