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2009-03-24 7:55 PM

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Champion
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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: Swim breathing question

I have a dumb question about breathing while swimming.  No matter how much faster I get I still seem to get winded while swimming any decent distance.  I was wondering if I was getting winded from not getting in enough oxygen or out enough Co2

On a run today I tried breathing out my nose and in via mouth as I would while swimming.  I just couldn't do it for any length of time.  I would assume if it worked for swimming it should work on an easy recovery run.  It just didn't feel like I was getting enough air. 

LOL, never actually covered something as simple as how to breathe while swimming in any lesson I have had.

So my dumb question is how do you breathe while swimming?

 



2009-03-24 7:56 PM
in reply to: #2038051

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Elite
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Gilbert, Az.
Subject: RE: Swim breathing question
dalessit - 2009-03-24 5:55 PM

I have a dumb question about breathing while swimming. No matter how much faster I get I still seem to get winded while swimming any decent distance. I was wondering if I was getting winded from not getting in enough oxygen or out enough Co2

On a run today I tried breathing out my nose and in via mouth as I would while swimming. I just couldn't do it for any length of time. I would assume if it worked for swimming it should work on an easy recovery run. It just didn't feel like I was getting enough air.

LOL, never actually covered something as simple as how to breathe while swimming in any lesson I have had.

So my dumb question is how do you breathe while swimming?

 

Breathe out through your mouth and nose. Do it in a steady rhythm. I am usually on a four count, so it's BREATHE, blow, blow, blow, BREATHE, etc.

I usually try to time it so I'm almost out of breath as I hit the 4th stroke.

John 

2009-03-24 8:02 PM
in reply to: #2038051

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Champion
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Subject: RE: Swim breathing question

The most common cause of getting winded when swimming is not breathing out enough  before turning your head for your next breath.

If you are still breathing out when you turn your head out of the water then you are going to get winded! If you are working hard you will be breathing hard but it shouldnt be like yuo are hyperventilating.

A rhythm is great.. I breathe in through my mouth and out through my nose and mouth... one way to learn what it feels like is to try slowing down and focusing on your breathing.

You can do a one off back to basics approach with swimming your hands out in front of you (with a kickboard if its easier) and swim with your head looking straight down... then just turn your head to breathe ONLY when you need air to see what it feels like.

Sounds ridiculous but Ive been helping a friend of mine build up his swimming and it seems to have worked really well to go back to the basic primary school drills as a once off so you can learn the feel of it... then once you have that 'feel' you can then do swim a few laps as normal with this new knowledge of feel...

 

2009-03-24 8:24 PM
in reply to: #2038051

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Regular
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Subject: RE: Swim breathing question

I am pretty new to swim and I experienced the same thing during month 2/3 of my swim learning curve.

Others may disagree, I have nothing more than my own personal experience to back this up... But here is what really helped me.

I went from breathing every third stroke to breathing every other stroke.  The best way I can describe it is... breathe right > stroke right > stroke left > breathe right.  If I am swimming over 400/500 yards this is my breathing method.  I do right side the entire way up the pool and then breathe left coming back the other way (that way you are always breathing in the same direction but changing the side)  In the open water I switch every ten strokes.

To repeat what was already said... be certain you have "dumped" your air before you go to take your breath.

GOOD LUCK!

2009-03-25 9:02 AM
in reply to: #2038051

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Champion
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Subject: RE: Swim breathing question
dalessit - 2009-03-24 8:55 PM

So my dumb question is how do you breathe while swimming?

 

 

I tend to breathe out with my face under water and breathe in with my face out of the water. (Sorry..I just couldn't resist)

I breathe out through my mouth mainly with some pressure out the nose to keep water out. I tend to breathe out with some force to make sure I exhale fully during the stroke(s). I usually breathe bilaterally on the third stroke:

Right arm out, breathe right while stroking with Left arm

Stroke right

Stroke left

Left arm out, breathe left while stroking with right arm

Heads turns just before arm comes out of water.

 

All that being said, I am not a super fast swimmer so take it for what it's worth.

2009-03-25 10:19 AM
in reply to: #2038051

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Subject: RE: Swim breathing question

I don't know if this is any help to anyone, but I've been a strong swimmer since I was a kid, and I've never actually taken any notice of how I breathe when I swim. When you've grown up as a swimmer, you just do it naturally.

