Swimming Scientifically Taught - A Practical Manual for Young and Old
by Frank Eugen Dalton and Louis C. Dalton
Previous Part     1  2
Home - Random Browse

Preliminary exercise should be taken daily for a week or two in anticipation of starting practise. Long swims are advisable at this early date, but should be abandoned while preparing for a contest, as one sprints only in a game.

The best system to follow is a very simple one.

A few minutes in the steam-room (not more than five) or some calisthenics to warm up the blood, then a fast hundred. This done, rest until you have regained your breath. Taking the water-polo ball next, pass it to given points of the tank to secure accuracy, and sprint after it each time. Then get against the side of the tank, and placing the ball ten or twelve feet away, try to secure it with one hand on a push-off. This, done half a dozen times daily, will insure accurate passing, catching and obviate fumbling.

Another excellent exercise is to place the ball fifteen or twenty feet from you and then swim after it under water, trying to get it without coming to the surface. This has the double object of getting you used to under-water work and accustoms you to looking for the ball while submerged in a scrimmage.

Gymnasium work is not advisable unless one's physical condition is badly in need of building up, and even then only the lightest kind should be taken. It has too great a tendency to harden the muscles; a swimmer's should be soft and pliable.

Breathing exercises can be highly recommended; there is nothing better for the wind. A good system is to take it while walking in the open air. By inhaling for the space of six steps, and exhaling for six, the lungs are properly worked. In cold weather breathe through the nose.


The game of water polo is such a strenuous one that even the best of men often tackle it with misgivings. The new player should on no account attempt to take part in a scrub game until he has thoroughly mastered the rudiments. The man who goes in against an experienced tackler, ignorant of the means of protecting himself, receives punishment so severe as to give him a completely erroneous idea of the game.

If the candidate has followed the suggestions given above he will be physically able to stand the gruelling, but more is needed; he should be able to take care of himself. To teach him how, he must be taken in hand alone, and shown the various tackles and breaks.

This is best done on terra firma; in the water the man will be thinking of the ducking in sight and his mind will not be in receptive mood. It is also essential to make him understand a hold thoroughly before proceeding with another.

Once a man has the movements learned, he can be put in the water with a skilled player and allowed to practise on the latter, who should let him secure the holds without opposition at first, but gradually increase the resistance until he becomes proficient. If there is no one to coach and no good player to practise against, the new men should work on each other.

Water-polo holds are a good deal a matter of individuality; each man builds up a set of his own, but one tackle and one break will serve as a foundation for all.

To learn the tackle, give your coworker the ball and let him come toward you. When he's a couple of feet off, take a good, hard stroke, lift yourself as high out of the water as you can throw your arm around his neck, and pulling his head down until it is jammed hard against your chest, wind your legs around his body. Then you have him at your mercy, and you can proceed to take the ball away from him. This tackle should be learned by forwards and backs alike; all need it.

The best break known is the following: We will suppose that you carry the ball in the right hand. On approaching your opponent throw your left shoulder forward, presenting a three-quarter view. To tackle you effectively he must use his right arm, as you could easily repel a left-handed one in your position. As soon as his right arm goes up, place your left hand squarely under his armpit and let yourself sink, twisting around, face toward him, as you pass under, and as soon as you are on your back force his body over you. Then plant both feet on him and shove off. In most cases, if you succeed, you will find yourself between your opponent and his goal, where all you have to do is to touch the board for a score.

To use the legs at every possible chance should be a principle of the player. Once an opponent is caught in a good leg-hold he is rendered helpless. Incidentally, the wise player ceases struggling when he recognizes that he is caught beyond freeing. It is an excellent rule also to avoid being tackled uselessly; if a body encounter is liable to let you out best, or will help your side, go into it heart and soul, just as hard as you know how, but never make a senseless sacrifice.

Passing and catching are all important factors in water polo and should be practised constantly. In passing it is well to bear in mind that the object in view is to give the ball securely to one's team-mate. Pass high and carefully; a low throw may be intercepted and a hard one fumbled. Specially in close quarters high passing is essential.

To cover one's opponent when the other side has the ball and get away from him when one's own has it, should be the religion of every player. In covering him, always stay back of him, where you can watch him, and tackle him just in the nick of time if the ball is passed to him.

Many new men have an idea that one knows intuitively how to score, but it is not so. The various ways must be learned. One only does in a game what one has become used to in practise, for there is little time or chance to think in the excitement of a keen contest, and it is those things which have been ground into one by dint of repetition that stand by one. To get used to scoring, place yourself three or four yards from goal and then sink yourself, or let some one else put you under, and try to come up and hit the board with eyes closed; you will soon find what a difference practise makes. You must also learn how to hurdle by letting some one tread water between you and goal and score by placing your free hand on his shoulder and lifting yourself over.

