20 Questions to Test Your Swimming Knowledge

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By Gigi Picard Swimming World College Intern

Swimming is a detail-obsessed sport: It’s all about precise qualifying times, strict training schedules, stroke descriptors, a lot of counting and hundredths of a second to crack the podium. 

How many of you feel confident you know the history of swimming? Let’s play 20 questions to test your true knowledge.

Take your marks. Go!

1. Let’s start out easy: How old was Katie Ledecky when she swam in the 2012 Olympics?

a. 16 years old

b. 15 years old

c. 14 years and 10 months old

d. 13 years and 10 months old

2. When and where did competitive swimming originate?

a. 1700s in Germany

b. 1800s in Britain

c. 1800s in the United States

d. 1700s in a backyard pool

3. What was the first recognized stroke in the sport?

a. Freestyle

b. Butterfly

c. Breaststroke

d. Backstroke

4. Who invented the flip turn? 

a. Fanny Durack in 1912

b. Tex Robertson in 1936

c. Al Vande Weghe in 1934

d. Willy den Ouden in 1933

5. When did the women first compete in the Olympic 1500m freestyle?

a. 1920

b. 2012

c. 1972

d. Never

6. When did men first compete in the Olympic 800m?

a. 2008

b. 1974

c. 1920

d. Never

7. What animal did Michael Phelps compete against in 2017?

a. An Alligator

b. A Great White Shark

c. Labrador Retriever

d. Daffy Duck

8. When did the International Swimming Hall of Fame open?

a. November 23rd, 1964

b. June 23rd, 1972

c. September 17th, 1959 (Rowdy Gaines’ birthday)

d. August 23rd, 1982 (Natalie Coughlin’s birthday)

9. At age 64, who was the first to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage? 

a. Susie Maroney

b. Penny Palfrey

c. Martin Strel

d. Diana Nyad

10. In 2006, Croatian Veljko Rogošić swam the longest recorded distance in open water without flippers. He swam 139.8 miles across the Adriatic Sea. How long did it take him?

a. 46 hours and 15 minutes

b. 50 hours and 10 minutes

c. 53 hours and 15 minutes

d. 23 hours and 45 minutes

11. In 2017, six students and alumni swam the first all-female relay double crossing of the Catalina Channel. What colleges did they attend?

a. Seven Sisters (Mt. Holyoke, Smith, Wellesley) 

b. Ivy League (Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale) 

c. Big Ten (Illinois, Michigan State, Northwestern)

d. Tulane, LSU, University of Florida

12. Who was the first woman to swim the English Channel (beating the men’s record by 2 hours)?

a. Gertrude Ederle

b. Abhejali Bernardová

c. Colleen Blair

d. Caroline Block

13. Cullen Jones retired from swimming to focus on teaching children how to swim through a USA Swimming Foundation water safety program. What is the name of the program?

a. Swim and Dive In initiative 

b. Water Safety USA

c. Sprint41

d. Make a Splash 

14. Swim Up Hill is an initiative with a goal of teaching one million people to swim to decrease the global drowning rate. Which paralympic swimmer started this initiative?

a. Julia Gaffney

b. Jamal Hill

c. Robert Griswold

d. McKenzie Coan

15. Para-swimming was one of the eight original sports in the Paralympic Games. What year did the first Paralympic Games happen?

a. 1960

b. 2000

c. 2004

d. 1980

16. True or false: Women’s and men’s swimming were both offered at the 1912 Olympics.

a. True

b. False

c. Who’s to say?

17. Who was the youngest swimmer to win an Olympic title?

a. Katie Ledecky at 15 years old

b. Kyoko Iwasaki at 14 years old

c. Adam Peaty at 15 years old

d. Nathan Adrian at 14 years old

18. What company created the first competitive swim suit? It was a racerback.

a. Speedo in 1920s

b. TYR in 1910s

c. Arena in 1910s

d. Blueseventy in 1930s

19. What was the first swim cap made out of?

a. Latex

b. Wool

c. Rubber-like fabric

d. Silicone

20. Who is the only swimmer to have hosted Saturday Night Live?

a. Kelsi Dahlia

b. Allison Schmitt

c. Lewis White

d. Michael Phelps

Bonus question: 

Fill in the blank: I’m off the deep end ______

a. Baby shark doo doo doo

b. Watch as I dive in

c. Classy bougie, ratchet

d. So I’m gonna just keep swimming

How well do you think you did? Let’s find out.

Answer key:

  1. B
  2. B
  3. C
  4. C
  5. D
  6. D
  7. B
  8. A
  9. D
  10. B
  11. A
  12. A
  13. D
  14. B
  15. A
  16. A
  17. B
  18. A
  19. C
  20. D

Bonus Question: B

 

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