Learning to swim without access to a pool or body of water was a concept explored back in 1923. An article from 1900 in Everybody’s Magazine, titled “Swimming on Dry Land” by Lewis Stevens, addressed this unconventional approach:
“Surprisingly, learning to swim has been suggested as achievable on dry land, contrary to traditional belief. Many respected experts have found that studying the various movements of swimming while on dry land has resulted in greater proficiency in the art compared to those who initially struggled in the water.
One of the primary advantages of this method is that it provides equal opportunities for all children, regardless of their level of timidity or boldness, to learn swimming. In the past, many children experienced overwhelming fear when they found themselves in the water, hindering their ability to grasp the techniques. However, by practicing the exercises on dry land in a calm and comprehensive manner, children master each aspect of the art. Consequently, when they finally enter the water, they possess significantly more confidence in supporting and propelling their bodies.
Another benefit of learning to swim on dry land is the considerable time and effort saved. The inadequacy of swimming lessons was due to the inconvenience of accessing swimming baths. Few schools had their own baths, requiring trips to public baths for lessons. These visits consumed entire mornings, resulting in infrequent lessons that didn’t reach their full potential. Now, the school hall or gymnasium serves as a substitute for the swimming bath, enabling more convenient lessons two or three times a week.”