Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Breathing While Swimming

  1. #1

    Breathing While Swimming


    This will be a somewhat long post, but I'm a little confused.

    I am a relatively beginner swimmer. I have known how to swim since I was young, but never done it tons. I also run a summer camp, however, and it's been getting more and more difficult to secure aquatics staff. So, I've decided to train so that I can be certified with lifeguard and WSI.

    I've been having trouble getting the required distance of non-stop swim, however. I worked on my strokes and such, but I can't non-stop swim. I could do freestyle about 50m or so, and then I'm done. I take a thirty second break, and then I'm good for another 50m or so. I kept thinking it was a cardio issue, but I was complaining to my husband about it and he brought up a good point. "You're a competition Irish dancer. You can keep dancing without stopping for 15 minutes, and can have 1-2 hour practices no sweat. You have a resting HR of 45 bpm. This is not a cardiac endurance issue."

    Then...I paid attention to it. He's right. I'm not tired. My heart isn't even elevated. I'm just am feeling light-headed and like I need to come up for air. Either I'm not exhaling enough/taking too big of breaths, or I'm not inhaling enough. do I know which it is?

    I exhale throughout my entire stroke. Someone else in my lane suggested trying to not breath every cycle. I was side breathing every right-handed stroke, and upped to every third right-handed stroke. It seemed to help a little bit...but...I'm lost. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    St Louis, MO
    Blog Entries

    Re: Breathing While Swimming

    Without seeing you actually swim, it's tough to say exactly. About how many strokes do you take per length? If your stroke rate is really fast, it's possible that you are hyperventilating if you breath every stroke cycle.

    I would suggest just as a general note that you try to relax some when you are swimming. A lot of less experienced swimmers fight the water, when really you should be working with the water. Pause a bit at the top of your stroke so that you can make sure you get a good catch and strong pull.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

  3. #3
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Portsmouth, RI

    Re: Breathing While Swimming

    I think your husband is spot-on with regard to your stamina from your dancing. But as you clearly point out...dancing and swimming are like apples and oranges. Though we swimmers have developed the ability to swim efficiently for longer distances...we surely couldn't dance for two hours (although video of a group of swimmers, in Speedos, caps, and goggles, doing an Irish jig would surely be entertaining). Nevertheless, it will take you some time (i.e. practice) to perfect your stroke, and breathing, enough for it to be efficient. IMO, I think you should first determine which side you want to breathe on...which side is most comfortable for you (I wouldn't worry about bilateral...breathing on both sides...for now). And if you're not using goggles...IMO you should. Get a good pair and use them. For some reason being able to see clearly in the water seems to make breathing easier too. There are surely enough instruction videos on the internet (even here on the USMS sight) that give good instruction on I'm not going to reiterate them here. Find a good one, study it, and try to emulate it in the pool. Good luck.

    P.S. Is the swimming for the camp you run on a lake? If so, you'll likely have different/separate lifeguard qualifications than for a pool. If it's in a lake, just be advised that open water swimming takes on even more issues to overcome/master.


  4. #4
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Re: Breathing While Swimming

    Hey there

    If your fit from the dancing I reckon it is your breathing. You say you exhale throughout your entire stoke and that you are also light headed and like you need to come up for air.
    Maybe your exhaling too much to soon and your losing the air you need. "When" you take your breath you need to be fully exhaled so you can take a good breath.
    I swim a couple of Km most mornings and I still work on my breathing technique, I tend to gulp too much air. It does take a lot of thinking about to have a good technique to swim and breath properly. Yesterday I suggested to a young swimmer in the same lane that when she was breathing she was turning her head so far she was looking at the sky.

Similar Threads

  1. Breathing in Open Water Swimming
    By AAL in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: May 17th, 2012, 07:03 PM
  2. Swimming Meditators and Breathing
    By isobel in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: June 11th, 2009, 08:15 PM
  3. Breathing
    By lexington476 in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: February 25th, 2005, 01:25 AM
  4. Breathing while Swimming
    By LarsDahl in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: February 1st, 2004, 02:15 PM
  5. Breathing
    By Removed in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: May 9th, 2003, 12:47 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts