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Early British Swimming 55 BC - AD 1719

People went swimming in the Middle Ages for a bunch of reasons, including cooling off in the summer and getting clean. Some of these are more ceremonial, such as baptisms, or people swimming in the Fountain of Youth. The focus here is more on swimming for leisure -- how people went swimming in the Middle Ages for fun -- than ceremonial dips in water. This also avoids actual baths (baths and bathing are on another page here) as well as depictions of Venus, Bathsheba or Susannah bathing.

What clothes did medieval people swim in? Men often seem to wear their breeches while swimming -- if they wear anything at all.

For historical instructions on swimming, see A short introduction for to learne to swimme, gathered out of Master Digbies Booke of the Art of Swimming.

See also Early British Swimming.