images of Aquatics

Olympic Sports



Aquatics consists of five disciplines (swimming, diving, waterpolo, synchronised swimming and marathon swimming)
A total of 46 Aquatic events are scheduled to be held at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
When competing, swimmers often approach the limits of human performance in terms of speed, endurance, skill and tactics.
Aquatics includes competitive swimming, in which swimmers vie for the best times using only their body; diving and synchronised swimming, which are judged on technical and artistic abilities; waterpolo, which is played with a ball, competing for scores; and marathon swimming, which takes place in open water.

Key Points

In competitive swimming, swimmers swim a distance in a predetermined swim style, competing for the best time.
To achieve faster times, techniques for starts and turns are crucial.
The diving competition consists of a series of complex twists and turns after jumping from a springboard or platform into the air and before entering the water. Judges take into account such factors as artistic performance and level of difficulty when deciding the number of points to award each competitor.
Waterpolo is played in a pool. Players attack and defend by shooting and passing a ball and attempting to stop opponents from scoring.
Tactics, physical strength and a range of skills are key to winning matches.
In synchronised swimming, teams of swimmers move their bodies in unison to music, and compete to achieve points for performance, synchronisation of swimmers and music, choreography and artistic presentation.
Synchronised swimming is a physically demanding sport, contrary to the elegance performance presented on the surface of the water.
Marathon swimming requires not only fast swimming techniques, but also experience and knowledge of swimming in natural conditions since swimmers are affected by the weather, tides and various other factors, unlike swimming in a pool.


Swimming is a very popular sport that has been featured in every edition of the Olympics since the Athens 1896 Games.
As well as Swimming, the only other sports to be included in all editions of the modern Olympic Games are Athletics, Gymnastics and Fencing.
The butterfly stroke, which originated as a variation of the breaststroke, has been contested as a separate event since the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games.

Synchronised swimming was introduced as an official Olympic sport at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.
At the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, the team event (each team consisting of eight swimmers) was introduced. Today, the Olympic synchronised swimming programme has two events: duet and team.
It is a discipline only for women.
Synchronised diving events were added to the Olympic diving programme at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Artistic performance and synchronisation of the two divers are the key to gaining high scores.
Waterpolo originated in Britain in the 1860s.
Although it was originally a game to move a ball to a predetermined point, new rules were established in the 1870s since players used any means necessary and fought violently for the ball under the water.
This is believed to be the origin of waterpolo.
In the 1880s, waterpolo was established as a sport. This led to other countries playing the sport, and waterpolo was added to the Olympic programme at the Paris 1900 Games.

Courtesy of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Bureau of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Preparation (as of January 2016)

Competition Venues

  • Odaiba Marine Park
  • Olympic Aquatics Centre
  • Tatsumi International Swimming Centre

Olympic Sports

Paralympic Sports