Thursday, April 13, 2017

Visualising Better Breathing

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4 Places Left
Let's jump right in and watch how elite swimmer Jono Van Hazel breathes in his stroke:

His breathing technique is so smooth and seamless to the rest of his stroke that blink and you miss it!

Underwater his breathing looks like this:

Notice the following:

- He only rotates his head just far enough to breathe, so that one goggle stays in the water and one out. He doesn't over-rotate and look to the sky.

- He keeps his head low in the water and doesn't attempt to lift it clear of the surface.

- He angles his mouth to the side like Popeye chews his spinach so that he can keep his head lower without taking on water:

- He blows out smoothly into the water so he only has to inhale when he does rotate to breathe.

- He breathes regularly to both sides - bilateral breathing - which keeps his rotation and whole stroke symmetrical.

Here's two common problems you might have with your own breathing:

Twisting your head to look skywards to breathe. This causes you to rotate right onto your side (way too much rotation):

Do that and your legs will part to regain your balance, as we see Clare doing above, which creates a huge amount of drag.

Lifting the head out of the water to breathe. This is also a problem because to lift you up at the front you have to press downwards on the water with your lead arm. That only lifts your torso upwards and sinks your legs downwards, again slowing you down significantly:

So the next time you swim, focus on angling your mouth to the side like Popeye, keeping your head low and looking across the pool with the lower goggle in the water.

Get this right and your breathing will take less time than you're used to, involve minimal movement and you will feel a more continuous rhythm to your stroke.  It's so quick you can think of it as taking a "sneaky" breath!

Swim Smooth!

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