In the pool the other day I tried to monitor how I was breathing, and I actually exhale all/most of my air just before turning to breathe. So I take a breath when I turn to breathe, then I don't exhale anything whilst I'm doing the next three strokes (or however many strokes I do before breathing next), and then exhale all of it just before turning to breathe again.

I wonder if that's the way all competitive swimmers do it, or if I am an anomoly. I never purposefully tried to do it the way, but it obviously worked, as I was a pretty good regional level swimmer.



2009-03-25 11:21 AM
in reply to: #2038051

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Champion
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Subject: RE: Swim breathing question

Like others said I'm guessing you are not fully exhaling before you take your next breath.

I struggled with this when I first started swimming and what helped..silly I know...was to hum songs while I exhaled as it makes a funny sound with the bubbles and reminded me to exhale.

I think this happened for me for fear of running out of breath as air is good while swimming.

2009-03-25 11:51 AM
in reply to: #2038051

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Subject: RE: Swim breathing question

I have been paying close attention to my breathing the last couple weeks. I find that I do tend to hold my breath after I take a breath for a couple strokes. However, if I think about it, and  I exhale as soon as my face goes back in the water and I even give a "growl" for lack of a better word, to make sure I get all the air out, I seem to be much less winded after a long set. I think the reason I tend to hold my breath in instead of exhaling right away may be because I was a sprinter, (100 free, and 100fly were my events). I can definately feel a difference when I exhale completely before taking another breath. Which for me is usually every third stroke alternating both sides breathing.

2009-03-25 11:53 AM
in reply to: #2038051

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Swim breathing question
If you aren't breathing correctly, you're going nowhere fast...Believe me, I know.

If you are only breathing out through your nose, you're cheating yourself. Compare the size of your mouth and throat compared to your nostrils. Big difference. You should breathe out from your mouth and nose.

You feel like you're not getting enough air because you body is building up CO2 but you're not able to expel it. Until you master this, all other parts of swimming don't matter very much.

2009-03-25 12:16 PM
in reply to: #2039285

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Champion
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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Swim breathing question
Thanks all.  I worked on it in my workout today,  tougher than it sounds to change how you breathe but I am pretty sure fixing that will help a lot.
2009-03-25 12:59 PM
in reply to: #2039327

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Subject: RE: Swim breathing question
dalessit - 2009-03-24 10:16 PM

Thanks all.  I worked on it in my workout today,  tougher than it sounds to change how you breathe but I am pretty sure fixing that will help a lot.


It is the hardest thing I've ever done but once I got it dialed, everything else seemed pretty easy.


2009-04-02 9:46 AM
in reply to: #2038051

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Member
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Huntington Beach, CA
Subject: RE: Swim breathing question
Everyone's advice is correct. Even the best swimmers are always adjusting how they swim in order to swim faster and become more efficient and streamlined in the water.

Way back in 2008, Dara Torres was the talk of the swimming world. Could a 41-year-old mother make a comeback? Could she really make the Olympic team? Dara was physically fit, but making the US Olympic team and winning medals was a matter of tenths of seconds, so Dara left no stone unturned in her quest.

Dara was tested at the US Olympic Training Center. Dara's underwater velocity was measured and recorded 60 times per second and each component of her stroke - and breathing - were analyzed.

Even with a four-time Olympian with 9 medals (up until then), there were small flaws in her swimming technique. With SwiMetrics, it was found that Dara slightly reduced her speed when she breathed to the left versus when she breathed to the right.

So, even after a lifetime of success at the highest levels of the sport, Dara started breathing only to the right despite the fact that she had bilateral breathed all her life.

The Outcome: Dara did her personal bests at the age of 41, made the Olympic team and won three medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics to become one the world's most heralded athletes of 2008.

The quest for improvement continues even for the best. Good luck.
2009-04-02 10:01 AM
in reply to: #2057042

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Master
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Subject: RE: Swim breathing question
headcoach@10Kswim.co - 2009-04-02 8:46 AM
Everyone's advice is correct.


Thanks for posting here. I'm definitely going to use your service this fall as I always leave here for SoCal for a month or so when the snow starts flying.
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General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Swim breathing question Rss Feed