View Full Version : New adult learner-start sinking after first breadth

October 3rd, 2014, 11:57 PM
Hi all,

I just started learning how to swim recently as an adult. I couldn't move while kicking and after searching online I found this forum and it really helped :applaud: thank you so much. I can now move, very slowly. I followed the youtube series here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvJta8sJFH4. But now I face next issue:

In the last step, when I come up for air and come down I start sinking and stop moving, etc. Everything falls apart.

Any suggestion?


October 4th, 2014, 08:05 PM
In beginning swimmers the main cause of these is the forward head position (looking forward) creating a situation where the swimmer is lifting their head up to breathe. This causes the hips to sink and creates a cycle where you have to lift the head higher to breathe, the hips sink more, etc ,etc.

A drill that I have my swimmers do is a body position drill where they put on fins, perform a light kick to move slowly and focus on pointing their noses at the bottom of the pool and push their hips up so their butt breaks the surface of the water.. They do this with their arms at their sides and when they need to breathe, they turn their heads to the side and look at the lane line. The focus here is not speed, it's getting the body in alignment and to learn to turn, not lift the head to breathe.

Here are a couple drills that will help also:


October 4th, 2014, 08:06 PM
Are you holding your breath when your head is under the surface? If so, you need to practice gently blowing bubbles out your nose and/or mouth so when you do come up to breath, you can get a good inhalation of air and not have to spend time with your head out of the water (and out of alignment with your body) to exhale first then inhale.

This is a good video that shows the three phases of breathing and shows the desired head position when taking a breath.

Another key focus on beginning swimmers for me, especially adults, is to relax, relax, relax. Remember the water is your friend, it wants to help you and if you tighten up, you use more energy and you don't slide thru the water nearly as well.

Let me know if you find these tips helpful.

Paul W

October 5th, 2014, 08:52 PM
Thanks a lot Paul, yeah I lifted up my head instead of turning to the side. I think that's the reason why. And yes, I do hold my breath + bubble out (not so slowly) under the water so I have to exhale first before exhale.

Let me try the wall practice first. Will report back.

October 6th, 2014, 08:15 AM
yes, practice at the wall. The guy in the video isn't lifting his head that much, but newbies tend to lift a lot and stop kicking, so they lose propulsion while making their body sink. I have done this when learning to swim and I overcame it by learning to breath bilaterally.

October 15th, 2014, 05:28 PM
OK so report back: so I try the side breathing and it hasn't work yet. What I notice in the process is that in order for me to move by kicking or staying on top of the water I have to keep my head really low = look a bit behind not just look down and when I turn to the side my head's still not out of the water yet.

I look around and in this vid

I notice that people slightly turn their body and just a bit more when they get air. For my case when I kick I have to focus all my mind on the kicking and I think that make the rest of my body rigid, no stroke no turn, don't know how to react.

And I think that also make me unable to get back on top of the water once I start sinking

I want to get a snorkel and learn kick and stroke first so I can spend more time in the water and relax my body before getback to breathing. Is it possible to learn this way?

October 15th, 2014, 07:21 PM
If the kicking is that much of a distraction, why not work on breathing while using a pull buoy?

I am also working on always breathing both sides, but after over 30 years of not doing it. It has taken a long time but I am almost to where it is second nature. One thing that really helped me was to develop a constant 6-beat kick (3 per stroke).

October 16th, 2014, 09:27 AM
Once you get a bit comfortable on the side of the pool, take a kickboard and practice breathing and kicking with it. Try holding the end of the board with one hand, and let your other hand down by your side. Kick just enough to keep you going and practice blowing out underwater, then turning your head to breathe on the side. You'll breathe on the side your other hand is down. On the way back, switch your hands and head turn to keep yourself balanced. Like folks said above, just turn your head, concentrate on not lifting it up. Try this for a few sessions until it's not a big deal, then start incorporating a stroke. As an interim step before ditchign the board altoghether, you could do the same drill with the board, but add an arm stroke using the arm not on the board. Take a stroke, then turn your head to breathe off that side. Kick a bit, then as you need to breathe, repeat. Eventually ditch the board and you'll be swimming!

October 16th, 2014, 02:03 PM
I want to get a snorkel and learn kick and stroke first so I can spend more time in the water and relax my body before getback to breathing. Is it possible to learn this way?I just got a snorkel hoping I could spend more time focusing on kick/stroke and less time thinking about my breathing. Turns out I've spent way more time figuring out how to breathe with a snorkel in my mouth. Don't get me wrong; I think a snorkel will be a great tool... once it quits trying to drown me. Just don't expect the snorkel to be a quick fix. If you're going to plunk down some cash for a swim toy, I'd recommend long or medium blade fins. These will give you some extra propulsion making breathing to the side a bit easier. The problem with fins is that they can become a highly addictive crutch. So, no cheating on the kick sets by throwing the fins on.

October 17th, 2014, 09:05 AM
Thanks for posting the videos. They've helped me to figure out what I'm doing wrong. I never could just breath out through my nose, so I do both nose and mouth, and wonder if that's wrong.