View Full Version : newbie needs help

July 24th, 2006, 09:30 PM
I have started swimming for fitness and knew when I started a couple of weeks ago the only thing I was doing right was not drowning. I bought a book "The Essential Swimmer" by Steve Tarpinian and after 2 days of reading began to notice definite improvements as I began to work on correct stroke technique. (moved through water w/ much less effort and less strokes per lap) I am having trouble with the whole breathing thing though. Should I be concentrating on getting the breathing technique correct before I put too much effort and time into perfecting other aspects of the freestyle swim. I find myself swimming 25M without taking a breath because I have so much trouble with the whole breathing thing. Please advise. Thx!

July 24th, 2006, 09:39 PM
Originally posted by swim4fitness2
.........I find myself swimming 25M without taking a breath because I have so much trouble with the whole breathing thing. Please advise. Thx!

At least you sound like your cardio-vascular sytems are in great shape.

Make sure to work on stroke technique and make this your main focus at the start. You want to practice the right stroke at the start as correcting bad mechanics can sometimes be difficult.

July 25th, 2006, 07:48 AM
Since you want to start training for fitness, it is important that you learn to breath and swim. Without that, swimming will be stressful and much of what you will need to learn comes from being relaxed in the water.

Have you ever tried swimming while only pulling with one arm? This is a common drill. It helps to focus on the technique of that one arm. In this case it might help you to figure out how to breath more comfortably.

Try a few 25s, keeping one arm extendend and pulling with the other arm. Breath each time you pull to the side of the pulling arm.

I like to start turning my head and body just as my hand catches and I like to try to turn my head back toward the water before my hand catches up to my face (I think of it like a race).

When you breath, make sure you stay relaxed. The goal is not to lift your whole head out of the water. The goal is to get a breath with little energy expenditure and holding good form. A good freestyler can have one goggle in the water and one out during a breath.

July 25th, 2006, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by letsrace
A good freestyler can have one goggle in the water and one out during a breath.

I noticed that some of the worlds greatest swimmers do exactly that shortly after I started swimming and I have always made it a point to maintain that form when I swim. Excellent advice.

July 25th, 2006, 02:37 PM
As a recent new swimmer (Sept '05), I also found breathing to be the biggest hurdle.

You might want to try working on the rhythm of breathing while holding a kickboard (for comfort) and kicking. Extend your arms and the kickboard out in front of you. Use a count or some time of mantra while exhaling with your face down and inhaling when you turn to the side. A simple 1-2, 1-2 or out-in, out-in will do.

I feel working on stroke mechanics is somewhat difficult when you are learning to breathe properly, but at the same time they kind of go hand-in-hand. The mechanics will help you get in better position to breathe more effortlessly, while the relaxation that comes along with breathing comfortably allows you to focus on improving your technique. It is difficult to say which comes first, but if you can't breathe you certainly can't continue to swim without stopping. If you can swim 25M without breathing then you should probably focus more attention on getting your breathing down, because if your technique was not respectable you would be exhausted after 10 or so meters and you would have to stop.

Ask an instructor or coach for some breathing drills. Getting into the rhythm will definitely help you relax, however, which I think is one of the biggest keys to swimming.

Good luck!

July 25th, 2006, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by bbpolhill
You might want to try working on the rhythm of breathing while holding a kickboard (for comfort) and kicking.

A kickboard is a great idea. bbpolhill is definitely right! After getting down the rhythm while just kicking, you should add in the arms - but keep the kickboard! I taught swim lessons for four years at a YMCA and found this to be one of the best learning techniques. Take a stroke, and at the point where your hand would enter the water grab the kickboard. It's easier if you hold the kickboard sideways (the width helps you grab on). Work on your breathing like this, and when you have it down, move on to something a little less buoyant. You can go from a kickboard to a noodle to a pull buoy, for example. By the time you get to the pull buoy you should have no problems - all the right muscles and rhythm will be there!


SwimOutlet.com (http://www.swimoutlet.com)

July 25th, 2006, 09:08 PM
Thanks to all who replied for the helpful advice. I swam today and did the one arm drill for a few laps and can see where this could be a great drill for getting into a rythym for timing my breaths. Will keep you updated on the progress.

July 26th, 2006, 12:24 PM
as well as the one arm drill....you may try using a pull buoy between your legs....practice breathing every 3 but also try to get up to every 5....this will help you learn to control the breath...

Dave Chambers
July 31st, 2006, 08:39 AM
A lot of people see great swimmers like Phelps swim and think hey that looks easy, I might read a book and learn how to do this.

Nothing substitutes a coach! Remember that text books work in a perfect world and body. An experienced coach will help you adapt the correct training principles to your body.

Trust me the money you spend will be worth it. You wil progress quicker and reduce the risk of injuries.


July 31st, 2006, 04:43 PM
Dave makes a good point. If you can find someone to watch you swim, they may make observations that simplify the learning process.

July 31st, 2006, 09:21 PM
I have made some progress as I was able to complete a lap several times today while breathing. I had been holding my breath and refusing to breath. On a side note, one of our neighbors swam on teams when she was younger (HS & college)and has offered to get in the pool w/ me Sat. AM to give some pointers and also use the camcorder. My wife absolutely refused to tape me. She said she would feel to strange recording me swimming.
Will keep everyone updated.