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Side and Over-Arm Stroke

kick, strokes, water, leg, legs and action


The reader will notice that the breast and back stroke have been dealt with conjointly, there being no doubt this is their natural sequence for begin ners. Following these in their respective relation to each other, we come to the side and over-arm stroke, two strokes that have achieved splendid records in the latter day annals of swimming, these giving way to the modern fast speed strokes —the trudgen and crawl.

Many text books neglect to group the different strokes in this order, but it may reasonably be accepted this classification is suited to the pupil's progress, on the principle that it is best to take the easier and generally more useful strokes first. It will be seen there is a very close connection be tween the side stroke and over-arm stroke, the action of the legs being identical in each case. The same may be said of the arms, with the ex ception that in the over-arm stroke, the left or right arm, according to which side the swimmer uses, comes out of the water, making a complete circle, taking the hand from the point of entering the water to its complete evolution ready for the next stroke. It is a good practice to get the pupil to adopt the side stroke first, mainly because this gets the swimmer into the correct method of turn ing on the side with the advantage of giving him the correct method of breathing, not being neces sary for the head to be submerged with each stroke, as in the over-arm stroke. Both these strokes require the quick scissors-like kick which has done so much to improve the style and speed of the fastest exponents of the day. The scissor stroke for the leg is quite of recent date, being perfected in the first instance by the leading swimmers in that home of the art—Lancashire, Great Britain. This centre has long been recog nized as the school of the principle fast and long distance swimmers of the world, including such champions as I. H. Tyres, J. Nuttall, David Bill

ington, E. Forsyth and many other record breakers.

It is very important to teach the pupil, and even advanced swimmers of the art, the great advant ages of paying particular attention to the leg kick. The action is somewhat difficult to explain clearly, or even illustrate, but may briefly be de scribed as follows : The leg stroke in side or over arm swimming is a very short, quick movement, both legs being kept absolutely straight as far as the knee, the under leg being always kept back sufficiently to give a powerful, yet steady, kick, the upper leg being kicked forward from the knee only, the legs, in their complete cycle, crossing each other similar to the action of opening and closing a pair of scissors. Before this all-import ant kick was developed, the legs used to be drawn right up under the body, as in the breast stroke; this caused a pronounced stop or dead point at the end of each stroke, due to too much time being taken in pulling the legs back to their normal position. This stop or dead point is practically eliminated with the improved kick. It is impera tive for the beginner or advanced swimmer learn ing the kick to become acquainted with its action by watching one who has become proficient with it in the water, following this up by emulating the example slowly in the water, with the instructor giving the necessary hints when following on the side of the bath, or in a boat in open water prac tice. It is only by perseverance reasonable profic iency can be gained in this kick, but it is well worth the extra time and patience that is required.