A short course of the above, and you will be ready to line up.


On entering the tank for an important game, every player should forget his individuality and submit passively to the orders of the captain. There must be only one head for a team to succeed, and an order should be executed without hesitation and without questioning; right or wrong, the best results come through blind obedience. The man giving the orders often sees an opening that the other does not.

Let no personal difference affect your game; play to win, not to pay off an old score. It is the goals made, not the men disabled, that give one victory, and victory is what every player should seek.

To the forward, discrimination is a valuable asset. When caught in a tackle so far away from goal that getting free will not help you pass the ball at once, don't allow your opponent to punish you. But if you are nailed within easy reach of goal, fight as long as there is breath of life in you. Never mind how helpless the task may seem, a team-mate may come to the rescue at any moment, and then you'll score.

The forward should always play the ball in preference to the man and keep free as much as possible. And above all—play fast and hard.


1. The ball shall be the regulation white rubber association football not less than 7 nor more than 8 inches in diameter.

2. The goals shall be spaces 4 feet long and 12 inches wide marked "Goal" in large letters. One shall be placed at either end of the tank, 18 inches above the water-line equally distant from either side.

3. To score a goal the goal must be touched by the ball in the hand of an opposing player and the greatest number of goals shall count game.

4. The ball shall be kept on or as near the surface of the water as possible, and shall never intentionally be carried under water. No goal shall be allowed when scored by an under-water pass.

5. The contesting teams shall consist of six a side, with two reserve men who can be substituted at any time when the ball is not in play. A player withdrawn can not return to play. Only six prizes shall be given to the winning team.

6. Time of play shall be 16 minutes actual time, divided in two halves of 8 minutes each and 5 minutes rest between halves. Time occupied by disputes, free trials for goal, repairing suits, and lining up after a goal has been scored shall not be reckoned as time of play.

7. The captains shall be playing members of teams they represent and shall toss for choice of ends of tank. The ends shall be changed at half time.

8. The referee shall throw the ball in the center of the tank and the start for the ball be made only at the sound of the whistle.

9. A ball going out of the tank shall be returned to the place from which it was thrown and given to the opposing team.

10. A mark shall be made four feet from each goal on the side of the tank and an imaginary line between these marks shall be called the four-foot line. No man will be allowed within this line until the ball is within it. The goal-tenders, limited to two, of the defending side are alone exempt from this rule. When the ball is within the goal-line the goal-tenders shall not be allowed any artificial support other than the bottom of the tank.

11. No player is allowed to interfere with an opponent unless such an opponent is within four feet of the ball, except when the ball is within the goal section, when indiscriminate tackling will be allowed in the goal section, the goal section to be a space of four feet by eight feet within the goal-line and between two parallel lines drawn at right angles to the goal-line and distant two feet from either end of the goal.

12. Upon a goal being gained, the opposite teams shall go to their own end of the tank, and the ball shall be thrown by the referee into the center and play started as at beginning of game.

13. Each team shall have two judges, one at each goal-line, who, upon a goal being made, shall notify the referee and announce the same.

Only in case the judges disagree shall the referee have power to decide whether a goal be fairly made or not.

14. The referee shall decide all fouls, and if in his opinion a player commits a foul he shall caution the team for the first offense and give the opponents a free trial for goal at each succeeding foul.

A free trial for goal will be given by lining up three backs of the defending team within the 4-foot line and giving three forwards of the opposing team the ball on the 15-foot line, when they may try for a goal until a goal is scored or the ball goes outside the 15-foot line. Only three men from each side will be allowed within the 15-foot line, until the ball goes outside that line or a goal is scored.

FOULS.—It shall be foul to tackle an opponent if the ball is not within four feet of him or to hold him by any part of his costume. It shall be a foul to cross the 4-foot line ahead of the ball, unless forced over by an opponent, or to hang on to the sides of the tank except for the purpose of resting.

Unnecessary rough work may, within the discrimination of the referee, either be counted a foul or the referee may put the offender out of the tank until a goal is scored or the half ends.





To be suddenly seized with cramps is a thing liable to happen to most expert swimmers; it is caused by various reasons—staying too long in the water and getting chilled, going in after a heavy meal, stiffening the legs too much, and varicose veins. Preventive: Never remain in the water after feeling chilled; always swim around and exercise yourself; twenty minutes is long enough for any one to remain in the water; always turn over on the back when getting a cramp, and float, at the same time working toward the shore with the hands, and don't lose your presence of mind.

