Cecil Healy : Tuppa
Cecil: Tuppa Tup-pala - Otherwise
Known as the Crawl Stroke.
The Sunday Times, Sydney, 12th January 1913,
and erudite analysis of the development of the Crawl technique
the contention that the stroke was "invented" by Western
members of the Cavill family in Australia circa 1900.
On 12th March 1913, Healy published another
important article on the "crawl" stroke
in The Referee.
In a slightly amended form, 20,000 copies of the article
were later released, free of charge, in the United Kingdom, under
the title The Crawl Stroke.
For an earlier
of the Trudgeon stroke, see:
1902 J. A. Jarvis : The
Extracts from The Art of Swimming,
Hutchinson and Co., Paternoster Row, London, 1902.
This document was provided courtesy of Ray Moran
at the Australian Surfing
Museum and Manly SLSC.
AS THE CRAWL STROKE.
A STYLE OF
PECULIAR TO THE SOUTH SEAS.
NEW AND STARTLING VERSION OF ITS ORIGIN.
TIMES" BY CECIL HEALY.
who gives his opinions here for the "Sunday Times" readers, is
most qualified in the whole world to speak on the theory and
of the crawl stroke.
He is one of
the pioneers of it in Australia, and has been the means of
it and producing champions in Germany, belgium, France, Italy
and all over
the Continent, as well as in Australia, and for six years was
over the 100 yards in this continent.
It is with
that I give my opinions on the origin and development of the
In my opinion
there is not the slightest shadow of doubt that the Cavill
the first to demonstrate the potentialities of it as a means
speed in the water, and they were the first to introduce it
swimming and bring it under the notice and attention of the
But I cannot
be reconciled to the idea that they were the actual inventors
of the principle
of swimming in this fashion because there is ample evidence to
AMOUNGST THE SOUTH SEA ISLAND NATIVES
as far back as
memory of some of the oldest traders will take them, and in
has been used by them in more or less crude form for
of the the subject, the first thing to arrive at what really
is the difference
between the "crawl" and, say, the "trudgeon" stroke.
in the way of using the arms in the "trudgeon," or double
for that matter, any other stroke.
To my mind
merely applies to the leg movement, and the position in
which the body
is held, and that the method of using the arms does not
affect the fundamental
principle of any stroke at all.
In fact it
be said that no two swimmers in the world actually swim any
alike in every particular.
Yet they all
come under the one heading, and rightly so, because although
are different, the principle nether-the-less is the same in
basis, I maintain that the stroke which others and myself swim
short or long distances, although it differs in many respects
way Dick Cavill swam, is undoubtedly of the same "specie," and
classed other than the same category.
to-day, in its perfected form is perhaps as much unlike the
style of the
Cavill's in the early days as the modern motor is to the first
the well know and popular Rubiana native, who, as anyone who
to do with him will agree, is an intelligent and truthful
not given to romancing or handling the truth carelessly, has
me that all boys and girls, including his brothers and
sisters in the Solomon
Islands, swim in the same way that he does - that is to say,
retired trader, has also informed me that it is called there
and as long as he can remember the stroke was always used
who inhabit that part of the world.
In fact they
do not know any other way to swim except by means of the
I questioned Kahanamoku, the marvelous Hawaiian, as to how
he came to swim
in the way he does.
you?" I asked, and he seemed amused at the enquiry.
told me that he had never received tuition at anyone's
hands, and, moreover,
it had come quite natural to him.
scores of times in the water, and never detected him using
any other method.
I should not
at all been suprised if he is unable to kick scissor
fashion, or "Trudgeon-wise."
can be easily verified in other quarters, and as far as I
can see it practically
does away with the belief that the Cavills were the
"inventors" of the
method of propulsion known throughout the civilised world
to-day as the
THAN A "GLORIFIED DOG PADDLE."
