Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/65

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above water. But, when the correct position is once mastered, this difficulty disappears, and swimming is made as natural and easy a function of the body as running or walking.

Fig. 2, showing the correct position of the body while swimming, has been drawn from empirical analysis, and is as plausible in theory as in practice. All of the propulsory exertions should be given so as to have but one tendency—that of advancing the body directly forward. (The proper method for accomplishing this end will be spoken of further on.) Now, admitting that the whole tendency of the stroke is to force the body in the direction of the component, c, if the body be so bent that the chest and part of the abdomen will form a resistance, making an angle with the direction of the force—as a, b, c—the tendency of that resistance will be to form a resultant in the direction

PSM V23 D065 Correct head position when swimming.jpg
Fig. 2.

of b, which forms, with the natural buoyancy of the body, the force that keeps the head above water.

A concomitant advantage in the position under discussion is, that the neck and head are free to take their natural positions, and hence the avoidance of the evil referred to in speaking of the position of the head assumed by beginners.

The greatest difficulty to the beginner is to learn to keep the proper position of the body after attaining it. This difficulty can only be overcome by using the proper stroke after having placed the body in the correct position.

In the use of the arms, the only direction that can be given is to remember that, when the arms are thrust forward at the beginning of the stroke, such position of the elbows and hands should be taken as will make the least resistance to the water. To accomplish this, the hands should be placed palm to palm, and the elbows made to come quite close together, starting them from under the chest, as in the cut. In making the effective part of the stroke, our object is to get a forward motion only. The arms and hands should be so placed as to produce the greatest resistance upon the water. To accomplish this, the palms of the hands should be thrown outward, and the plane of the direction of the stroke of the arms made parallel to the surface of the water.

The most important and the most often defective point in swimming is the mode of using the legs. It would be well for a beginner to observe the swimming of a frog, for undoubtedly the same method