This sketch of the lifeguard is designed as an extension of the composition of [Study for “Undertow” IV]. As in the painting, he moves strongly to the left, but here his head is bent directly downward. The two drawings [when placed together] form a composition close to the painted version.
—Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, Standish D. Lawder, and Charles W. Talbot, Jr., Drawings from the Clark Art Institute, 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964), 1:144, no. 346.