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Every boy should learn to swim. I've known lots of fellows pick it up the first time they try, others take longer. I did myself-I couldn't at first get the hang of it. In my heart of hearts I think I really feared the water a bit, but one day, getting out of my depth, I found myself swimming quite easily. 1 had made too much of an effort and a stiff struggle of it before-but I found the way was to take it slowly and calmly. I got to like the water, and swimming became easy.

All you have to do is at first to try to swim like a dog, as if crawling along in the water. Don't try all at once to swim with the breast stroke. When paddling along like a dog, get a friend to support you at first with his hand under your tummy.


Tommy The Tenderfoot №1 - Tommy At The Lake. Tommy sees all of them happy but him. They are plunging and diving-but Tommy can't swim.

There is jolly good fun in bathing-hut ever so much more if the bathing includes a swim. What a fool the fellow looks who has to paddle about in shallow water and can't join his pals in their trips to sea or down the river.

But there's something more than fun in it.

If you go boating or sailing it is not fair on the other chaps to do so if you can't swim. If the boat capsizes and all are swimmers, it is rather a lark. But if there is a non-swimmer there, the others have to risk their lives to keep him afloat.

Then, too, there may come the awful time when you see someone drowning. If you are a swimmer, in you go, get hold of him the right way, and bring him ashore. And you have saved a fellow creature's life! But if you can't swim? Then you have a horrible time. You know you ought to do something better than merely call for help, while your fellow creature is fighting and struggling for his life and gradually becoming weaker before your eyes. I won't describe it-it is a horrible nightmare, and will be all the rest of your life when you think that it was partly your fault that the poor fellow was drowned. Why your fault? Because if you had been a true Scout you would have learnt swimming and would have been able to save him.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

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