Plunging. -- In this the performer enters the water in somewhat the same manner as when diving (see below), but at a flat angle, and from the moment of doing so makes no active muscular movement whatever of any part of the body under water.
Plunging came into vogue as the most graceful and practical method of starting in swimming races. From 3 to 5 feet above the water-level makes the best springing point, whether from bank, board, or rock. The knees should be kept together and slightly bent, with the weight on the balls of the feet and the lungs fully charged. The spring forward at the signal to start is given with all muscular power available. A swing of the arms from behind is taken, and, as the feet quit their support, the arms are swung forward as to rise up to and straight beyond the head.
The body is shot into mid-air as far as possible, and, before touching the water, the head falls between the arms till the chin just touches the chest and the ear grazes the inside of the biceps. The body now glides gracefully and almost noiselessly into the water, with the chest slightly hollowed, the shoulders contracted, and the arms rigidly braced out straight.
The hands are now laid flat and thumbs locked, while the hips and ankles are kept in one rigid straight line, with the soles of the feet turned upward and level with the surface, the toes pointing straight behind. The forward motion from the spring continues as long as the body will float and the air in the lungs can be held, when the feet, followed by the arms, begin to sink, and the plunger ends his performance by merely raising his head.
Adepts in this branch have saved themselves from a sinking vessel by a long plunge from the ships side, and so by one effort have got clear out of the vortex that is caused by her setting down and sinking.