Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rescue / Lifesaving Strokes - Life Saving, Not Survival Strokes



What is A Rescue Stroke?

Basically any stroke that you do where you keep you head above water would be considered a stroke that you can do a Rescue with.

There are three strokes used in Rescue or Life Saving:
  • Side Stroke
  • Life Saving Backstroke
  • Breaststroke
But they are modified versions.

I don't intend to spend time describing how to use them in the context of a rescue because life saving is a specialist subject and I would therefore prefer to leave it to a specialist website. But an excellent example of how each are used can be found here.

I do want to point out the differences between these as swimming strokes and rescue strokes.

Basically it comes down to the use of you arms. That is when you rescuing someone one or both of your arms are used differently.

Side Stroke Rescue

If you've looked link above, you will see that in the case of the side stroke one arm is clearly used in the supporting the injured swimmer. Regardless of whether your are towing them at a distance with something or supporting them directly with your arm around their chest. (Trust me I speak from experience, if you get the choice you will want to do the tow at a distance using a towel or kickboard or anything else you can get your hands on. Towing around the chest is mighty hard work.)

But regardless of the technique you use you are only swimming with three limbs, which changes the whole dynamics of the stroke. You can do it if you know how to do side stroke properly but it is definitely not a simple side stroke it is something different.

Life Saving Backstroke

Again from above link you will see that lifesaving backstroke involves using both your hands to support the injured swimmer. This is not survival backstroke which is slow steady and as long as you are not swimming away form a shipwreck, a very relaxing stroke.

Survival backstroke is about maintaining heat by keeping your legs and arms together as long as possible. It is about traveling as far as you can with absolute minimum effort, conserving as much energy as possible.

There is nothing about life saving backstroke that is conserving energy and you don't have time to conserve heat. Your legs are going like anything. It is hard and exhausting. The two strokes are diffidently different.

Breaststroke

You may try and suggest that lifesaving breaststroke is the same as survival breaststroke and in a sense you would be right. Swimming action is exactly the same but the stroke is not.

Your arms move in a shorter stroke and faster in order to support the swimmer that you are rescuing and get them to safety as soon as possible. As with survival backstroke, survival breaststroke is about slow and steady conservation of energy, rescue or life saving breaststroke has nothing to do with conserving energy.

Survival Strokes & Rescue / Lifesaving Strokes - Not The Same

What is my point in this?

My point is not just to educate on the variations in the strokes but also a desperate attempt to try and do my part to convince people that a rescue stroke is not a swimming stroke and you should not allow yourself to be confused by people who use the term interchangeably. A rescue stroke and a survival stroke are not the same and they should not be referred to as being so.

Enjoy
   Richard

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