Continued front page 2492, Part 20
Dive - Swimming Under Water - Fancy Swimming
The method of diving feet foremost is certainly very safe and effective, especially if from any considerable height.
The pose assumed should be a perfectly upright one, with the head held back, toes pointed downward over the edge of whatever one happens to be standing upon, knees straight, arms held stiffly to the sides. The diver then slips over the edge with the slight assistance from the toes, and holding her breath, drops perpendicularly into the water, which must be deep.
Any desire which may be experienced to spread out either the arms or legs must be resisted, or a serious accident may occur. When the diver has dropped into the water and sunk to a sufficient depth, the legs should be gradually opened compass-wise, with the knees slightly bent, and the arms also opened slightly from the sides, with the hands bent outwards, so as to check the descending motion. The diver will then slowly ascend to the surface, which operation may be facilitated by swimming a few strokes.
Another way of making the same dive is to lock the fingers together, with the arms stretched out to the fullest extent above the head, and this form is the one to use when diving from any considerable height, as, should the body tend to fall out of the perpendicular, this tendency can generally be counteracted by a movement of the arms.
Another method of diving of a simple character is the sitting jump, in which the diver leans well out over the water, doubling up the legs to the body, crossing the feet, and locking the fingers just below the knees in front. The body thus enters the water in a sitting position, and generally makes a considerable splash, which is rather disconcerting to any spectators within a radius of fifteen to twenty feet. This form of dive should not be made from any great height except in deep water, as there would always be the risk in shallow water of the back striking the bottom of the bath or sea.
Next to the Tahitians and other South Sea Islanders, probably the Swedes are among the most graceful and accomplished of divers. The "Swan," or "Swedish," dive is a wonderfully graceful method of entering the water. The "Swan" dive, which is one of the prettiest of all, is accomplished either with a standing spring or a run, the latter being the more showy. Directly the body is launched into space, the head is thrown backwards, the back sharply hollowed, the legs are straightened out and closed, whilst the arms are flung out and fully extended in a straight line with the shoulders. This position is kept until the body is within a few feet of the water, when the arms are swung together with the hands touching, and the water is entered in the usual way as with other dives which have been described.
It may be said, however, that this dive is a difficult one, and should only be attempted after considerable experience of less complicated diving, and from a considerable height - say, twenty-five or thirty feet - b e c a u s e there will not otherwise be time during the falling of the body to make the necessary movements.
Another showy and pretty form of diving is the backward dive, in which the would-be diver, of course, stands with her back and not her face to the water, and bending over as far as possible, with her hands stretched to the utmost limit and hands and fingers close together, enters the water in a graceful curve. Provided this method of diving is not attempted at first from any great height, there is little difficulty in accomplishing it.
The double dive is also a pretty and showy method. The two divers stand side by side, or back to back, with the right and left arm respectively round each other's waists, and the other right and left arm extended in front to the fullest extent, the dive being made in exactly the same way as we have described for the simple forward dive into shallow or deep water respectively.
The backward double dive is, of course, merely a reversal of this method. The triple dive is "showy" and graceful when well done.
How to stand when about to perform the double backward dive. The divers can stand side by side or back to back, as preferred.
Photo, Clive Holland
One other method of swimming, which should be learned as soon as thorough proficiency has been attained in the ordinary methods, is that of swimming under water. It is a very useful accomplishment, and has been the means of saving a large number of lives of persons who have "gone down," or whose bodies have been entangled in weeds and dragged down. A warning, however, should be given (especially applicable to women and girls) against the growing practice of remaining under water the longest possible time, with the object of winning some prize, breaking some record, or reaching some definite distance. Over and over again serious accidents have happened through this foolhardiness, more especially when the swimmer has been in the river or the sea, where the current or tide has carried her to a point beyond that expected by the onlookers. Then, when something has happened by which consciousness has been lost through too lengthy immersion, diving for the body has frequently resulted in its not being found until too late.
Of other tricks in swimming, that of "feet foremost," using the hands as sculls, is one of the commonest; and another showy trick is what is known as "revolving on the surface." This may be easily learned when once the swimmer has mastered the art of floating. But one must be thoroughly proficient in this before there can be any hope of performing the trick properly. As a matter of fact, there is no swimming action used in it at all. The body is first of all brought into the position of horizontal floating, with the legs closed, the hands extended beyond the head, the thumbs locked together; and, when the floater is quite stationary, the lungs are deeply inflated and the revolutions can be commenced. One point that must be remembered (and this applies equally to most floating tricks) is that every movement must be gentle and gradual. The face should be slightly turned to the right or the left, as the case may be, and the muscular force of the right side so brought into play as to cause the body to turn over face down-wards, and immediately this has been done, the direction of the force is changed to the left side of the body, which naturally at once begins to turn round until the face is uppermost.
It is usually a considerable time before novices can do this trick neatly, but when once it has been mastered it is quite possible to do from twelve to fifteen revolutions without any pause between them. When once the turn has been made, the body seems somehow or other to keep going if the swing of the shoulder has been made regularly.
Swimming Like a Porpoise
Swimming like a porpoise is by no means difficult, and it is one of the most popular of tricks. The ability to float is not necessary, only swimming power and a knack are needed. The body is guided in its upward and downward motions by the arm movements, and by a backward and forward bending of the head. Speed is entirely controlled by the action of the legs, except during that portion of the trick when the swimmer is swimming under water. Then the ordinary breast-stroke should be used. The lungs, first of all, should be entirely emptied of air, and then the deepest possible breath taken, and as the chest begins to inflate the body should be sunk under water and the mouth go below the surface just as the act of breathing is completed. A couple of under-water breast strokes, with the head turned upward and a vigorous kick of the legs, makes the head emerge. While the body is rising the ordinary arm stroke should be taken, and then, as soon as the head appears above the water, the arms (which must have returned into the first position of the breast stroke) should be forced together downwards through the water from the level of the surface till they come close to the hips. This will cause the body to roll over.
As soon as the hands begin to come down towards the hips, the legs must be straightened by means of a vigorous kick, so as to force both head and shoulders out of the water again. Then, by quickly turning the head downwards towards the chest, the body will be assisted in its roll over, and the back and legs will in turn appear immediately the head sinks below the surface, the legs being the last to come down, a little to the rear of the place where the head disappeared.
As in most tricks in swimming, a matter of prime importance is deep breathing and the proper control of the breath. If this is seen to, the trick can be performed a number of times.
These are only a few of the many forms of fancy swimming which the thoroughly grounded swimmer will easily learn from watching her yet more expert companions.