The swimmer lies on his chest and moves his hands and legs alternately exactly as a dog does when swimming. The chief use in this stroke is that it affords a change of action to the muscles, and if the swimmer has to traverse any considerable distance, say a mile or two, he will find that a few occasional minutes employed in swimming like a dog will be very useful in relieving the strain on the muscles of both legs and arms.
Having become tolerably expert at these exercises, the young swimmer should now learn to support and propel himself, first, without his hands, and next, without his legs.
He should therefore place the hands along the sides of the body, sink the legs much deeper than in ordinary swimming, and make a succession of strokes with the legs. These strokes should be much shorter and quicker than are used when the hands are at liberty.
Next, suppose that the hands are tied at the wrists, and that the swimmer is a manacled captive trying to escape across a moat. Press the hands tightly together, with the fingers close to each other, and the whole hand made as flat as possible. Turn slightly on the left side, making the ordinary stroke with the legs, and bring the hand towards the left hip with a quick sweep, taking care to part them from it as soon as the stroke is made.
Then, try to swim without the legs. Allow the feet to hang as low as they like, keep the head well back, and make the ordinary stroke with the hands. But, instead of merely bring them back, press them down at every stroke, so as to lift the chin out of the water. This is a very slow business, but still it should be practiced, as the swimmer may happen to disable his legs and ought to know how to manage without them.
Lastly, he should learn to swim when both hands and feet are tied together. This feat is a very superior one, and always elicits much applause from spectators, being what is technically named a "gallery" stroke. Yet it is really very easy and can be performed by any one who has practiced the two former exercises.
Hold the hands together, as already mentioned, and press the feet together at the ankles. Then, giving short, sharp strokes, the hands and feet working about, but not quite simultaneously.
If you are performing this feat before spectators, add to the effect by tying the hands and feet with handkerchiefs. Swimming is not made more difficult by the ligatures, while the appearance of difficulty is very much increased.
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