View Full Version : Breathing Freestyle

July 30th, 2009, 10:17 AM
Hi Everyone,

I have a serious breathing problem when swimming freestyle.
Either I hold my breath - which I know is a very bad habit for several reason or I try to blow it out - which is the way to swim I know.
The problem is, that whenever I breath out under water I either end up having some air left in the lungs, or run out of air while still doing strokes and eventually when I get to the stroke where I planned to come up for air I gasp for air and have water going down my throat.
Because of these I don't have time for breathing in properly.
In the same time water goes up in my nose if I blow out all the air from my lungs uinder water- which I read the way to go (to blow all the water while under) in order to only breath in when breaking the surface for air.
I often end up with lots of air in my stomach which makes me belch...

In addition I have a low endurance. I can do only 1 or 2 laps at a time...
I have a personal coach but it's not so much he can do from outside of the pool.
I noticed that I cannot swim smooth, effortlessly - which is one of my goals in the long run, beside being able to swim long distances in all strokes.
I always end up swimming relatively fast, when I should be going slow and focusing on my technic.

Should I slow WAY down somehow?
Any advice/drill is welcommed.

July 31st, 2009, 10:17 AM
My suggestion is to thry bobbing, first in shallow water, then in deep water. You need to relax and find your aquatic breathing pattern.
I also question why you have a personal coach who is not helping.

July 31st, 2009, 10:47 AM
My advice would be to use a pull buoy (or even two) exclusively until you can start to feel more relaxed. This would eliminate trying to incorporate your kick into your stroke; allowing you to focus just on your breathing and arm motion (fewer things to think about). Don't worry about speed or kicking until you start to feel a lot more comfortable.

July 31st, 2009, 04:35 PM
Thanks for the tips guys. I'll definatelly give this bobbing and treading a try.

I have a pull buoy and I find it very usefull to work with. I'm so much more relaxed, when not using my legs at all. Like today. It also helps to rotate the body. I can focus on the hands and breathing much more.

This coach of mine is a 6 time World Champion Penthatloner (spell?).
Was national for Hungary for more than 10 years,was supposed to go to the Olympics (Barcelona, Atlanta) as the best in Hungary. But he wasn't choosen because he did not train in Budapest...:confused:. (it is a thing in Hungary. If you don't go to the mighty Budapest you have no real chance to succeed in anything.)
So in other words I'm confident I'm in good hands.

But still I'm just a recreational swimmer so it's not like we do drills and train like crazy 7 times a week. I swim with the coach once a week and go for 2 more times a week by myself.

Before I went to this coach I was getting better. Could swim for longer times, with more backstrokes and frontcrawl and not only breast stroke- which I can do easily and relaxed.

From the beginnig we started to do drills only (catch up, zipper, fingertip drag, etc) with and without fins.
I thought that my swimming improved but when I tried to implement all that I learned I realized that my technic has fallen apart. And on the top of that my endurance dropped huge. I could barely swim 1 lap. Almost like Eric the eel from the Olympics in 2000.
I feel like if I could breath properly the main problem would be fixed and I would became a much better swimmer...

July 31st, 2009, 04:50 PM
My advice would be to use a pull buoy (or even two) exclusively until you can start to feel more relaxed.

Good advice. That's what I did when I just started out.
If you run out of breath and can only do 1-2 laps it's not because you don't have endurance. It's because you are swimming a wrong technique.
When I started with freestyle I was already swimming breaststroke for a year or two.
I was also a good cyclist and had a high endurance but still could only manage 1 lap and then I was totally out of breath.
Swimming with a pull buoy helped a lot.

You need to find the right body position. Don't worry. You will eventually be able to swim 4 laps, then 10 and all of a sudden 100.

I never ever swallow water doing freestyle. Oddly I choke on water when I drink but never while swimming.:p

July 31st, 2009, 10:39 PM
Hi Everyone,

I have a serious breathing problem when swimming freestyle.
Either I hold my breath - which I know is a very bad habit for several reason or I try to blow it out - which is the way to swim I know.

Actually "blowing it out" is NOT the way. The way is to know your timing, and to exhale steadily until you turn your head to inhale so that the last bit of exhalation prevents the inhalation from taking in any water.

A very good piece of advice was given to you: bobbing up and down to discover your rhythm. And swimming so slowly that you're practically bobbing up and down. Try this and one day (God knows how soon or late) it will CLICK.:cheerleader:

August 2nd, 2009, 01:52 PM
Thanks 3strokes for you too,

Looks like this bobbing and treading is the answer to my problem.

Could someone explain it to me how to do these drills exactly? -I checked it on the net,but to make sure I got it right.
And how many times should I do it at practice? The more the better?

Thanks again!

August 9th, 2009, 04:37 PM
This bobbing is certainly not as easy as it looked.
It took me some time until I was able to do let the air out in a more continuous and relaxed fashion and in the same time. I will need to do it from time to time I guess.

Somebody could explain to me how treading is different from bobbing?
Below there is an explaination which I don't fully understand.
Should I "stand" in the water horizontaly, or verticaly. Should I hold my breath the whole time while under water? How and why does kicking and hand stroke comes into play? Does this still have to do anything with breathing issues?

Thanks for the help!

August 9th, 2009, 05:00 PM
I had this same problem when I started to swim about 8 months ago.

You have to have a steadily exhale when you are doing your stroke so you aren't gasping for air when you go to breathe. What I do now and I don't know if its the correct way to go about breathing in freestyle; I steadily breathe out until its time to breathe and if I have any air in my lungs left I exhale at a faster rate. It gets all the air out of my lungs and creates a little pocket so I can breathe to the side easier.

Seems to work for me:chug:

August 9th, 2009, 07:43 PM
Perhaps you should rotate more on your side in your freestyle, particularly when you are breathing. It gives you a bit of extra time to get a better breath.

August 9th, 2009, 11:29 PM
Any comments on this exhalation picture (http://pixdaus.com/pics/1207627078IeILnmr.jpg)? I suspect it's not for real? Does the nose look right to you? :rolleyes: