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Swimming on the Back

stroke, strokes and water


The back stroke is one of the most useful a swimmer can learn, and should follow the breast stroke immediately the pupil becomes proficient in it. It is a regrettable fact that many otherwise fine swimmers neglect this particular stroke, its main advantage being that it is one of the most restful strokes during a long distance swim, as it brings into play more directly a fresh set of muscles—a very useful procedure when nursing oneself for the last mile or so. The foregoing naturally only applies to certain cases, as many long distance swimmers prefer to start and finish on the stroke they have adopted throughout their training. The main function of the back stroke is for life saving work, being indispensable when passing the examinations for the certificate or medallion, many experts at the other strokes fail ing to pass through neglecting this easy method of progress through the water. It comes into ser vice in all instances, when either giving assistance to a swimmer taken with cramps or rescuing a drowning person, being the only correct method when necessary to turn a struggling subject on his or her back in order to keep their nose and mouth above water, either by the first, second or third method described in the chapters dealing with the life-saving methods of the Royal Life Saving Society.

Quite apart from the foregoing important rea son for not neglecting this stroke, it is the least fatiguing of all strokes, requiring very little energy, as the body is in the best position, dis placing the minimum volume of water required to sustain the body in the position required. It is interesting to note that more attention is being paid to this particular stroke than hitherto, mainly on account of its direct connection with life-saving and speed swimming in the four style races, which are a very attractive item on any aquatic programme.