How to Master the Freestyle Breathing Technique
Breathing techniques whilst swimming the freestyle (frontcrawl) swimming stroke is essential to becoming a better swimmer. Correct Freestyle breathing technique is just as important as the correct swimming stroke and tying the two together assists the swimmer to swim faster longer and more efficiently. We should know that technique is everything when it comes to swimming and it really is the difference from being an average swimmer to an excellent swimmer. So if we are going to learn the freestyle breathing technique correctly, then will need to practice practice practice until the correct Freestyle breathing technique becomes second nature as the stroke itself.
So where do we begin? The best Freestyle breathing technique is using the side breathing method of breathing. Universally used by all swimmers this is the most effective technique when swimming freestyle. Here are a few important tips to improving your Freestyle breathing techniques.
1. Correct Technique
Developing a good technique is without doubt the greatest challenge for swimmers. If the incorrect technique is learned, then this will have a domino effect and become apparent in your swimming stroke. So ensure that when you swimming laps that you try to focus on your technique through out all the swimming stroke. Bad technique will cost you energy, time and worst of all the race.
2. The Breathe
When starting out you should learn how to breath on the side you feel most comfortable breathing.When swimming freestyle, you will have to exhale your breathe through your nose whilst your face is in the water. In doing this you will only need to inhale oxygen when your head is slightly rotated to the side. Don’t try to inhale too much in one breathe as you are trying to find a breathing rhythm that will be sufficient to aid you in your swim. You won’t have time for a full breathe and you will discover that you don’t need to fully inhale each time your head rotates. Try to breath every cycle so you become accustomed to taking a breath with every stroke on the same side. Some more experienced swimmers have the ability to breath on both sides which is called bilateral breathing. This is definitely an advantage but before you concentrate on bilateral breathing you should master the breathing techniques on one side.
The most common reason why people have a bad breathing technique is generally due to the positioning of their head whilst swimming freestyle. It is vitally important to hold your head still without moving it around as your body rotates during the stroke action. An easy way to stop this from occurring is focusing on a point on the bottom of the pool. The only time your head should move is when you are about to take a breathe. This movement should only be a sideways rotation and definitely should not be a lifting motion. If you lift your head to breathe you will automatically lower your legs and this will cause your body to lose it’s streamlined positioning and create unwanted drag. When you rotate your head you should ensure that your head is rotated too far towards the ceiling but instead to the side. If you can see the ceiling you have over rotated your head which will cause you to lose your balance in the water which in turn affects how streamline you are during your swimming stroke. So when you rotate your head to breath try to ensure that you keep your lower goggle lense in the water so that you have one eye below the water line and one eye above the water line. As with anything, repeated practice will help you to find the right technique in keeping our head steady and rotating your head slightly to the side enough to take a breathe but without affecting your swimming posture.