View Full Version : Learning to swim without a nose plug

November 11th, 2004, 12:42 PM
I'm in my 40s, started swimming a month ago after being out of the pool for 20 years. I grew up in a swimming pool (well not LITERALLY but you know what I mean) and have always used a rubber nose clip.

I endured teasing and being called 'Rubber Nose' but all I know is it kept me from sputering and getting water up my nose.

At this point, I know I have to learn to swim without one to make my breathing really count. Just being able to breathe through my mouth isn't enough. I'm swimming longer and longer distances now, not stopping between laps to rest every lap, and getting enough air is getting more critical. Especially if I am doing freestyle.

Problem is, I have never had whatever reflex you're supposed to have to keep the water out. I even have trouble in the shower sometimes.

Anyone have any advice for me? :confused:

November 11th, 2004, 12:47 PM
Hum. I used to teach swim lessons and we always taught the kids to hum. That keeps the water out of your nose, I don't know why it works but it does. If you have problems remembering to "hum silently" hum out loud. Humming a song can also help you remember to hum, Twinkle Twinkle is a great one.


November 11th, 2004, 02:20 PM
When your face is in the water, you should be exhaling through your nose. You don't need to be exhaling very much.

Water can't flow in if air is flowing out!

While I think it is preferable to breathe through both the mouth and nose, it's not necessary. I had to start using a nose clip years ago because the chlorinated water aggravated my allergies, which caused my sinuses to be "stuffed up" all the time. I routinely swim a 90-minute workout with the nose clip and don't have a problem.

November 11th, 2004, 02:54 PM
I don't really think there is a reflex to keep water out of your nose. You just have to get used to having some get in there on occasion. Yes, you can keep it out most of the time, but there's no way to keep it out all the time.

Gareth Eckley
November 12th, 2004, 09:08 AM
I can't remember ever having any water "go up my nose". Some of the swimmers that I coach do have this problem and have asked for my advice.

I do advise them to keep slight but constant positive pressure of air through their nostrils whenever their head is under the water.

Mostly this problem occurs during a flip turn. It never has for me and it may be because I do not do "tumble turns" but "flip turns". The head position, I think, is different for both.

In a flip turn, I put my chin on my chest BEFORE my 180 flip over. I think this keeps the nostrils tucked away from the water as I turn. When I see most people doing a "tumble turn" their head is not tucked as tightly and the nostrils may be directly in the path of the water as they turn.

This is just a theory of mine. Does anyone have a similar experience ?:)

November 12th, 2004, 11:44 AM
While it may actually be that my biggest respiratory need while swimming is "in with the good air," the way it almost always feels to me while swimming is that "out with the bad air" is even more crucial. As such, I'm also always exhaling.

November 12th, 2004, 12:58 PM
About the only time I get much water up my nose is on backstroke streamlines. Obviously blowing out helps, but if you want a long streamline you can't blow out all your air right away. It definitely helps to force your upper lip against your nose.

November 15th, 2004, 11:45 AM
One of the top reasons water goes up your nose is you aren't filling fast enough. Another reason is that you should be either always inhaling or exhaling.

November 15th, 2004, 11:53 AM
Well, I tried to just put my head in the other day w/ out my rubber device and it took concentration. My sister who has been a Masters swimmer for over 30 years swam with a nose plug for several years, then decided that was it, she didn't want to use it anymore - for the same reasons - so we can get more air. She told me it took a while so to not be too hard on myself.

So I'll keep on it.

I just started implementing turns in my swimming; that'll be an added challenge, I know, although I like the idea of tucking the chin way in.