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And to re-enter the boat the experi- it over one's head and shoulders or even enced swimmer swims partly up to the to dive through it, with the result that stern and then leaps up and climbs in. the head is merely thrust under water You should never attempt to clamber and kept there by the buoy's weight. It over the side or bows, since the former is in fact next to impossible to get it will bring about an upset almost surely, over the shoulders, and should you sucwhile the latter is extremely awkward, ceed in getting only partially through, even if you succeed.
there is grave danger of becoming Having plunged from the stern and wedged. received a sensation so exhilarating that I have known an inexperienced swimit must be experienced rather than de- mer, to whom a buoy was thrown from a
scribed, the swimmer will, do well to yacht, "saved" wrong-end up; his head practice a few useful water-feats as a being submerged and his lower extremivariation from merely swimming until ties maintained above the surface. The he grows tired. There is little excuse correct thing is to grasp the two sides for swallowing water even in a fast of the buoy with fingers of the hands stroke ; this is merely a matter of correct uppermost, lower yourself right under it, breathing. I would also recommend so that its weight submerges your head practice with a life-buoy in the water. for a moment. Then you will come up It affords great fun to a party of robust through the center. Draw your arms young swimmers and may one day or through, and you will find yourself comanother prove vitally useful in some fortably supported as long as necessary, grave catastrophe far out at sea.
with your arms resting on the sides. To a person ignorant of the correct A much neater way to do it in one way of getting into a buoy, this life- movement is to put both hands close tosaving contrivance is perhaps more dan- gether on the edge of the buoy nearest gerous than useful. When it is thrown to you, and suddenly throw all the into the water the temptation is to lift weight of the body upon it. This will.
force one side under water, causing the bath, with all kinds of aids and machinery buoy to capsize and fall clean over head whose absence is sorely felt at the first and shoulders.
really practical lesson alone in open As records of the sea tellus, life- water. The best aid is a friend who buoys often fail us at the critical mo- swims well. He induces confidence in ment, for they are not forthcoming at all the learner by voice and example, and through criminal negligence. In such also by supporting the novice with a event an oar may be used as a substitute. hand under his chin while instructing Of course there is some little art in sav- him in the first arm and leg movements.
ing one's self by its means, for an oar A floating manilla rope fastened to someof average size is certainly not buoyant thing on shore is also most useful. enough to support a man, if grasped as Now wade in quietly without hurry the first impulse would direct. There is and anxiety until you are waist deep. only one way in which the oar will sup- Stop here and paddle about until port a human being. It must be ridden you have confidence. Now face the just as a child rides his hobby-horse. shore, grip your rope tightly, and bob The haft is put between the legs and down, immersing yourself completely. the blade allowed to project above the You will come up to puff and blow; surface in front of the swimmer. This always remember there is no hurry. leaves him both hands free for propulsion Jump up and down a little, and you will and balance, and the oar so used will be learn how buoyant the water is and how found an amazingly useful adjunct for a little effort is required to keep yourself very long distance.
afloat. Move about as much as you But, it will be objected, these hints are please, but don't release your hold on for people who can swim. As to the the rope. In fact, I strongly recommere beginner, I would certainly advise mend that the first lesson should be dehim to take his first lesson in open river, voted to acquiring complete confidence lake or sea rather than in a swimming whilst immersed up to the chin. I think,
too, that floating should be learned before deaths usually attributed to
to cramp. swimming
Should this muscular seizure suddenly You will learn floating in this way: affect any part when the shore is handy, Walk into the water almost up to your lose no time in reaching it-remembershoulders. Then, with your back to the ing that even should both legs be disabled shore bend the knees until the water is you can paddle ashore with your hands. level with your chin. Lay the head well Or if both arms are seized, you have back, keeping the mouth closed until the only to lie on your back and get to the water is up to your ears.
