Freestyle Breathing Swimming Tips

Freestyle Breathing Swimming Tips

Freestyle is the first stroke that most children learn and is the fastest of the four competitive strokes.  Listed below are a number of tips on how to improve your breathing in freestyle. If you are after more comprehensive information on freestyle and breathing check out the Freestyle Stroke Model by 2004 & 2012 Head Olympic Coach, Leigh Nugent.

What is the correct head position when swimming freestyle?

The head should be in a neutral position with the neck relaxed and eyes looking straight down. When breathing the head rotates through the long axis of the spine, to the side, maintaining a low position, with one eye in the water and one eye out of the water.

Should I breathe on the first stroke?

After streamlining off the wall on a start or turn, begin your first freestyle stroke just before your head and body breaks the surface.  Swimmers who breathe on this first stroke will often slow themselves down at a time where they do not really need a breathe.  Take your first breathe on your second or third stroke rather than your first stroke.

When do I breathe? 

There are many different ways of explaining to someone when to breathe in freestyle.  Turn your head to breathe on your right hand side as the finger tips of your left hand enters the water following the recovery.  This provides an excellent reference point for for freestyle breathing for swimmers of all ages.  Your head should continue to turn to breathe as the front or opposite hand is extending forward.

How often should I breathe? 

Swimmers breathe every 2, 3 or 4 strokes in general.  Most coaches will teach young swimmers to breath every 4 strokes on their left side and every 4 strokes on their right side, so that they develop both sides of the body.  Work with your coach to develop the best breathing pattern for you.

Should I breathe in the last 5 metres? 

The answer is no, in both training and competition.  Whatever you do in training will happen in a race, so if you want to hold your breathe for the last 5 metres, particularly in a close race then practice it every time you finish a lap in training.

I am having trouble breathing after only a short distance of swimming.  What am I doing wrong? 

Many adult swimmers and young children have this problem.  It is primarily caused by not exhaling before you began to inhale, resulting in limited lung space for the new breath and then a shortness of breath.  Try exhaling all your air out underwater before turning to breathe.  Take one large breath and then exhale all your air out underwater before breathing again.  With young children practice yo-yo’s where a child hangs onto the edge and ducks underwater to exhale totally then comes up for one breathe and straight back under water.  Do this for a minute or two to get really good at it. 

Breathing correctly is very important in freestyle and we hope these tips help you to improve your breathing.

Introduction to Planning

Introduction to Planning

The video below is the first in the series of presentations focused on Planning for Swimming Performance as part of the Swim Coach Advantage membership program.

We know this program is going to provide HUGE benefits to swim coaches from all levels of swimming, and we can’t wait to share our insights and knowledge with you. If you like what you watch and would like to take your coaching to the next level, then join us at Swim Coach Advantage for on-going professional development.

Future sessions in this series include everything you need to know to plan for and write workout designs for:

  • Junior swimmers aged 9 to 12 years
  • Advanced junior swimmers aged 10-13 years
  • Age development swimmers aged 12-15 years
  • Age performance Swimmers aged 14-17 years
  • Senior performance swimmers aged 16 years and over

Discussion topics will include:

  • Seasonal planning for Juniors and Advanced Juniors
  • Seasonal planning for Age and Senior Performance
  • Training intensities, weekly planning and workout design for advanced juniors
  • Preparation Planning for Age and Senior Performance
  • Weekly Planning and Weekly Periodisation for Age and Senior Performance

This video is only available until Thursday 5 November 2020.

Lessons from the Philosophy of Water

Lessons from the Philosophy of Water

You may know this feeling: you wake up to multiple unread notifications on your mobile phone. Your calendar is already packed with meetings, sometimes double- or triple-booked. You feel engaged, you feel busy. In fact, you feel productive. But at the end of it all, something still feels missing. You try to figure out what it is. But before you do, the next day starts all over again. That was how I felt two years ago. I felt stressed; I felt anxious. I felt a bit trapped. The world around me was moving very quickly. And I didn’t know what to do. I started wondering to myself: How do I keep up with all this? How do we find fulfillment in a world that’s literally changing as fast as we can think, or maybe even faster?

We encourage you to watch the video below.

This message is a cool metaphor for coping in the world of Covid-19 and with life in general.