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Speedo Says...

Freestyle breathing technique with Nathan Adrian

Want to improve your freestyle breathing technique? Our swimming technique video has been designed by our elite swim coach and includes tips and advice on when to take a breath, along with a demonstration by American freestyle sprint star, Nathan Adrian.

Want to improve your freestyle breathing technique? Our swimming technique video has been designed by our elite swim coach and includes tips and advice on when to take a breath, along with a demonstration by American freestyle sprint star, Nathan Adrian.

How to Perfect your Freestyle/Front Crawl Breathing


A good freestyle breathing pattern fits naturally within your body rotation, and delivers optimum oxygen to allow you to train efficiently.


As one arm stretches forward, and your opposite arm pushes back, your head should roll to the side at the same time as your body. Your head should be positioned near your outstretched arm.


Maintain your head and spinal alignment to ensure you achieve the correct body position when breathing.


Rotate your head to enable your mouth to clear the water and to take a breath. This should be performed in a controlled and relaxed manner.


To maintain good body alignment, one eye should be above the water, while the other eye remains below it.


As your arm recovers over the water surface, try and synchronise the re-entry of your head in time with your body rotation. As you get faster, your head will create a small trough, so that this movement is minimised.


As your head re-enters the water slowly release the air through your mouth or nose, or a combination of both.


The number of breaths you need to take will depend on your level of exertion, so adjust the frequency according to your needs. As you become fitter, you may find that your breathing changes.


Simply adjust the amount of breaths you need to take to feel comfortable. The harder you train, the more explosive your exhalation should become under the water.


Nathan demonstrates an explosive breathing technique, exhaling just before he rotates to take in a breath. He maintains excellent body alignment while rotating his body.


Try using a pullbuoy so that you can focus on your breathing technique without having to think about your leg kick.


Practice different breathing patterns, for example, changing the amount of arm strokes before you breathe. This will help you find a comfortable breathing technique.