To swim with head erect towards heaven
“This way seems difficult, though it imitates the Posture they say is natural to Man, to look upwards; and if we knew how to make use of it, there would not be so many drowned as there daily are; for that happens, because, instead of looking upwards, they look downwards with their heads towards the bottom, and embrace the water, as it were with their arms, insomuch that one might say they did all they could on purpose to drown themselves.
If they would place themselves on their backs, and keep their bodies extended, they might easily escape, nay could not sink themselves in that posture if they would; this we find attested by experience; and I never yet met with any diver that could possibly descend in that posture, that is, with the head erect towards Heaven; and if they had a mind to it, they found themselves first obliged to elevate their arms upright to contract their thorax or breast; and when all this is done, find it very difficult to sink, though very slowly, and always come to the bottom with their feet first.”
‘The Art of Swimming. Illustrated by proper figures. With advice for bathing. By Monsìeur Thevenot. Done out of French. To which is prefixed a prefatory discourse concerning artificial swimming, or keeping ones self above water by several small portable engines, in cases of danger’