Some occupations require the workers to swim. For example, abalone divers or pearl divers swim and dive to obtain an economic benefit, as do spear fishermen.
Swimming is used to rescue other swimmers in distress. There are a number of specialized swimming styles specially for rescue purposes (see List of swimming styles). Such techniques are studied by lifeguards or members of the Coast Guard. The training of these techniques has also evolved into competitions such as surf lifesaving.
Swimming is also used in marine biology to observe plants and animals in their natural habitat. Other sciences use swimming, for example Konrad Lorenz swam with geese as part of his studies of animal behavior.
Swimming also has military purposes. A swimmer in the water or under the water can be difficult to detect, especially at night. Military swimming is usually done by special forces, such as Navy SEALS. Swimming is used to approach a location, gather intelligence, sabotage or combat, and to depart a location. This may also include airborne insertion into water or leaving a submerged submarine through a hatch or the torpedo tubes.
Swimming has become a professional sport as well. Companies such as Speedo and Tyr Sports, Inc. sponsor swimmers just as Nike sponsors basketball players (Nike also sponsors swimmers). Cash awards are also given at many of the major competitions for breaking records.