Breathing Techniques for Swimming

FitnessVigil Staff Nov 4, 2018
The breathing techniques mentioned here would help in making your swimming faster and thereby improving the performance.
It is important to learn how to breathe in a rhythm to make swimming easier. Proper breathing is helpful in increasing the speed and stamina. To breathe properly while swimming needs practice. However, once you master the technique, the performance is enhanced.
The following techniques would enable the swimmer to move swiftly through the water without breaking the rhythm and losing out on the 'time' factor which is of utmost importance in competitive swimming.

One-arm Drill

In this technique of breathing, one has to breathe away from the stroking arm. While performing this drill one if the right one is kept straight without motion, the stroke should be performed with only the left hand. The chin should be stuck to right shoulder. One should keep looking over the right shoulder while the left arm is being recovered.
In this position, the face would downwards, facing the pool bottom. After the recovery phase, the arm enters the water. The body should be turned and rolled on to the left side while the arm enters the water.
The face rotates out of the water during this phase and the air should be inhaled. The left arm reaches the back of the hip after completing the stroke. The face goes back under water and air should be exhaled at this stage.

Sidekick Drill

In this drill, one has to lie on the left side with the arm extended above the head. The right arm should rest on the side. The head should be turned in such a manner that one looks past the left arm-pit towards the pool bottom. The body should be maintained in such a position that the belly faces the side wall of the swimming pool and not the bottom.
The sidekicks are performed in order to prevent the hips from dropping down. When the face enters the water one should start exhaling the air and turn the head towards right when in need of air. The drill should be performed while lying on the left side till the end of the pool is reached. The same drill should be repeated with the right side.

Breathing for Different Swimming Styles

For Front Crawl

In the front crawl, the best way to breathe is to turn the head sideways. Breathing is done while one of the hands is recovering from the stroke. Inhalation is done with the nose as well as the mouth. The air should be exhaled while facing downwards.

For Butterfly

The time available for breathing in the butterfly style of swimming is less as compared to the other techniques. In this style of swimming, when the hands move downwards, below the chest, the body is automatically lifted upwards. One should breathe while the head is being lifted and exhale air when the body lowers.
The following techniques would help in breathing effectively without losing the rhythm.
  • The mouth should be closed while the face is in water. One can exhale with the help of nose while in water.
  • As the face is inserted in the water, a small amount of air should be released so as to avoid water from entering the nose.
  • When the face turns sideways after being lifted out of water, one should exhale as much as possible with the help of nose and the mouth. This is because the air in lungs is not exhaled completely while the face is immersed in water.
  • Air should be exhaled bit by bit while in water as opposed to continuous exhalation of air.
Practicing these techniques/drills would help in increasing the stamina and bringing a rhythm to the process of breathing.