Home > Journals > The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness > Past Issues > Articles online first > The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Jun 17



To subscribe
Submit an article
Recommend to your librarian


Publication history
Cite this article as



The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Jun 17

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12697-0


language: English

Sink or swim: innovations in aquatic health

Lee HILL 1 , Margo MOUNTJOY 2, 3, Jim MILLER 3, 4, Jamie BURR 5

1 Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada; 2 Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada; 3 Sport Medicine, FINA, Lausanne, Switzerland; 4 Medicine Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA; 5 Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada


Since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the aquatic sports have expanded both in participation and innovation over the last century. Beginning with swimming, diving, water polo, and later additions of artistic swimming, open water swimming and high diving, the aquatics sports represent a core pillar of Olympic disciplines. The rapid expansion of aquatic disciplines necessitated the foundation of the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) in 1908, to govern the development of aquatic sports. The amateur spectacle has been slowly replaced with an increased focus on health and performance by dedicated professional athletes and support teams, resulting in the development of new innovations. In the early years, innovations largely centred on technical equipment such as bathing suit and springboard design. In more recent years, research and innovation have shifted focus to health and its impact on performance, including but not limited to changes in training methods, nutrition, injury and illness reduction through surveillance and access to education for athletes, coaches, and support personnel. An increased awareness on factors that affect athlete health have also driven safety innovations including the development of Nutrition and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport Clinical Assessment Tool, the Sport Mental Health Assessment and Recognition Tools and safeguarding from harassment and abuse through embedding athletes’ right to safe sport in underpinning statutory documents. While the future of aquatic health innovations remains undefined, there are many potential opportunities for research and knowledge translation as the aquatic sports continue to evolve and adapt over time.

KEY WORDS: Swimming; Diving; Injury; Illness; Non-communicable diseases; Elite sport

top of page