One of the key points in swimming is undoubtedly breathing, and it is one of the most difficult to master. This can become a truly overwhelming problem for athletes with a lifeguard course. This is why learning to properly control your breathing when swimming is so important.
Difficulty breathing during swimming arises from an obvious, but no less important, aspect: human beings cannot breathe underwater. And the fact of having the face submerged for a few seconds can generate anguish and even phobias.
Relaxation is a great ally and a fundamental part of controlling the fear that having the head in the water can cause: it allows us to control the feelings of anguish and swim more efficiently. Next, we will see some tricks to learn to control breathing when swimming.
Breathing control when swimming in open water
Breathing when swimming in the sea is very different from what we use when swimming in a pool. Many people recommend sticking your head out to both sides and breathing with each stroke when in open water. However, this way of breathing is really inefficient and uncomfortable.
It is generally beginners who breathe this way with a lifeguard course. But it is more a technical error than a need to breathe more frequently. Breathing in each stroke causes greater fatigue in the shoulders, head, and arms.
Breathing every two strokes, common when swimming in pools with lifeguard course, may not be such a good idea in the sea. This technique has the advantage that it allows us to always breathe on the same side. And most people find it easier to breathe on one side than the other.
However, when swimming always breathing on the same side in open water, it is likely that one will deviate. It happens because the stroke that is given when taking the head out of the water is a little longer. Another common problem is that certain things cannot be controlled in open water. You may not always be able to breathe in that stroke due to swell, wind, etc.
Probably the best breath control technique when swimming in open water is to breathe every three strokes. It has the advantage of allowing us to maintain a straight line along the way and to better see what is around us.
These good habits include being effective with the other competitors in the water. By breathing from both sides, we will have no problem changing the rhythm if necessary, whatever the swimming style.
Head and body posture
When swimming, it is essential to keep the head aligned with the body at all times. By doing so, you can better control your alignment with the water and swim more efficiently. But, in addition, the cervicals can be relaxed and help make breathing more relaxed and controlled.
Although many swimmers do not give it the importance it deserves, the position in the water is a really determining factor when it comes to advancing better. Having a good alignment of the head with the body will allow us to have a better reference of where the surface is when taking the head out to take a breath.
Do not forget that, when putting your head in and out of the water, a few inches more or less from the surface can be decisive, especially in a competition.
Control of breathing and instinct
By submerging the head survival instincts immediately appear. And to be able to control the breath it is necessary to fight against them. This may seem very difficult, but the best way to do it is by warming up earlier and relaxing your mind and body.
It is also necessary to know that it is normal to swallow water during swimming, it happens even to the most experienced swimmers. And this does not mean that breath control is not good or that we are going to drown.
The swimmer’s goal is sticking his head out to inhale is to get his mouth as close to the surface of the water as possible. And in that millimeter limit, it can happen that a little water enters the mouth. The important thing is not to panic, as the amount of water is generally very small. Again, relaxation is the key.