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

Swimming and Diving
(Part 10)

Diving. -- The rule in diving, as distinguished from plunging, is most explicit. In diving alone are the limbs allowed to make muscular movements under water.

When properly performed it is a most graceful feat to the eye, and a good swimmer is, as a rule, known by the way in which he enters the water. The height of the end of the board from the surface of the water may be from 3 to 20 feet. If the water is taken properly a clean dive or header is made, but some swimmer are careless and will flop into the water with the body contracted like a ball, instead of straightened out like an arrow. The descent of good divers into the water varies from 3 to 4 feet, of clumsy performers from 7 to 8 feet.

The dive may be standing or running one. The feet and legs are kept together, with the chest inflated, the arms slightly swung to and fro twice or so, and the body and legs bent towards the water. The lungs are charged, and the dive is made immediately before the arms and the hands are raised forward into the air above the bent head. The feet are used with all the power possible in springing off.

When in mid air the diver straightens himself out from finger tips to toes. The shoot downwards is made by declining the arms so as to enclose the head, the chest is momentarily contracted, and the water is gracefully and noiselessly fingers first.

The instant the body is covered, throw up the head and arms so as to reach the surface. The eyes just instinctively close as they enter the water; if it were otherwise, the force with which the surface is struck might cause injury, especially in the case of high diving.

As soon as the water is entered the eyes should the opened, as swimming under water with them closed may be attended with danger.

The best method for novices is to begin from a board 3 feet high; and, as confidence and a good style are acquired, the highest may be raised 1 to 1 1/2 feet at a time.

Running headers are accomplished by running 10 to 12 paces before springing off, and the diver endeavours to clear as long a distance as possible before entering the water.

Muscles and weight have nothing whatever to do with perfection in diving. Slim youth and heavy middle aged men and women have alike excelled in this branch of aquatics. The important requisites are courage and strength of nerve, combined with experimental knowledge of the behaviour of the body while in air and water.

Do not enter the water feet first. This is only done by those who have not the courage to dive in the proper manner, and it sometimes causes harm to respiratory organs, while one may lose balance and so come on to the water quite flat and be seriously injured in the stomach, ribs, or spine.

Object Diving. -- Some divers move over the bottom in straight lines, and others search on no plan at all. The best way is to strike to the right or left on the circumference of the circle surrounding the objects and work spirally inwards to the centre of the circle. If the face be kept close to the bottom and the eyes brought well into use success will reward one’s efforts, and no object ought to be missed.

For other diving the drawers should have a pocket easily accessible to one hand, in order to receive the objects raised. These are collected by swimming on the breast as quickly as possible.

All movements under water ought to be gone about with the utmost alacrity, but at the same time without undue haste or flurry, otherwise the heart’s action will be increased, the breath will suffer, and the stay under water will be shortened.

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