View Full Version : Any tips on breathing more easily during freestyle

November 9th, 2002, 09:26 AM
I am a from Singapore, and happen to come by this useful forum. hope you guys can help solve my problems.

Here is my problem:
I have been swimming for the past few 3 years now. I would expect my stamina to be getting better, but that dosent seem to be the case.

I can swim freestyle continuosly for the first 150m without encountering much of any problems, but at 200m, i find breathing a chore even thou i am already breathin every 2 strokes.

I think it may have something to do with my breathing time. Every time i turn to breath, it dosent seem to be long enough as my arms would pull very soon inorder to keep my body balanced, resulting in me having insufficient air.

This problems could only be solved when I am using hand paddles which lenghten my gliding time. Is there any way that i can lenghten this gliding time without the use of hand paddles or forcing myself to extend my arms awkwardly for as long as i can? Thanx :confused:

Phil Arcuni
November 9th, 2002, 10:53 AM
This subject comes up often, and the response is always the same:

The most common breathing problem is not exhaling completely while your face is down in the water. The result is that when you turn your head to breath, you need to exhale first before inhaling, and that does take more time. More time than you have. The usual result is that the air in your lungs is never fully replaced, and you get tired. Practice blowing out *all* of your air before it is time to breath in. You should *never* be holding your breath.

A good drill is to 'bob' - go up and down in one place, blowing out in the water and in when your head comes up. It is one of the first skills taught to beginning swimmers. It is not a natural thing to do, since the tendency is to keep all the air you can when you are under water.

Here is a suggestion to our web master: I think we should have a FAQ section on this forum.

November 10th, 2002, 02:52 PM
Interesting this came up. I've been back in the water about a couple yrs now, and I just a few months ago realized I have the same "not exhaling" problem.

I swam as a kid, but don't know whether I was doing this back then or not. I am now totally in the habit of holding my breath completely until my head turns, then exhaling & inhaling. Makes for long breathing cycles, and pretty horrid distance experiences!!

After working on it, I can now exhale if focused on it - but as soon as I start thinking about something else (high elbows, hip roll, what I had for lunch) I go back to the breath hold.

Any suggestions / drill recommendations? Is this just instinctive for everyone else?


jean sterling
November 10th, 2002, 04:54 PM
When kids learn to swim, they are told to blow bubbles with their face in the water. If you think that you are not exhaling under water, try concentrating on blowing bubbles in the water before you roll to the side to inhale. You might have to forego thinking about other things (like bent elbow, body position, etc.) until exhaling (blowing bubbles) while your face is in the water becomes automatic.

Another breathing problem that is quite common is the tendency to lift the head, which causes poor body position. To breathe, you want to roll to the side, not lift the head.

Proper breathing is probably the most difficult and most important part of swimming freestyle.

November 11th, 2002, 01:47 PM
Or you could just give up on freestyle and swim backstroke, where you can exhale and inhale anytime you please.

November 12th, 2002, 11:13 PM
Here's a breathing tip that might help. Try to swim in time with your natural breathing rhythm. Most of us do the opposite. We set a stroke tempo and accomodate our breathing to that tempo. I'm suggesting you set a breathing tempo which is comfortable (For one thing, it will immediately relax you.) Then time your stroke to that tempo. See if it works for you