Swimming vs. running

Swimming has many different races – different in length and in styles of swimming. Where these styles of swimming come from, who knows? Well, Wikipedia does – The four competitive strokes are the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Running races are of different length, but not necessarily in style, though the way of running changes depending upon the distance run. The differences in ways of running are not as different as the differences in the ways of swimming.

This leads me to wonder why there are not running races of people running backwards. “That would be silly” you say. Well, what is the backstroke? Swimming backwards, looking where you have been not where you are going.

Comparing the World Records in the 4 styles in the 50 m race, we see that the 50 m freestyle is the fastest.
50 m freestyle 21.28
50 m backstroke 24.47 *
50 m breaststroke 27.18
50 m butterfly 22.96

So why do the other styles of swimming exist? Why are there not styles of running? How quickly could Usain Bolt run the 100 m backwards? Or sideways? Or one one leg? Or while turning in circles? I think the different styles of swimming should be abandoned and people swim however they want to as long as they stay in their lanes. Having different styles of stroke is silly. It should just be getting from A to B as quickly as possible (or A to B to A to B etc. if doing multiple laps) however possible without interfering with other swimmers.

This then leads me to the hurdles. What would the swimming equivalent be? Hoops underwater for the swimmers to go through?