It is to the
paddle" what baseball is to the old game of rounders.
that they were the "discoverers" in the same sense that
discovered how to "shoot the breakers" by watching a South
Sea native do
it, or that Captain Cook discovered Australia for the white
their new found things anymore than did the Cavills, in
swimming in the
way they did, hit upon something unknown to mankind
I do not
we can get away from the fact, much as it "hurts" that the
against the theory that the principle of the stroke was
concieved in the
brains of the Cavills is the fact that the first time most
put in the water their limbs prescribe their movements.
who are not properly instructed swim "doggy" all their lives.
knows, the idea of swimming in this way was denounced and
children were "spanked" by their parents if they were not able
to get out
of doing it.
the Cavills "discovered" and populatised the improved and
and gave a practical demonstration of its possibilities.
of its origin, growth, and development amounst whitemen
instance of "nothing succeeds like success."
brother, who was a pupil at Newinton College, swam the stroke
over in Balmain
at least 17 years ago, Alick tells me.
But he had not
the "hall mark" of a champion.
He was unknown
to the public.
He had no
in their eyes.
was allowed to go his way, unheeded, just the same way as
who came over here in sailing ships and dived and swam about
ocassionally were (sic)
their heads about what particular way they swam.
it was quite
a different matter, however, when the Cavills adopted anything
the general public were not familiar.
gleamed upon them.
They were the
heroes ot the natatorial world, and set the fashion in the way
and so when Dick utilised it in a championship and scored a
finish it straightaway brought the stroke into prominance.
It started a
"rush," like a new find on a goldfield.
And all and
commenced to pracicse it, and literally fell over themselves
in their eagerness
to adopt the principle.
were brought to bear on it, and just as two heads are
than one, so did improvements and developments make their
rapid succession, until we find its range and effectiveness as
stroke in salt water increased from a few yards to three
miles, as witness
Longworth's triumph last year, when he established a record
for this latter
In the late
(1890s) nearly all my spare time was spent in
He did not
to take a header then, and we had to teach him both that and
hot to "trudge."
I was a
of that great enthusiast and instructor, George Farmer.
him hailing me from the platform one morning, and saying
"Cec, try Cavill's
new splash stroke."
I asked him
it was like, and he thereupon illustrated it with his arms.
He had seen
used once, and then for a matter of a few yards only, but
was struck with
thought it a "funny" way of swimming, and more of a joke
else, used to splash my way back to the steps after taking a
the board, every now and then receiving some word of
Farmer to persevere.
As a matter
fact, it was months after the time I am speaking about that
I actually saw
Dick Cavill using it.
all my energy, thought, and perserverance to finding out
some way to overcome
the breathing difficulty; and one day hit on the knack.
breathe regularly I argued with myself that it was only a
and unnatural, despite the fact that the great Dick swam
with his head
submerged for several strokes before replenishing his lungs.
to this, Alick Wickham had made his appearance, and, lo and
was a finished "crawler."
action were much neater and graceful.
kept under water more, and he kicked slightly differently,
but still on
the same principle.
speak a word or two of English at this time, and was
He was atrue
son of nature, and
OF NATURE'S STROKES
handed down to
him from his forefathers, viz., the "crawl".
to the presumptive and other evidence bearing on thye
subject, I am forced
to the conclusion that the application for "Patent Rights,"
made out on
their behalf, cannot be entertained; a fact which I, as
and bred, deeply regret.
BY MR. BEN JORDAN, GIVE THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES
OF THE CRAWL
THE TOP ONE
THE RIGHT ARM AND LEFT LEG READY TO STRIKE.
SHOWS THE LEFT ARM AND THE RIGHT FOOT JUST COMING UP OUT OF
THE WATER AT
THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE STROKES.
Healy, Cecil: Tuppa
Otherwise Known as the Crawl Stroke.
The Sunday Times,
Sydney, 12th January 1913,
Geoff Cater (2007-2020) :
: Tuppa Tup-pala, 1913.