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Handley's Famous

"Questions and Answers"

Cureton (1932) said: "Outstanding among all teachers has been L. deB. Handley, for may years associated with the New York Women's Swimming Association as amateur coach and instructor. In 1918, Handley published his book, Swimming and Watermanship, which still is one of the best. It was one of the first books written in this country which carefully described the crawl stroke. Handley has been outstanding as an advocate of crawl swimming. Although he has written many articles and books, the best insight into his methods and point of view is contained in fifty-eight pages of mimeographed material called "Questions and Answers", extracted from the Women's Swimming Association News over the period, 1922-1929."

Examples of Questions answered

Here are some examples of questions answered by L. deB. Handley in the Women's Swimming Association News (February, 1923) (To the modern reader these questions may seem somewhat quaint, if not self-apparent. But it should be remembered that, at the time, very few were proficient at crawl swimming , (most people, prefered to swim breaststroke, trudgen, or sidestroke) and that Handley was pioneering an entirely new technique. Ask yourself how you would have answered these same questions, with the wisdom of hindsight and today's knowledge!)

Q: If the arm movements of the crawl are alternate, how does one obtain continuous application of arm power? It seems to me that there will be a momentary check when the arms reach full extension simultaneously, one forward, the other back.
A: Continuous propulsion is obtained by so timing the movements that each arm will apply power (catch) while the other still retains pressure on the water at the end of its drive. In other words, the right arm should start its drive before the left comes to the surface in recovery, and vice versa.

Q: I am told I breathe on the wrong side. Will it be easier for me to change the breathing or the leg drive?
A: It is hard to say which will be easier, but there is little doubt that you will profit more in the long run by changing the breathing, for almost invariably the action of the legs indicates natural inclination concerning roll of the body.

Q: How soon after the entry should one start to bend the arm in the propelling drive of the crawl?
A: After about one-fourth of the driving movement (from full reach to thigh) has been made.

Q: What is the best way to acquire the six-beat crawl after one has become accustomed to the four-beat?
A: Make the leg movements faster and narrower, occasionally counting one-two-three during the drive of the top arm and four-five-six during the recovery of the same arm. Time the action by counting as each leg starts its downward movement.

Q: Is it advisable to finish the arm drive vigorously in swimming the crawl?
A: One should keep pressure on the water to the end of the drive, but any jerk at the finish causes unnecessary waste of energy, for very little benefit is drawn from the power applied as the arm completes its pull.

Some Examples of What Readers thought of the WSA News

(from Vol. III, May, 1923)

Just a few words in appreciation of your monthly news periodical, the W.S.A. News. I have been reading this very interesting publication practically since its inauguration and watched it grow from a mere club circular to the valuable magazine it is at present. I think it is one of the very best athletic periodicals published. It always contains good live swimming information and news. I wish to congratulate you, and your staff, on the success you have attained with the News.
William Bachrach,
Coach of Swimming at the Illinois A.C.
Chicago, Illinois
(William Bachrach was coach of Johnny Weissmuller, who was voted the greatest swimmer of the first half of this century.)

I have seen copies of the WSA News and found in them some very interesting articles, notably one on the swimming of Weissmuller and another on the six-beat crawl. I would like to receive the magazine regularly. Will you please let me know if I may subscribe.
Agnes Brownlee,
Ottawa, Canada

If not too much trouble would appreciate your mailing me September number of the WSA News, which did not reach me. I find the periodical particularly interesting. As an instructor I like to read the question column and as a coach of competitive swimming now twenty years in the game, I enjoy reading the reports of racing results at home and abroad. Apparently the W.S.A. News is the only publication of its kind which deals in real facts and gives real information, based on real knowledge. It appeals to me especially because I am interested in anything that tends to promote swimming, raise standards, and educate the general public to the value of this branch of sport.
Fred. A. Cady,
Coach at Los Angeles A.C.

I write to inquire if outsiders may subscribe to the WSA News. Recent numbers have been handed me by a friend and they are so full of valuable information and interesting news that am most anxious to receive the periodical regularly. I am a journalist and a swimmer, so doubly interested in your publication.
Richard Norman,
London, England.

Most sincere thanks for placing me on the mailing list of the WSA News. I shall read it from cover to cover. Have found articles and news in past numbers most enjoyable, valuable and interesting.
Matt Mann,
Detroit A.C.

Frank Rivas, coach at the Olympic Club, and I, were very much interested in recent issues of the WSA News, containing articles on the training of swimmers for competition, the crawl stroke, the making of records, and other subjects. I would like to get the W.S.A. News regularly, if possible. Can it be arranged? Many of the articles published, as well as the column of questions and answers, afford very valuable information and give any follower of swimming a great deal to think over.
John A. Jackson,
Honorary President, National Swimming Instructors Association,
San Francisco, California.

I want to say for the WSA News that it is one of the finest little periodicals published. The thing that most attracted me when I first saw it was the column of "Swimming Questions." This feature certainly does a lot toward informing the reader; it makes the magazine complete. I may add that articles and competitive reports are something to look forward to, for they keep one in touch with interesting developments and important events. I wish the WSA News great and continued success.
H. T. Kosinski,
Coach of Swimming.
Cicero, Illinois.

I am writing to thank you for so kindly forwarding that fine little publication, the WSA News. It has proved invaluable for me, for it contains news and information which otherwise would never reach Australia. After reading and extracting the most interesting items I always send the News to Frank Beaurepaire, of Melbourne, the Australian champion, and later he mails it to South Australia. I have many enquiries regarding the News and know a great number of our swimmers would be delighted to become subscribers. Will you please let me know whether it can be obtained by anyone and the yearly charge.
Dudley Helmrich,
Hon.Coach and Secretary, New South Wales ASA
Sydney, Australia.

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