Swimming 100 Years Ago

National_Geographic_Society_Edwin_Wisherd_1900_1970___Swimming_Class_Sophie_Ne_3820_417We’ve improved swimming a lot for our society within the last 100 years. Looking back and comparing it to today’s society and how we did things then and now – it’s important to note the historical importance at how things have progressed. Improving swimming for all – including who is allowed to swim or not. Believe it or not, there was a time when women weren’t allowed to swim in the olympics. Let’s take a look at how far we’ve come and see how much things have changed.

If you traveled back 100 years into the past you’d see people were wearing wool swimsuits. Wool is like a sponge and soaks up all the water, therefore our old friends would swim up to 9 pounds more of weight around with them. They weren’t bikini or trunk wear either, they wore full body suits, similar to the race wear in the olympics. Then swimwear changed their material to silk, but when wet would become transparent. Meaning people wore their undergarments underneath. Modesty prevailed and was the sentiment of the day for the better part of the next few decades things would change dramatically. View a gallery of what swimming looked like 100 years ago.

So Much Has Changed In a Century

Until 1900 women were not allowed to compete in the Olympics at all. The Olympics in 1916 were the first to sponsor the women’s swimming but established that women’s swimming was strictly for sport and not “sensation”. Both the contestants and public took this seriously.   

Swimmers didn’t wear goggles regularly for another 60 years. Although wearing caps made of silk and rubber with an additional chin strap. Thomas William Burgess constructed goggles out of an old pair of motorcycle goggles to fix a leaky solution. He successfully crossed the English channel in 1911.  

A Look Back at Swim Wear Over The Last 100 Years

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