Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/266

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Conquering Your Cramps Under Water

���Breaking the arm cramp by sheer strength. The lungs are first filled with air to prevent panic; then the arm is forced out straight

��THE "Old Man of the Sea," who figures in fiction so mysteriously and with such dire consequences, might well be named "Cramps" for everyday application, as far as swim- mers are concerned. To many swim- mers, otherwise absolutely fearless in the water, the suspicion of a cramp is a nerve-wrecker. But, according to Henry Elionsky, holder of the world's long distance swimming champion- ship, that is because they do not em- ploy the scientific method of breathing when in the water.

The rule which Elionsky gives to his pupils at the Brighton Beach Baths near New York is: "When in the water breathe through the mouth only and gulp the air, as you would if you were frightened or very, much amazed on land." The air thus in- haled is driven into the lungs in about five times the quantity rate breathed through the nose.

A cramp is merely a contraction of the muscles caused by the penetration of the cold. Obviously, it could not of itself cause drowning. Its worst effect is to cause a panic which throws the swimmer off his guard, causing him to let the air out of his lungs and thus allow the air passages to become filled with water. The safeguard against such a panic is absolute confi- dence in the floating power of the body and a demonstrable knowledge of the proper way to quickly fill

��Some valuable first-aid advice from the champion long distance swimmer of the world

��Below: Henry Elionsky swam from Battery Park, New York, to Coney Island, with hands, feet and legs shackled. Time 5 hours, 20 minutes. His sister, with hands and legs free, ac- companied him. Here they are diving from the Battery pier

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���Forcing a cramped leg straight. The body will float as long as the lungs are kept filled with air

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