A lot of swimmers, particularly beginners, find it rather difficult to breathe properly while swimming. This is, of course, quite normal and it takes a good amount of practice to master the art of proper breathing to be able to stay underwater longer. Learning the proper techniques in breathing will also enable you to swim faster and improve your strokes, especially if you are training for competition.
Here are a few tips that can help you improve your breathing techniques while swimming.
- Relax and warm-up. Before you get into the water, try to relax your facial muscles and your jaw. This will greatly affect your capacity to hold and release the air while underwater. You would notice that when your facial muscles are too tense, you tend to hold your breath while submerged which causes you to both inhale and exhale when you resurface. This is a very wrong breathing exchange that immediately gets you exhausted.
- Take in small breaths and bob your head down into the water then slowly release the air through your mouth or nose. Focus and concentrate on your breathing. Make sure that you have let all the air out when you resurface. Repeat this process for a few minutes before swimming.
- Once you get into the water, slowly release some air. This will prevent the water from getting into your nose. Keep your mouth closed all the time while underwater.
- Take note that your breathing must be in sync with your strokes. This will increase your lung capacity to take in as much air as your lungs can hold. This technique can also improve your speed and agility. Generally, a swimmer may inhale after two to three strokes. If you are a beginner, and you are still having a hard time mastering this technique, you can inhale after one and a half strokes until you get used to it.
- Keep in mind that there are different breathing techniques, depending on the stroke or style of swimming you are using. For the front crawl or freestyle swimming, inhale as you turn your head sideways while you do your strokes. For breaststroke, your head must be completely out of the water when you take in some air. It is also advisable to breathe every other stroke so as to minimize the effort of pulling your head way up for each inhalation. Slow down as you do so to take advantage of more time for inhalation. Just make sure that you have completely exhaled all the air remaining in your lungs before gulping more. Do not inhale too much air as this affects your breathing concentration.
- A good way to release the air without too much effort is by fully extending your arms as you do your strokes. This is most effective especially during freestyle, butterfly and breaststrokes. You will notice that stretching your arms as far as you can go will not only help you in breathing but it will help improve your strokes and speed later on.
Staying fit and healthy will greatly benefit you and would make your breathing exercises much easier and more successful. If you are a beginner, it is best to concentrate on your breathing but try not to think about going out of breath. Relax and stay focused. With the right training and attitude, you will be able to refine your techniques in no time.