Now stretch shore by striking with your legs. But the arms slowly behind your head, palms should assistance be absent and the shore upwards. Inhale a long, deep breath far off, different tactics must be adopted. and you will feel your legs rising to the First of all keep your presence of mind. surface. Throw your head a little fur- If cramp is felt in the calf of the leg just ther back still, and you will find you are below the knee—the most frequent place floating. But the moment you exhale -turn on your back at once; bend the you will begin to sink.
toes upward; kick out the affected leg Don't be nervous, but draw in a fresh in the air ; ignore the pain, paddling with breath as quickly as you can, when chest one hand and rubbing the other smartly and head will instantly rise an inch or so over the spot. Cramp usually comes as further out of the water. Confidence is an after-effect of indigestion, or it may everything; and before you tackle your be due to the coldness of the water. first real swimming-lesson walk into the Swimmers addicted to it constantly water shoulder deep and face the shore. should never venture out of their depth. Hold out your arms straight in front, I would recommend occasional pracpalms downwards two or three inches tice in old clothes that the day of misbelow the surface. Now throw your fortune may not take us at a disadvanhead well back, inhale a deep breath, push tage. Undressing one's self in the water gently off the ground with your feet, is much easier than it seems. To take and bring your arms right around with a off a coat, you should “tread water" and steady sweep.
throw off the garment dexterously. This done, let your feet touch bottom Boots are disposed of one at a time lying and you will find yourself a yard or two on the back, paddling with one hand and nearer shore. Repeat this experiment undoing buttons or laces with the other. again and again, letting yourself be car- When this is done push your shoe off ried on the water as you make this stroke by pressing with the toes of the other from the standing posture, and you have foot upon the heel. fought more than half the battle of learn- Trousers may be dispensed with by ing to swim. It only remains to make swimming on the back, giving short legthe legs do their share in propulsion. strokes and undoing belt or suspenders This they do as you stretch the arms as quickly as possible. The next mabefore you and push off. Draw up the noeuvre is to paddle with the hands and knees and kick out the legs, opening shake the feet, which allows the garment them as widely as possible. Then bring to slip off, giving perfect freedom to the your heels together with as determined a
swimmer. sweep as you are capable of, forcing the
Weeds are a source of real danger in water out from between them and pro
sea, river, and pond. Sometimes they pelling the body forward.. And after
grow so deep that they are hidden from one joint arm-sweep and leg-kick, touch bottom and recover breath, repeating limbs. Here again the great thing is
view, and yet will entrap the swimmer's this until you combine effectively both arm and leg action.
to keep one's presence of mind. Lie as As to unexpected difficulties in the
flat as possible, make a few short rapid water, cramp must come first-a most
kicks, and simultaneously pull the water unpleasant and serious seizure, yet noth
towards you with hollowed hands, whose ing like so dangerous as is commonly fingers are pressed tightly together. supposed. In my opinion it is loss of A popular error is that colds are never presence of mind that causes all the caught from sea water. This is quite
a mistake, and I always insist on a sharp from behind. He will lose such selfrub down with a Turkish towel directly control as he has the moment you fail to after leaving the water. Then if you keep his head out of the water. The wish to obtain full benefit from your mere splash of a wave will start him dip in the sea, follow this up with a struggling frantically again, unless it be sharp walk or canter along the beach a fellow-swimmer attacked by cramp and with bare feet and finish off with a amenable to reason. Should he strive to sun-bath on the rocks.
turn and seize you, catch him under the As to saving the life of another, this armpits, and by holding him in this way does not require an extraordinarily you will keep his head higher out of the strong swimmer; nor is it advisable to water. wait until the drowning person comes If a person can swim ever so little it up a third time—for if he does this at requires but a trifling support to enable all he will not be far on this side of the him
him to await calmly a long-delayed border of life. The great thing is to keep rescue. And most interesting experiout of the clutches of the drowning, ments are being made in this matter of otherwise both will be lost—as a long life-saving in the public parks of London, list of fatalities every year so mourn
Paris, and Berlin, where absolutely free fully proves.
Watch your opportunity tuition is given to children in the public and grasp your charge firmly by the hair schools by competent instructors engaged or the back of the neck, approaching by the Municipal Councils.