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Surface Diving

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Some drowning victims must be recovered from below the surface of the water. Swimming downward for any distance is hard because your body is lighter than water and will float upward.  If you try to swim straight down, you will waste energy and breath that are needed for victim recovery.

Take only one or two deep breaths before you dive. Breathing too deeply for too long can lead to hyperventilation.  Your body uses the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood to trigger the desire to breathe.  After hyperventilation, it is possible for you to run out of oxygen and black out underwater, before carbon dioxide levels rise enough to warn that you need more air.

You probably have noticed a slight pain in your ears when you swim near the bottom of a deep pool. The increased pressure of the water against your eardrums causes the discomfort. The feeling may have disappeared if you swallowed or wiggled your jaw. If air is free to travel from your lungs to your inner ear, then the pressure will be equal on both sides of your eardrum and you won't feel any difference.  Some people equalize automatically; others, especially if suffering from a cold, cannot equalize at all.

If you are trying to recover a victim in deep water, you must return to the surface if the pain in your ears becomes intense, even if the person is in sight.  If you ignore the pain, your eardrum might rupture. That could cause you to lose yoursense of direction and possibly to black out. Then there would be two people to rescue instead of one.


Feet First Surface Dive

Use the feet first surface dive whenever you can't clearly see what is beneath you. At the surface, begin in a vertical position with your arms extended outward. Push down with your arms while using a scissors kick to push upward. Try to lift your body as far out of the water as possible. The weight of your body out of the water will then drive you downward. Straighten your legs and push up with your hands as you start toward the bottom. Do not lift your arms too quickly; they should push against the water rather than break the surface




Head First Surface Dive


You can use the headfirst surface dive when the water is deep and clear. The dive is easier to do if you begin while moving forward with a breaststroke. As you finish an arm pull, your hands will be to the side and your legs straight back. Without stopping, scoop downward with your arms as you bend at the waist and lift your legs into the air. Then extend your arms in front of your head. The object is to point your entire body toward the bottom with your legs above the surface. Again, the weight of your legs above the water drives you downward. The headfirst surface dive also is known as a ''pike'' if you keep your legs straight the entire time. It is a ''tuck'' if you bring your legs toward your body while you bend downward and then straighten them into the air. Keep your arms extended to protect your head as you dive.