v. wither, become limp, lose freshness, droop, sag, bend, flop, slump, sink, drop, dip, lean over or down, hang down or low, bow, nod, stoop, slouch; weaken, lose strength or energy, languish, Dial, dwine, flag, fade, faint, melt; shrivel, shrink, dry up or out, loose moisture; dwindle, ebb, fade away or out, fall off, melt away, diminish, lessen, lower, decline, fall; fail, deteriorate, degenerate, waste away, atrophy; molder, decay, rot.
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Treading water can help you catch your breath and keep your head up without actually swimming. For treading, do the eggbeater kick, and use your hands to keep your balance by "sculling" - keep your forearms flat on the surface of the water, and imagine they're butter knives spreading on a piece of toast. Move one arm in a clockwise circle, and the other arm in a counterclockwise circle.