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Tuesday, September 19
Swimming Fan Guide

IN THE CROSSHAIRS puts Olympic swimming In the Crosshairs with our interactive fan guide feature. Check out each sport's fan guide for more In the Crosshairs looks at the Olympic sports.

Swimming in the Crosshairs

Olympic competition dates: Sept. 16-23
Venue: Sydney International Aquatic Centre

The outlook
Bodysuits have revolutionized the sport, with world records falling every week. In the past two years, 14 world records were set in this Olympic pool, designed for speed.

The finer points
Freestyle: Swimmers may use any strokes they wish, but they usually go with the Australian crawl, characterized by alternate overhand motion of the arms.

Backstroke: Requires the swimmer to remain on his or her back at all times; resembles an upside-down crawl with alternating motion of the arms; only event in which competitors start the race in the water.

Butterfly: Features the simultaneous overhead motion of the arms combined with the dolphin kick; both the arms and legs move up and down together; flutter kicking is not allowed.

Breaststroke: Requires simultaneous movements of the arms on the same horizontal plane. Hands are pushed forward from the chest and brought backward in the propulsive stage of the stroke.

Individual medley: Features all four competitive strokes; the swimmer begins with the butterfly, goes to the back, then the breast, then the free.

Medley relay: All four strokes swum, but in a different order than the individual medley -- backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle. All go 100 meters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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