Okay, full swap doesn't mean you will automatically crash but you should have a swap that is twice as big as physical memory. This is what is usually assumed when the computer doles out swap space. If you run out of swap but the computer didn't plan on that... then it can cause a crash. It shouldn't but it is possible. My advice, change the amount of swap space you have. It can't hurt -- and it is going to help.
256MB RAM means you should have 512MB swap... not 227MB (which is an odd number to start with).
I don't know if what happened is "normal" per say. I would say it isn't... and it may be unrelated to your swap space... but that is a good place to start.
Note: At the very minimum... swap should be equal to the size of physical memory so you can coredump to that in case of a panic.