Swimming and running both require attention to form and mechanics in order to become faster and avoid injury, which is why video analysis is so important for athletes who want to improve. But swimming also requires the additional detail of breathing the correct way. Better breathing while swimming is important for the obvious reason of getting oxygen into your body and it also affects your swim mechanics.
I think I can say with 100% accuracy, that we’re all fans of breathing 🙂 So let’s get on with some tips that will help while swimming.
While it may seem obvious that you should exhale while swimming, you may be holding your breath while your face is in the water and not even realize it. Remember to exhale through your nose whenever your face is in the water. If you have an underwater video of yourself swimming, you should be seeing bubbles coming from your nose.
Just because you’re exhaling through your nose doesn’t mean you have to keep your mouth closed tight. Keep your mouth relaxed. If you do keep it open, bring the back of your tongue up to the roof of your mouth to prevent swallowing water.
Generally, this is not something people forget to do 🙂 But timing is important here. When your face breaks the water, you should start inhaling through your mouth. If you’re not exhaling while your face is in the water, then you will be when it comes out of the water, which delays when you actually start to inhale.
You should be breathing to the side with your head half in the water and half out; you do not need to lift it completely out of the water. While swimming, the water creates a pocket around your mouth when your head is to the side so that you’re able to breath.
Keeping your face and body relaxed will help with better form and better breathing.
Breathing in a pattern helps you find a rhythm in our swimming. If you’re breathing every two strokes, you’ll always be breathing on the same side, which will lead to imbalances in your neck and shoulder area. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its place, but consider switching to breathing every three strokes so that you’re breathing on both sides.
The benefit to this is that you get accustomed to breathing on either side, so when it comes to race day, you can accommodate to the conditions.