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Swimming Under Water

head, swim, surface, eyes and body


It is very useful to be able to swim under water, as it can be brought into service when required to stay under the water in moderate depths to reach or find persons who have sunk through the body losing its buoyancy, due to the stomach and lungs becoming filled with water. It should only be un dertaken by experts and those who have had long experience and practice, as there is a tendency for amateurs to overstrain themselves, which is inad - visable and not necessary. The ability to swim under water varies considerably, depending on the strength of the heart, lungs, and power of the swimmer. It may be interesting to record the best authenticated swim under water was per formed by the author's friend, James Finney, who swam 350 feet. His feats under water are well known throughout the aquatic world, his daughters emulating his feats to a surprising de gree of endurance under similar conditions.

To make a neat dive from the surface of the water, the swimmer naturally turns on the breast, taking a deep breath and suddenly depressing the head (much in the same manner as water-fowl do when searching for food. No better object lesson can be had than observing their methods of div ing from the surface). When the head is de pressed, look downward, with the eyes wide open; throw the back part of the body up, making a powerful downward stroke with the legs and hands. The leverage and weight being in a semi vertical position, will take the swimmer to any depth between ten and twelve feet. When under the water it is only necessary to keep the head de pressed and swim with the breast stroke when required to swim along the bottom in search of an object. To raise the body quickly to the sur

face, incline the head back, and either push from the bottom or make a series of upward thrusts with the arms, using the legs at the same time. Under ordinary conditions the body will come up quite quickly enough without this exertion. On reaching the surface, exhale through the mouth and inhale through the nostrils. To make a neat re-appearance do this as quietly as possible. The natives of Teneriffe are experts in the art of div ing, and boys between eight and nine years of age dive for small coins, very seldom losing one. The same can be said of the natives around Port Said and Suez, some making quite a nice living diving for money thrown overboard by passengers who enjoy the rivalry and aquatic feats of these expert divers. One of the most essential requirements for a beginner is to learn to open the eyes under water. It is a'good practice to depress the head just under water, looking at the toes; this gives the knack of opening the eyes and at once assures the young beginner that it is quite easy and not in any way painful. After this, small objects can be dived for from the surface. When the eyes have been trained to open automatically under water in this manner, it will come quite naturally when taking a header or dive off the spring-board or bank of a river.