Open Water & Pool Coaching Videos

Front Crawl ~ Breathing

Get the breathing right and you will be well on your way to becoming a competent swimmer. The rhythm of your breathing determines the rhythm of your stroke. 

In open water you need to be able to breathe bilaterally. If you are in the sea, the waves will determine which side you breathe on. It's good to be able to breathe away from the waves, or you could end up with a mouth full of water each time. It also assists with sighting and making you aware of what is around you. Are there any obstacles, other water users, debris? It also helps to keep you in a straight line. In the pool, it's handy to keep you straight and if in a race, you can keep an eye on your competitors.

If you struggle with breathing, then you need to go back to basics. This can be done in a pool or in open water. Stand in your depth and begin by taking a breath and  placing your head into the water. Then exhale through your nose. If you find that too difficult try exhaling through your mouth. You  should start exhaling as soon as your face is in the water. Never hold your breath while swimming. Trickle out the breath slowly under water. This enables you to be ready to take the next breath. 

Breathing while swimming should be as natural as breathing on land and while you may be thinking that is a ridiculous notion, it actually isn't. On land you will breathe without thinking about it. You never hold your breath while walking, running, playing tennis etc etc. You never wait until you are gasping for air before you breathe again, you rhythmically top up your air as you go about your daily business. It is the same while swimming. It is a natural instinct to hold onto your breath when your face is in the water, but you must fight this instinct and trickle out your breath under the water.

Creating a rhythm in your head can certainly help. The one I use was given to me by a coach several years ago. This helped me to bilaterally breathe. "Pepsi Cola, Coca Cola, Seven Up!" Each type of Cola represented one arm stroke, and Seven Up was where I turned to the side to take in a  breath. Yours could be as simple as "1 stroke, 2 stroke, 3 breathe". If you say it over and over in your head, you will get into a rhythm. 

There will be times when you are feeling a bit panicky and this will almost certainly affect your breathing. This could be the start of an event, particularly if it's a mass start, or just a general loss of focus. The first thing that is affected is your breathing. You may find you are holding your breath. That is a good time to go over your own mantra as explained in previous paragraph and calm your self down. It will help you get into a rhythm and your stroke will become much smoother.

Here at Solent Swim School, we always tell our swimmers to slow the stroke down. Slow, slow, slow means you can concentrate on your technique. We work with our swimmers to help them develop a very smooth, drag free, breathing motion. Once you have mastered the art of breathing, you will go on to swim faster and further. Your stroke becomes relaxed, because you are relaxed. 

If you are ready to take the plunge, then come and experience for yourself the physical and mental benefits of swimming. We are ready to help you....Get in touch!


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