Don't attempt to rescue a person from drowning unless you are a good swimmer yourself; remember that a drowning person is generally insane for the time, and is liable to drag you to your death unless you are capable of swimming with a heavy load.


To the person who accidentally falls overboard, or who is compelled to leap into deep water, as was the case with many victims of the General Slocum, the first essential is to keep one's presence of mind. Do not feel alarmed if your head should sink below the surface once or twice—you are bound to come to the surface, and will be able to sustain yourself for a considerable time, even if you are not a swimmer, if you will but keep your hands under water. The reason so many people drown is because directly they come to the surface they raise their hands above their head and shout for help. This is fatal. The moment the hands are raised out of the water the body will sink below the surface.

Another thing to remember is to keep the mouth closed until the body attains the floating position; then try and breathe naturally through the mouth and help propel yourself with your hands. Should you be able to swim, try and take off your outer clothing, as the latter, when water-soaked, tends to drag the body down, besides retarding the movements of the drowning person.

To risk one's life in order to save a fellow being from drowning is one of the most heroic acts that one may be called upon to perform, yet how many of us have the presence of mind and courage to act in such an emergency? To rescue a person from drowning is no child's play, even for the best swimmers; it requires pluck, nerve and stamina. Of course, I allude to rescues which take place some distance from shore. Many a daring swimmer has been clutched and dragged down to death simply because he did not know the safest way to approach a drowning person.

Of the many different ways of saving life, the safest and best method is to swim as near the person as possible, then dive under and come up behind him; otherwise he is liable to grab you around the neck with a death clutch, from which it is extremely difficult to escape. When swimming up behind the person, grab his biceps and force him on his back; the more he struggles the more he helps himself to keep afloat.

To prevent being clutched by a drowning person the following rules should be carefully studied. Every action, however, must be prompt and decisive, otherwise this method will be of no avail.

1. If grasped by the wrists, turn both arms simultaneously against the drowning person, thumbs outward, and attempt to bring your right arms at right angles to your own body. This will dislocate the thumbs of the drowning person and he must let go his hold.

2. If clutched around the neck, immediately take a deep breath, lean well over your opponent, place the left hand in the small part of his back and draw your right arm in an upward direction until in line with his shoulder, and pass it at once over his arm. Then with the thumb and forefinger catch his nose and pinch the nostrils close, at the same time place the palm of your hand on his chin and push firmly outward. This will cause him to open his mouth for breathing purposes, and he, being under you, will swallow water. Choking ensues, and not only is the rescuer let go, but the other is left so helpless as to be completely under control.

3. If clutched around the body and arms, take a deep breath, lean well over your opponent and throw the right arm in an upward direction at right angles to the body, or draw it up between your body and that of your opponent. Then with the thumb and forefinger catch the nose and pinch the nostrils close, and at the same time place the palm of the hand on the chin and bring the right knee as high as possible up between the two bodies, placing it, if possible, against the lower part of your opponent's chest; then, by means of a strong and somewhat sudden push, stretch your arms and legs out straight, at the same time throwing the whole weight of the body backward. The sudden motion will press the air out of the other's lungs, as well as push him off, no matter how tightly he may be holding.

Should the drowning person act sensibly and not try to grab his rescuer, he can be brought in by placing his hands on his rescuer's shoulders and kicking out his legs behind him while the rescuer swims in toward shore. Another method is to pull the person on his back by holding him under the right arm-pit with your right hand and using the left hand and legs to swim with. Should the rescue be close to shore, swim behind the person and help by pushing him in toward shallow water. Should the drowning person have sunk for the third time watch when the air-bubbles rise to the surface. At once dive down perpendicular to the bottom when the air-bubbles show, seize the drowning person and bring him to the surface by pushing off from the bottom and using your legs to send you upward to the surface. Before trying to rescue any one get rid of as much clothing as possible, if time will permit.


After bringing a drowning person ashore your work is only half done; the main thing is to bring him back to life should he be unconscious. There are several methods for resuscitating the apparently drowned. The method adopted by the Royal Humane Society of England is, to my knowledge, the simplest of all. It is as follows:

Begin treatment in the open air as soon as you have brought the unfortunate ashore. Meanwhile send for medical assistance, blankets and dry clothing. Expose the patient's throat and chest to the wind, except in very severe weather. Remove all tight clothing from neck and chest. Take off suspenders.

The points to be aimed at are: First and immediately the restoration of breathing, and, secondly, after breathing is restored, the promotion of warmth and circulation. The efforts to restore breathing must be commenced immediately and energetically, and persevered in for one or two hours, or until a medical man has pronounced that life is extinct.

