The Swim is a dance. There's not much to it - just act like you're swimming, but out of the water. Like many of its kind, it mentions other dances in the lyric for reference: the Hully Gully and the Twist.
Freeman claimed he invented the dance on January 27, 1962 when he was one of several performers at the "Twist Party" concert headlined by Chubby Checker at the Cow Palace in San Francisco ("The Twist
" was the #1 song in the country). In a story he told many times throughout his career, Freeman said he got called back on stage after his set, but didn't have any more songs ready, so he made up some dances. After doing some Twist variations (Tennis Twist, Basketball Twist), he started shaking his butt and moving his arms in a swimming motion. "This is called 'The Swim,'" he said.
Sly Stone, 18, had met Freeman earlier and was in charge of the house band that night. Based on Freeman's dance, we wrote "C'mon and Swim" with Tom Donahue (real name: Thomas Coman), who along with fellow KYA-AM DJ Bobby Mitchell staged the show.
With Stone producing, Freeman recorded the song, with was released on Autumn Records, the label set up by Donahue and Mitchell. The song was a hit in the summer of 1964, when America got into "The Swim."