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Leg Action - Breast Stroke

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When the pupil has become proficient in the arm movements, he can follow on with the leg exercises, first bringing the heel of the left foot to the level of the right knee, and touching the inside of the same, with the toes pointing down wards, continuing this alternately with the left and right leg until the pupil has the full move ments under complete control. In all these exer cises, strict attention must be paid to see that each action is combined with a steady, full inflation and deflation of the lungs, this being one of the most important features of the land drill.

Whilst admitting these are good for class pur poses and general tuition, it will be readily appre ciated a few practical lessons in the water are worth many on land. It is therefore advisable not to prolong the drill beyond the stage of all round proficiency in the arm and leg movements, combined with well-timed breathing, as the drills are apt to become stale. The legs play the most important part in relation to quick propulsion through the water; it is therefore advisable to pay great attention to their relative actions, bear ing in mind that no two swimmers in a hundred acquire quite the correct action or kick. This question will be dealt with more particularly in its connection with the different strokes described in the following chapters. When the pupil has thoroughly mastered the breast stroke, the more complicated strokes, such as the under-arm, over arm, trudgen and crawl, may be taught. It will advance progress more thoroughly if they are taken in the order mentioned, as there is a Mose relation between them; the explanation for this is given in the chapters dealing with these particular strokes. These can be better shown by practical demonstrations in the baths, with the advantage that the correct action or kick can be shown with the body at its normal inclination in the water.

Many devices and inventions are favored by the beginner, such as "water-wings," "cork buoys," and different apparati in the baths. These and all similar devices are practically useless, unless under the supervision of a qualified instructor.

Many promising swimmers have been spoiled in their early career by placing a lazy reliance on these artificial means of support. If there is much difficulty in getting the pupil into the cor rect leg stroke, it is a good plan, in some cases, to secure a piece of wood about 3 ft. 6 in. long, 1 ft. broad and 2 in. thick, rounded at the forward end, letting the pupil lie on this with the arms stretched at full length along the sides, chest rest ing on the board, with the lower part of the body quite free. In this way the pupil can pay more attention to his legs, at the same time progress through the water will be fairly natural. Discard the board immediately the results are satisfac tory. The best method, after the pupil has be come proficient in the land drill, is to enter the water with him at the shallow end of the bath and show him the correct actions by taking. hold of the rail with the right hand, allowing the left hand to press against the side of the bath some twelve inches or so below the level of the water. In this manner the body is brought to its normal position, and the different leg movements, when executed slowly, are shown to the highest advant age. After the pupil has been initiated in the mysteries of their relative actions, he should be put through the same course. On becoming fairly proficient, he should face the opposite side of the bath, and be assisted to swim across—the less assistance given the better; the best method being to place the hand under the lower part of the chest, giving just sufficient buoyancy to keep the chin above water. Many instructors prefer to hold the chin, but in doing this it interferes with the breathing, one of the main actions which should be carefully guarded against. When the pupil has acquired the confidence to swim across alone, it is advisable to let him make further pro gress unaided, being encouraged at the same time to gradually increase the distance by swimming the length of the bath. On no account attempt to teach the different strokes until highly proficient in the breast stroke.