Swimming is a Sport which is an integral part of any multi-sport event held in the World namely Summer Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games etc. Besides this, there are World Championships organised by World Body for Water Sports (FINA) and regional competitions. The number of Medals at Stake range from 120 to 140 (All types).
Swimming has been an Asian Games Sports event since 1951 Delhi Asian Games which had Eight (8) events for Men. Subsequently, at the 1954 Manila Asian Games, there were Seven events for Men and Six for Women. These number of events have been gradually increasing with every game and at 2018 Jakarta Asian Games there were 20 events for Men, 20 for Women and one Mixed Medley relay making it 41 events.
1522 medals were awarded at 2018 Asian Games which included 465 Gold Medals. Swimming accounted for 41 Gold Medals and 123 Medals in total. It works out to 8.82% of total Gold Medals and 8.08 % of overall Medals were awarded in Swimming.
China won 132 Golds which included 19 Golds in Swimming i.e 14 % of Gold Medals from one sport only. The total number of medals won by China was 289, out of which, 50 were in Swimming only i,e.17% of total medals.
Similarly, Japan won a total of 75 Gold Medals, out of which, 19 were in swimming I.e. 25.33% of Gold Medals and it won a total number of 205 Medals including 52 in Swimming I.e. 25.36%.
India did not win any medal in Swimming. Although China & Japan dominated the swimming events still other countries managed to win 21 Medals in Swimming.
A glance at Swimming medals tally since the inception of Asian Games in 1951 will reveal that a total of 1,510 Medals have been awarded out of which 1100 have been won by Japan & China and 410 medals have been won by other Countries. India has won only nine medals in Swimming from 1951 to 2018 (six Medals in 1951& three medals between 1954 & 2018)
Indian Medal Winners till 2018 were:-
1951 - Sachin Nag (Gold), Kanti Shah (Silver), Bimal Chandra (Bronze), Jehangir Naigamwalla (Bronze), Men's 4x100m Freestyle relay (Bronze), 3x100m Medley Relay(Bronze)
1986- Khazan Singh (Silver),
2010 -Virdhawal Khade (Bronze)
2014 - Sandeep Sejwal (Bronze).
Though our swimmers did very well in the 2018 Asian Games, their performances did not fetch any medals. If swimming accounts for 8% of Medals including 41 Gold Medals in one Game -it is time that we must look at developing swimming at grass root levels like Khelo India Games, Youth Games, School Games etc so that we can win some medals at this sport.
The Infrastructure for swimming is available in all the Tier I, II & III level cities of the Country besides the Metros and at least at 10 other big cities. It is a food for thought and may involve training a few thousand swimmers who can get us medals at the next Asian games.