Swimming Competition

Rafał Wilk

Sports in the city

Although the first documented Warsaw swimming competition in the Vistula took place as early as 1861, for the next few decades swimming was perceived as a sport discipline only for the brave. The first swimming section was set up at the Warsaw Rowing Association and its objective was to give rowers swimming lessons.


In the first years of the Second Polish Republic only a small minority of citizens could swim. For this reason swimming sections created at Warsaw sports clubs were expected, above all, to familiarise sportsmen with water. Only several out of over 50 Warsaw clubs achieved good scores.


The picture of 1933 shows a moment right after the start when competitors are swimming through the shallows. Collections of the National Digital Archives.