Going to the beach for fun & exercise was still such a new concept back in 1890 that Scribner’s magazine felt a need to publish illustrated swimming lessons for gentlemen who wanted to assist their ladies in enjoying this new fad of going for a dip in the ocean.
You may find it wise to observe the following: Never take a woman outside the life lines, and never promise her, either expressly or by implication, that you will not let her hair get wet.
Above all, impress it upon her that she must do exactly as you say, that a moment’s hesitation due to timidity or lack of confidence, or, worse than all, anything like panic or an attempt to break from you and escape by flight, is likely to precipitate a disaster which, unpleasant and humiliating when met alone, is trebly so in company. And now, having read your lecture on the duty of obedience, etc., lead on. …
There are several good ways of holding a woman in the surf, but the best and safest in every emergency is that shown in Fig. 6. You thus stand with your left and her right side toward the ocean, and as the wave rises before you, your companion should, at the word, spring from the sand while at the same moment you swing her around with all your force, and throw her backward into the advancing breaker (Fig. 7).
You will observe that your own feet are always firmly planted on the bottom, the left foot about twelve inches advanced, and your body and shoulders thrown forward, so as to obtain the best brace against the shock of the water.
The question of preserving your equilibrium is largely one of proper balancing, especially when, as is often the case, you are carried from your foothold and borne some yards toward the shore. Your companion’s weight and impetus, as well as the position in which she strikes the wave—that is, directly in front of you, all tend to make your anchorage more secure, or in case of losing it, your balance the easier to maintain.
The body of the wave will, of course, pass completely over you (as shown in Fig. 8). The instant it has so passed and your head emerges, clear your eyes, regain your position (you will practically drop into it again), and if carried shoreward, press out to the proper point so as to be ready for the next.
Should an exceptionally heavy sea roll in, endeavor to push forward to meet it as if you were alone, being very careful, however, not to get out of depth. Flight is almost always disastrous. If the sea strikes before you can reach it, there is nothing to do but bend your head and shoulders well forward, brace yourself as firmly as possible, and thus, presenting the least surface for the water to take hold of, and getting the full benefit of the “under-tow,” swing your companion (who has also bent low and thrown herself forward) under the broken wave (Fig. 9).
OK, everybody got all that? No accidents out there this weekend, OK?
—posted by Jim Duffy on Aug. 24, 2017
NOTE: Here is link to this issue of the magazine on Google Books. The article is entertaining throughout and covers more ground than just swimming lessons. Below here is the whole sequence of illustrations in a larger format in the event you and your significant other want to practice together. The order here if you are following in the original article goes Figure 6 (left) and Figure 7 (right), then Figure 8 (left) and Figure 10 (not described here, but it is supposed to be your finishing positions), and at the bottom is Figure 9, that emergency maneuver described in the last paragraph quoted here.