Learning Swimming Strokes: The Methods I Have Taught

Swimming is an art … a necessary life skill to have. Learning swimming strokes is fun and gets better with practice.

As a lifeguard and swimming instructor, I have taught all the basic strokes in addition to advanced ones.

Find a style you’re comfortable with or interchange them during your swimming routine.

Swimming

A Little History Lesson

References have been made to swimming for as long as mankind can remember. Books have been written, illustrations have been found from ancient times.

Old-fashioned swim aids, such as animals’ bladder and cork for floating, were also discovered.

Competitions have also been popular for many centuries. Indoor pools were built to hold these events and for swimming in general.

Then came the Olympics in 1896! Only males were included at that time, but in most recent years, women have become unstoppable.

Swimming is known to involve all the muscles of the body. This makes it highly beneficial for circulation and therapeutic for different ailments.

Indoor-Swimming-Pool
Indoor Swimming Pool

Warming Up

Every sport has a warm-up exercise before beginning … swimming is no exception. This allows the muscles and joints to slowly warm up before the more rigorous swimming exercise.

These include arms, shoulders, and legs, which can be done for a few minutes. They should not be too strenuous to get you tired, nor cause pain.

Some basic ones are raising and lowering the arms, rotating the shoulders, swinging the legs, and bending in different directions.

Now it’s time to head out to sea.

Warmup-Exercise

Let’s Begin … The Famous Four

These are the most common …

The Crawl: This was sometimes referred to as freestyle. Each arm is raised straight in front of you along the side of your head simultaneously.

You can choose to rotate your head to one side as you raise that arm, then switch to the other side at your convenience. An alternative is to breathe after a few breaths. Whatever is comfortable for you.

The head can be kept down if you’re wearing goggles and a snorkel for breathing.

The legs are kept straight with the feet doing a one-two, one-two “doggy paddle” rhythm. This will take practice to master.

Breaststroke: This is a beginner’s delight. It is more relaxing and easier to perform. The arms and legs are moved in a similar pattern.

From a belly-down position, the head is lowered into the water. The palms are placed together in front of your face with fingers closed. Push them forward, rotate them until the back of the hands touch each other.

A good starting point is pushing off with your feet on the sand or from a jetty or diving board with your hands in position.

The head is raised from the water for breathing and lowered simultaneously. It is raised when the arms are alongside the body and lowered to meet the hands before they separate again.

If you’re wearing goggles and a snorkel, you can keep your head down.

Keep fingers together and push hands and arms apart, bringing them down to touch your upper legs. In the meantime, the legs are drawn up with knees touching. They are then pushed away sideways while straightening the legs.

This takes practice to keep the rhythm going.

Butterfly: The butterfly stroke takes a lot of energy and produces the most splash! To start, position yourself as with the breaststroke. Keep your fingers closed and hands together before rotating them to push out.

The arms will be pushed out sideways alongside your body, then exit the water. They are then thrown over to reenter the water and continue the procedure.

The knees are slightly bent with feet together, pointing downwards, and ankles relaxed. Kick downwards as the knees straighten before repositioning. This propels the body forward together with the hand movements.

Inhale while the head is up; exhale while in the water. Perfect this stroke by practicing.

Backstroke: It is similar to the crawl, except it is performed face up. Synchronization of arms and legs are important. Speed is dependent mainly on the arms propelling the body. The kicking motion of the feet helps to balance the body.

If you can master any one of these strokes with a lot of practice, you are well on your way to more advanced techniques, if you choose. You may want to train as a lifeguard, swimming instructor, or be certified in other rescue-related areas.

On the competitive side, you can train at different levels all the way to the Olympics!

Swimming-Olympics

Which Style is Yours?

It could be one or the other or all, but usually you will have a preferred style. Some people like a more easy-going and relaxed style. Others are more concerned about speed, getting to their destination in record time.

Some like to show off for their spectators, while others will mix it up for convenience. So, your preference will depend on what you want to achieve.

Comfort, safety, and purpose are influencers in choosing your style.

Swimming-Style

Let’s Recap

The art of swimming has been known since the beginning of time. Swimming has been mentioned in every era. Some parts of the world offer more opportunities, especially if it is close to the ocean.

A warm-up routine is a good place to start before heading out to sea. It is beneficial, allowing your body to be more prepared for the swimming activity.

We looked at four of the basic swimming techniques … the crawl, breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke.

You can practice all of them or choose the one(s) you’re more comfortable with.

