The Female Swimming Community

  • Dave DayEmail author
  • Margaret Roberts


One of the characteristics of late nineteenth-century swimming was the rapid expansion in swimming among women who made the transition from merely bathing to adopting the activity as a serious physical exercise. The social acceptance of female swimming was helped by the creation of segregated spaces in the new baths, and by a degree of medical support, while the efforts of female members of professional swimming communities contributed to increased participation levels by demonstrating what a woman could be capable of. The authors discuss some of the female professionals who were prominent in this period, in particular Laura Saigeman, before providing an overview of the adoption of serious swimming among women from different classes and how this led to the development of a rational swimming dress.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History, Politics and PhilosophyManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  2. 2.Independent ResearcherCreweUK

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