Efforts to promote warmth and circulation beyond removing the wet clothes and drying the skin must not be made until the first appearance of natural breathing, for if circulation of the blood be induced before breathing has recommenced the restoration of life will be endangered.


To clear the throat, place the patient on the floor or the ground with the face downward and one of the arms under the forehead, in which position all fluids will more readily escape by the mouth, and the tongue itself will fall forward, leaving the entrance into the windpipe free. Assist this operation by wiping and cleansing the mouth.

If satisfactory breathing begins, use the treatment described below to promote warmth. If there be only slight breathing, or no breathing, or if the breathing fail, then, to excite breathing, turn the patient well and instantly on the side, supporting the head, and excite the nostrils with snuff, hartshorn, and smelling-salts, or tickle the throat with a feather, etc., if they are at hand. Rub the chest and face warm, and dash cold water, or cold and hot water alternately, on them.

If there be no success, lose not a moment, but instantly, to imitate breathing, replace the patient on the face, raising and supporting the chest well on a folded coat or other article of dress. Turn the patient very gently on the side and a little beyond, and then briskly on the face, back again; repeating these measures cautiously, efficiently and perseveringly about fifteen times in the minute, or once every four or five seconds, occasionally varying the side. (By placing the patient on the chest, the weight of the body forces the air out; when turned on the side this pressure is removed, and air enters the chest.)

On each occasion that the body is replaced on the face make uniform but efficient pressure, with brisk movement, on the back between and below the shoulder-blades or bones on each side, removing the pressure immediately before turning the body on the side. During the whole of the operations let one person attend solely to the movements of the head, and of the arm placed under it.

The result is respiration, or natural breathing, and, if not too late, life.

While the above operations are being proceeded with, dry the hands and feet, and as soon as dry clothing or blankets can be procured, strip the body and cover, or gradually reclothe it, but take care not to interfere with the efforts to restore breathing.


Rule 1. To Adjust the Patient's Position.—Place the patient on his back on a flat surface, inclined a little from the feet upward; raise and support the head and shoulders on a small, firm cushion or folded article of dress, placed under the shoulder-blades. Remove all tight clothing from about the neck and chest.

Rule 2. To Maintain a Free Entrance of Air Into the Windpipe.—Cleanse the mouth and nostrils; open the mouth; draw forward the patient's tongue, and keep it forward; an elastic band over the tongue and under the chin will answer this purpose. (Fig. 1.)

Rule 3. To Imitate the Movements of Breathing.—First, Induce inspiration. Place yourself at the head of the patient, grasp his arms (at the elbow-joints), raise them upward by the sides of his head, stretch them steadily but gently upward, for two seconds. By this means fresh air is drawn into the lungs by raising the ribs. (Fig. 2.)

Secondly, Induce Expiration.—Immediately turn down the patient's arms, and press the elbows firmly but gently downward against the sides of the chest, for two seconds. By this means foul air is expelled from the lungs by depressing the ribs. (Fig. 3.)

Thirdly, Continue These Movements.—Repeat these measures alternately, deliberately, and perseveringly fifteen times a minute, until a spontaneous effort to respire be perceived. By these means an exchange of air is produced in the lungs similar to that effected by natural respiration.

When a spontaneous effort to respire is perceived, cease to imitate the movements of breathing, and proceed to induce circulation and warmth, as described on following page.

Rule 4. To Excite Respiration.—During the employment of the above method, excite the nostrils with snuff or smelling-salts, or tickle the throat with a feather. Rub the chest and face briskly, and dash cold and hot water alternately on them. Friction of the limbs and body with dry flannel or cloths should be had recourse to. When there is proof of returning respiration, the individual may be placed in a warm bath, the movements of the arms above described being continued until respiration is fully restored. Raise the body in twenty seconds to a sitting position, dash cold water against the chest and face, and pass ammonia under the nose. Should a galvanic apparatus be at hand, apply the sponges to the region of the diaphragm and the heart.

To Induce Circulation and Warmth.—Wrap the patient in dry blankets, and rub the limbs upward energetically. Promote the warmth of the body with hot flannels, bottles or bladders of hot water; heated bricks to the pit of the stomach, the arm-pits, and to the soles of the feet.

On the restoration of life, when the power of swallowing has returned, a teaspoonful of warm water, small quantities of wine, warm brandy and water, or coffee should be given. The patient should be kept in bed, and a disposition to sleep encouraged. During reaction, large mustard-plasters to the chest and below the shoulders will greatly relieve the distrest breathing.

NOTE.—In all cases of prolonged immersion in cold water, when the breathing continues, a warm bath should be employed to restore the temperature.


Previous Part     1  2
Home - Random Browse