1902 Encyclopedia > Swimming and Diving > Learning to Swim (cont'd).

Swimming and Diving
(Part 4)

A still more powerful stroke, and one used at competitions, is accomplished by carrying the hands up to the armpits as described in last method; then, turning the wrist so as to allow of the palms of the hands facing upward, point the fingers in the direction of progress stretch both arms as far as possible in a line with the body and beyond the head, and turn the wrists half round, until the hands are back to back, thumbs upward. The propelling action is now performed by sweeping both hands outward and round until they touch the legs and the arms are once more straight along the sides of the body. There is a double kick in this style, and the action is as follows. When the hands are being carried up to the shoulder one kick is delivered; then as the arms are being carried beyond the head the nether limbs are drawn up in position for another kick, which is delivered as the arms are sweeping down on the stroke. This is no mere ornamental stroke, but combines in its practice grace with power, and enables the swimmer to move through the water at great speed.

Another racing back stroke is performed by lifting hands and arms of the water at the finish of the pull downward, carrying them in the air, stretching them at full length beyond the head, and then dipping them into the water, executing the positive part of the stroke as in the last-described method. In this stroke there is only a single kick to each pull of the arms, the air and closed as the arms are pulled the water. While this movement is much practised by some experts, it is neither so graceful nor so speedy as the other, and there is much splashing is, in the case of a close race, likely to become rather erratic. Both are at the present time the fastest known methods of swimming on the back, and, with moderately good turning and pushing in a swimming bath, 100 yards should be covered in about 74 seconds, probably less.

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