EACH year thousands of people lose their lives by drowning. Some swimming experts claim that 95 percent of these drownings could be avoided by learning simple techniques of floating. One newer method is called “drownproofing.” It involves teaching both swimmers and non-swimmers how to float in all types of water conditions.
Dr. Reagh Wetmore, a swimming director at Boston University, states: “Treading water, floating on your back, and doing the crawl stroke can lead to panic and exhaustion.” The “drownproofing” method, instead, calls for the person to float in an upright position, with the head down just inches beneath the water level, and with arms and legs in a dangling position. Then, as air is needed periodically, the person can lift his head and propel the body upward by a modified version of the breast stroke. This method is said to take advantage of the body’s natural buoyancy, conserving energy and controlling breathing.