Competitive swimming is when someone individually or as a team swims in certain events and strokes to try beat their own personal best or time. In doing so, they do it up against people that are either nearly the same speed or people that are faster then them, this is to push them.
Competitive swimming became popular in the 19th century. The goal of high level competitive swimming is to break personal or world records while beating competitors in any given event. Swimming in competition should create the least resistance in order to obtain maximum speed. However, some professional swimmers who do not hold a national or world ranking are considered the best in regard to their technical skills. Typically, an athlete goes through a cycle of training in which the body is overloaded with work in the beginning and middle segments of the cycle, and then the workload is decreased in the final stage as the swimmer approaches competition.