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Thread: Breathing

  1. #1
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    Breathing

    Hi,

    I started swimming a couple of months ago following a running injury. I can't run at the moment so I thought I would keep fit by swimming, but my problem is I don't know how to breathe... I can barely do 25 mt and then I have to stop and rest for 30-60 seconds. I have no problem running (I completed my first half marathon in March) so I can't understand why this is so difficult..

    I'm working with a teacher to improve my freestyle crawl technique (which was quite poor as I hadn't had much practice in the last 20 years or so...) and she says the breathing will come naturally, but after 2 months swimming twice a week I can't see any improvement... still cannot swim continously for more than 25 metres. I can do breast stroke or back stroke without stopping, it's just the freestyle what gets me completely out of breath.

    Is there anything I can do to improve my breathing technique?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Breathing

    Did you run your first half marathon after only 2 month of training? Swimming uses very different muscles. It will take time. Stick with it.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Breathing

    Quote Originally Posted by Alisha View Post
    Is there anything I can do to improve my breathing technique?
    Work on it frequently.

    I too was a runner before I was a swimmer. As land creatures, running comes much more naturally to humans than swimming does. There's a lot more 'technique' involved in swimming than there is in running.

    Dan

  4. #4
    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Breathing

    Freestyle Breathing is very difficult to master. Takes time, practice, feedback, drills and rhythm. You may want to video yourself to actually see what you are doing wrong. Get an experienced swimmer to feedback you

  5. #5
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    Re: Breathing

    Breathing is counter intuitive. You do NOT hold your breath. You breathe IN through your mouth when you rotate, pretty quickly, and then you meter your exhalation as necessary. Slowly when you are pacing, but you'll do it more quickly as you tire. Look straight down with your head. When you rotate to breathe, look kind of behind you, about 3/4 of the way, and look for your elbow as you recover. One goggle should be pretty close to staying in the water.

  6. #6
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    Re: Breathing

    Ditto what 67King said -

    And, another way to think about it, when your face is in the water, you should be exhaling. When your face is out of the water, you can inhale. To put a finer point on what 67King said, the exhale process is longer and can be slower, while the inhale process is fairly short. In other words, focus on exhaling and not much on inhaling.

    Contrary to what your teacher told you, breathing while swimming does not come naturally. Novice swimmers want to hold their breath until their head is out of the water which does not work. They also like to lift their head to breathe instead of rotating your head to the side (as 67King suggested).

    Talk with a learn-to-swim instructor about learning to breathe. if they are any good, they will have you holding onto a kickboard and learning how to time your breath with your arm motion (one arm at a time).

  7. #7
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    Re: Breathing

    I still have a lot of trouble with freestyle breathing. I found that some breathing exercises for singing have been helpful for freestyle breathing, you might look into those too. Breathing works on negative pressure - inhaling is the contraction of the diaphragm (among other factors), expanding the chest cavity and automatically filling the lungs with air. Exhalation is the reverse process. One exercise is to take as deep a breath as possible and then exhale all the way - absolutely until you can't do breath out any more (and then even more) and the inhale. It helps you get used to a) the feeling of being out of air and how much it actually takes to get there and b) what taking that deep breath feels like.

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