We’ve all been there: getting into our stride, enjoying our swim and feeling focused before – splutter, panic – it all goes pear-shaped. There’s nothing like a mouthful of water to put you off your stroke.
Learning how to master your breathing will add fluidity and efficiency to your swim, enabling you to go faster. Here are our top tips on how to breathe easily during your swim – no water intake required.
Keep your face relaxed and carry on breathing
Feeling anxious about putting your head in the water? Relax – you may unwittingly be tensing your facial muscles during your swim, which can lead to exhaustion if prolonged. Keep calm and come up for air as soon as you need to, keeping your face relaxed. Aim to avoid changing your facial muscles or expression when you’re underwater – they should be exactly the same in the water as they are on dry land.
Exhale slowly and comfortably
As your head enters the water, practice opening your lips slightly and gently breathing out. As you swim, exhale gently through both your nose and mouth, or just your mouth – whichever you find most comfortable.
[Tip: a nose clip can help you breathe out of your mouth more comfortably.]
The trick to exhaling underwater is to do it slowly. Then, as you feel you’re getting ready to come up for air, breathe out at a faster pace, in preparation for your next breath. Avoid exhaling too quickly, however, as this may cause you to gasp for air. Aim for your exhalation period underwater to be twice as long as your inhalation period.
Use this trick to avoid water in your windpipe
If you do breathe in water, try not to panic. Shape your tongue as if you’re pronouncing the letter ‘K’ – this will help prevent water entering your throat.