Sports Recommendation: Finswimming – a combination of swimming and diving
Humans may not have webbed feet, but they invented flippers so that they can swim and kick water more smoothly in the water as if they have grown fins. This was later developed into a sport called finswimming. Finswimming is a water sport that is a combination of swimming and diving. Wearing flippers increases your swimming speed underwater, making this sport more exciting.
Origin and characteristics
In the 1930s, in order to allow the Navy to swim faster in the water to facilitate searching and rescue operations, a French naval officer invented the rubber flipper, and this became the origin of the finswimming sport. Finswimming has become more popular since its inception in Europe, and finswimming competitions were even held in the former Soviet Union, Italy and Switzerland. By 1972, the mono-fin was invented, which joined the two feet of swimmers together, making them look like dolphins when they swung their feet to swim.
Swimmers used a front-mounted snorkel to breathe while swimming, and used the mono-fin in a dolphin-like motion to swing the body forward. Unlike normal swimming, finswimming does not involve any hand strokes; instead, swimmers move forward by coordinating their waist, abdomen, legs and ankles when swinging.
Clothing and equipment
The clothing worn for finswimming is mostly similar to normal swimming, and generally includes swimwear, swimming trunks, a swimming cap and goggles. As for equipment, the front-mounted snorkel used for finswimming is mostly made of plastic, but some parts of it are made of carbon fibre or metal. The flippers used are mostly made of fibreglass or carbon fibre, which is different to the flippers used for scuba diving. Beginners mostly use smaller and softer flippers to familiarise themselves with the feeling of kicking water with their ankles. Advanced swimmers would use harder and larger flippers to increase the speed of their movement under water.
(The video is broadcasted in Chinese)
The benefits of finswimming
Finswimming is an aerobic exercise that strengthens cardiorespiratory endurance and promotes blood circulation. While finswimming, one must constantly swing their bodies, so this also trains the muscles of your whole body, especially your waist and abdomen. Externally, finswimming slims down your body and tones your muscles; internally, it stimulates your intestines to improve your digestive system.
Development and promotion
The Hong Kong Underwater Association has promoted finswimming for more than a decade, and more and more people are participating in finswimming. In addition, a number of community sports clubs also help interested parties book venues, run finswimming classes in swimming pools of various communities, and provide professional coaches to teach the public finswimming skills.
Moreover, the Hong Kong Underwater Association has also established a strict safety code for finswimmers, requiring them to practise finswimming in an approved swimming pool with a coach. In order to go finswimming in the open sea, one must pass a finswimming test in the swimming pool, and only those who pass can go finswimming in the open sea. However, they are only allowed to surface swim and are not allowed to dive into the sea.
For more information about finswimming, please visit the Hong Kong Underwater Association website.