How Learning to Swim Changed Over the Course of American History

Now that the dog days of July have arrived, you’ve probably given some thought to taking a dip. But first, you might consider some beach tips from a pair of books—both from the historical medical collection here at the New York Academy of Medicine, published in 1818 and 1918—once used to teach swimming. Of course, some advice has aged better than others.

Source: How Learning to Swim Changed Over the Course of American History

It’s an interesting read, to see how complete the instruction books were for the time period.  I do think swimming is one of the life skills you need to learn.  It was highlighted for our local community recently because there were a few drownings in the past year by tourists.  The local lakes and parks haven’t had lifeguards for as long as I’ve been a kid, but then drowning is silent (contrary to TV/movie/media).

Lots of people I’ve met have used swimming training for triathlon to address & conquer their fear of the water.  To my knowledge, they are largely successful.  One found out they loved open water swimming – they just waited for everyone to leave before starting off.  This person was finding that swimming in a pool was triggering her anxiety now, but she still doesn’t quite understand what the trigger is.  Lots I know do not like swimming through weeds, which can happen in open water.  Meh – it’s unnerving for a moment when you touch one but it’s not likely to get tangled & cause problems.

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