If you will realize that your body is buoyant, not a dead weight in the

water, and that swimming should come as naturally to you as to the wild

creatures, it may help you to gain the confidence so essential in

learning to swim. If you are not afraid of the water you will not

struggle while in it, and the air in your lungs will keep you afloat

while you learn to make the movements that will carry you along. You

will not
sink if you are quite calm and move only your hands _under_

water with a slight paddling movement. Keep in mind that every inch

above water but adds so much to the weight to sink you lower. To throw

up your arms is the surest way of going straight to the bottom. Do not

be afraid to allow the water to come up and partially cover your chin.

All sorts of contrivances have been invented to keep a person afloat

while learning to swim, but they all tend to take from, rather than to

give confidence, for it is natural to depend entirely upon them and to

feel helpless when they are taken away. According to my own experience

the best method is to have a friend place a hand under your chin while

her feet are touching bottom and to walk with you while you learn to

make the swimming movements. This will keep your head above water and

give you a sense of security, and you will then strike out confidently.

The support rendered is so slight you learn to manage your own weight in

the water almost immediately, while you have the feeling that some one

upholds you, and the friendly hand may be withdrawn at intervals to

allow you to try entirely alone.

You see that after all it is the _feeling_ of being supported more than

the actual support that counts, and if you can convince yourself that

you need no support you won't need it. It is best to start by swimming

_toward_ land instead of away from it. To know that you are not going

beyond your depth but are gaining the shore is a great help in

conquering fear.