To combine the arm and leg strokes in side stroke swimming, the learner must begin swimming a stroke or two of the breast stroke. As the arms are swept back, she must turn over on the side chosen. The legs must then be drawn up, the upper one crossing over the lower, both knees being well bent, the upper in a similar position to that assumed in the breast stroke, whilst the other is pressed back, with the foot pointing in the same direction as the upper knee.
The inside of the tips of the fingers of the upper hand will almost touch the left wrist, from which they should be distant only a few inches. It will be found that the under arm extends the farthest in front, and counting one after the fingers have come together, so as to get the full benefit of the stroke, the learner must make the next movement with the upper arm, whilst the legs are extended at full length with the toes pointing backwards. This must be accomplished whilst leaving the arm still fully extended in front. As soon as the stroke is completed by the upper arm, and the fingers have reached the thigh and begun to steal forward, the under arm takes up its work. The legs are drawn up as the arm approaches the ribs so that they may be in a position for a fresh kick.
If the various movements have been properly carried out, and the swimmer has timed them accurately, the two hands will come into position again simultaneously, ready to be shot forward afresh.
In order to attain the clockwork regularity which is desirable in making the various movements, it is a very good plan to count one, two, three slowly as first the legs, then the upper arm, and finally the lower arm, come into operation. Haste should be avoided; but, on the other hand, it should be remembered that the force of each movement of the leg and arm strokes must not be permitted to expend itself before being supplemented by the one which next follows it, otherwise way will be lost and exertion greatly increased.
Speed will, of course, come with an increase of muscular strength and experience. One should try to swim as near the surface as possible, without, however, allowing any portion of the body, save the tip of the uppermost shoulder and half the face, to appear above the surface. It should be remembered that if splashing takes place with the feet one is swimming with the legs too high, and if with the hands then the legs are too low. Proof that the stroke has been properly mastered is given by the feeling that one is moving steadily and continuously, not jerkily, through the water.
To be able to swim on the back is necessary if one hopes to do good service in life-saving. Indeed, many a swimmer who can only swim on the side or use the breast stroke is unable to accomplish the ultimate rescue for which he or she has pluckily set out. Swimming on the back is, however, easily learned by anyone who can swim upon the breast. The movements are almost identical, although they are slightly varied by different swimmers.
One of the best ways of learning to swim in this manner is for the learner to stand in water which reaches to her waist or. a little higher, and then, spreading the arms out on a level with the shoulders, to lean gently backward on to the surface of the water, and, as the legs float up from the bottom, to take a slight spring so as to impart motion to the body. In the first place, the arms should be brought almost to the side, the hands being kept in a position which will bring the thumbs nearest the surface, and at the same time the leg stroke should be carried out in exactly the same manner as when swimming on the breast. Bringing the arms back into their original position, the hands should be turned palm downward so as to offer the least resistance to the water.
The most finished style in swimming on the back is to make a sculling motion with the arms, the hands being brought towards the sides of the body during the most effective part of the leg kick - namely, the push downward when the legs are just being bentin readiness for the next kick. The point of each hand will be found in practice to traverse a course very much like a double loop.
The body should then be bent forward, with the arms hanging slightly in the rear, the knees should only be slightly bent, and the arms swung behind the body, to assist in gaining the necessary impetus. Just as the swing backwards of the arms is accomplished, the diver launches forward and downward, stiffening the legs with a sharp jerk. At the same time the hands are shot forward to their fullest extent, and the toes give a last push off against the edge. The feet should remain quite rigid all the time.
The correct position to assume when diving into shallow water.
The diver must be careful to see that there is enough water, or serious injury may be sustained
Photo, Clive Holland
In diving gracefulness is not only desirable for its own sake, but it is almost inseparable from a good and successful accomplishment of the feat. The learner will, for this reason, do well to acquire from the very first a quiet and graceful style of entering the water.
High diving is a fascinating sport, but it needs to be carefully done, especially if attempted in shallow water. The simplest way to dive from any considerable height is to take a downward drop (at a certain angle, which one ascertains best by practice and watching others), because, to throw up one's legs (as in the low dive) when at a height tends to give additional and undesirable momentum to the body, which may cause it to turn over, so that the diver will reach the surface of the water with her face upwards.