For an adult person to be unable to swim points to something like criminal negligence; every man, woman and child should learn. A person who can not swim may not only become a danger to himself, but to some one, and perhaps to several, of his fellow beings. Children as early as the age of four may acquire the art; none are too young, none too old. Doctors recommend swimming as the best all-around exercise. It is especially beneficial to nervous people. Swimming reduces corpulency, improves the figure, expands the lungs, improves the circulation of the blood, builds up general health, increases vitality, gives self-confidence in case of danger, and exercises all the muscles in the body at one time. As an aid to development of the muscular system, it excels other sports. Every muscle is brought into play.
In other important ways it is a useful, and even a necessary accomplishment; no one knows when he may be called upon for a practical test of its merits. The Slocum steamboat catastrophe in the East River, New York, several years ago, gave a melancholy example of what better knowledge of swimming might have done to save the lives of passengers. That awful tragedy, which plunged an entire city into mourning, was too appalling to have its details revived here, but, regardless of the fact that the life-preservers on board were found unfit for use, the loss of life would have been made much smaller had the unfortunate passengers known how to keep their heads above water until help arrived. Millions of people are transported yearly by river craft, and just for lack of knowledge of how to swim a repetition of the Slocum disaster might occur any summer.