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Some Stunts or Scientific Swimming and Floating

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SOME STUNTS OR SCIENTIFIC SWIMMING AND FLOATING The art of motionless floating on the surface of the water practically governs all other stunts in the water. It appears comparatively easy when watching an expert, but it requires a great deal of practice and patience to acquire the power which, when once gained, enables the swimmer to perform many feats with ease and grace which otherwise seem difficult. Floating is a graceful pastime and should be the ambition of every swim mer to excel in. Unlike swimming, it cannot be learned by any given methods, as the relative buoyancy and displacement of each individual body varies. It is necessary at the beginning to find the exact position in which the body must be placed in order to float properly, which allows the subject to breathe correctly with the mouth above the water. Theoretically every person can float, which is fairly correct as far as salt water is concerned, especially in the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, or Salt Lake QiyiTy but in the great fresh water lakes cases frequently occur in which the chest capacity is not sufficient to counteract the specific gravity of the body, and owing to dis placing too much water the body gradually sinks, although it appears to be in its correct position.

The following explanation, if correctly carried out, will, in the majority of cases, overcome this. In the first instance, frequent practice is neces sary, even if it results in partial failure. I have known some swimmers to give it up in despair to eventually return to the attack of the proposition and become experts at it, even to reading news papers on the bosom of the waters.

The fundamental principle of floating is merely the balancing of the body on the surface of the water so that neither the arms or legs sink down wards. In taking up the position in the water it is well for the beginner to take in all the breath possible and push off gently from the steps with the feet; being careful to practice when the water is still. If the legs sink on leaving the steps it

proves that the arms have not been extended far enough back or sufficiently wide apart, or the head has not been thrown low enough, or the chest properly extended. The mere defection of either hand may prevent sinking. Once this fact is grasped floating comes as naturally as ordinary swimming. Ladies learn to float more quickly than men, because their bones are lighter. A thin person can float quite as well as a stout person, although a stout person usually has the advantage.

The writer strongly urges his readers to take up this question, especially if they go where there is salt water, as it is undoubtedly the easiest to learn in and can be accomplished in a few trials. To a swimmer who really enjoys the art, there is nothing so enjoyable as floating in the open sea or lake; the sensation in a running sea as the body is momentarily buoyed up on the crest of the waves is one of the delights seldom forgotten, for although the waves may only be some five or six feet high actually, they look like veritable moun tains as one sinks in the trough to be caught by the on-coming wave.

No swimmer can lay claim to being an expert until he can float, after which scientific or trick swimming becomes fascinating to him. The feat of treading water is not so easy as most people imagine, when it is done properly, without any undue exertion. The first methods call for the hands to be placed on the hips, with the head thrown well back, chest fully inflated, and the body brought in a perpendicular position; the legs are then moved alternately, striking the water with the sole of the foot, kicking the legs outward from the knees to the front and then drawing them backwards, which action causes the to move forward. The body can be propelled in the same manner by feathering the hands when turned palm downwards, the arms being extended to their full reach in line with the chest.