Can you Swim? Which is your preferred style? Please let us know.

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I will be more than happy to address them.

This article has been prepared on behalf of Hector Campbell.

Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation: How I Save Lives

Drowning accounts for a large percentage of deaths each year all over the world. Many people living on the islands do not know how to swim so drowning incidents are high.

Fortunately, there are qualified lifeguards, swimming instructors, and others who are trained in lifesaving techniques. There are also swimmers untrained in this area who have risked their lives to save others.

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation has prevented many individuals from experiencing an untimely death.

The-Ocean

What is Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation?

This is a universally accepted technique used in cases of drowning, choking, and other instances where someone has stopped breathing. Usually, the person will still have a heartbeat.

The rescuer blows air into the victims’ lungs by sealing his mouth over theirs. This is referred to as insufflation, ventilations, or rescue breaths.

It is generally used in conjunction with heart compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to restart breathing.

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is a method I have used successfully for over 30 years as a lifesaver.

There are different variations to delivering “rescue breaths”…

  • Mouth-to-mouth and nose: This forms a better seal when working on infants up to 1 year old.
  • Mouth-to-nose: Sometimes there is vomit in the mouth or injuries preventing mouth-to-mouth. This is also an easier method when working on the person while still in the water.
  • Mouth-to-mask: This method is more common today than before. A mask serves as a barrier between the rescuer and victim. A one-way valve allows air from the rescuer to the victim but not substances from the victim’s mouth to the rescuer.

From a Lifeguard Stand: A Bird’s Eye View

I worked as a lifeguard for over 20 years. Whether or not I’m on the stand, I’m constantly scanning the entire beach looking for someone in need of help.

The elevated view from the stand has an advantage … a bird’s eye view. It’s easier to see movements right below me and far out at sea. I wear sunshades to protect my eyes and to prevent the sun from obscuring my vision.

Speed in getting to the victim makes a great difference. This includes running as well as swimming. Practice makes perfect. These skills are not automatic. Ongoing training, practice, and annual examination are critical to my rate of success.

Lifeguard-Stand
Lifeguard on Duty

Ready, Set, Go … No Time to Waste

As soon as I see someone showing signs of uncertainty or fatigue, I’m ready to move. I observe people’s behavior closely.

Children are not always monitored. Sometimes non swimmers venture out too far or lose their balance. At times, they are pushed in by idle friends. Drunks and others under the influence of some kind have turned up for a swim.

These are all vulnerable individuals I pay special attention to. My eyes are on everyone.

There is limited time in which to get to a victim before they swallow too much water and end up in greater danger. Water gets into the lungs, they stop breathing, and within minutes the heart stops. This leads to complications and may be fatal.

Drowning
This Person is Drowning

In the Nick of Time, Another Life is Saved!

A drowning person is terrified. They can’t keep afloat, they swallow water, and they’re not sure if they will be rescued in time. One of the most important thing I do is prevent them from grabbing on to me. They could easily bring me down if I allow that.

My task is to hold them in a way that the head is back with the mouth and nose above water. This way they have no control over me and can now relax. I get them to shore as quickly and safely as possible.

It is important to lay them on the sand and continue with the procedures. I ask them questions and reassure them, confirming that they are no longer in danger. When necessary, I request medical help for them.

I have never lost a life in all these years. For this I’m thankful. It is a blessing to be able to make such a difference in people’s lives.

Rescued
Rescued from Drowning

Eyesight to Hands On

Learning to swim is a beneficial and necessary skill for anyone to have. Lifesaving skills is an asset, which has been used to prevent many untimely deaths.

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, including its variations, is performed independently in drowning incidents. It is also a part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

My role as a lifeguard and swimming Instructor is to save lives by teaching and rescuing. Children of any age, non swimmers in particular, and people under the influence of substances are especially vulnerable. They should be monitored closely.

If you find yourself in a position where there is no professional lifesaver, you may not have time to think through your actions. Remember, it is critical to always be in control.

It is important to get to a victim immediately to prevent further complications or death. Hold the person being rescued in a way that prevents them from grabbing you and pulling you under.

Get them out safely, lay them down, ask questions, reassure them, and seek medical help where necessary.

Best of all, pursue some kind of training to equip yourself to help others. Also, become a stronger swimmer by taking time to practice regularly.

This article has been compiled on behalf of Hector Campbell. I hope it has benefited you in some way. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I will be more than happy to address them.

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