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Mempho 04-27-2011 01:47 PM

Try a snorkel?
I think I can breathe okay for a beginner, but breathing still throws me off-balance. As one of my regular drills, I swim a few half-lengths face-down. Staying balanced and in good form is soooo much easier when I don't have to breathe. So I'm thinking a snorkel might be a good idea.

(By "breathing okay" I mean I can comfortably breathe bilaterally for 200 or 300 meters. If I breathe every 3 strokes I can stay balanced for a stroke or so, but breathing every two strokes is maddeningly frustrating.)

So what do you say? Suck it up and work harder on integrating breathing, or wimp out and buy a snorkel?


westyswoods 04-27-2011 04:25 PM

Whimp Out
I guess I am a whimp, this morning after doing my drills and a 400 free I used a finis center mount snorkle for one length of superman glide and two lengths of whole stroke with focus on feel, trying to keep head still with focus on snorkle. It is a tool which I see nothing wrong with using so long as there is a purpose.

Swim Silent and Be Well

Mempho 04-27-2011 05:57 PM

Yeah, I'm secretly bending the same way.

I'd like to be a purist, just me, my goggles, and the water. I've used fins once, pullbuoy never, kickboard never. But -- if it's not an escape to avoid ever having to deal with a known problem -- if it's a way to work around a problem so I can work on other problems -- where's the harm?

Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen scared me away from fins for the rest of my life:


Richardsk 04-27-2011 07:08 PM

The pool I swim at doesn't permit fins or snorkels in public sessions. They do allow paddles, though, or at least nobody has asked anyone to desist while I've been there.

I would use fins and a snorkel if I could because I think they can be useful, and I occasionally use my finger paddles, which I think are beneficial. I would hesitate to use the big paddles, though. I'm planning to use my fins in the sea soon, when the water warms up a degree or so.

Mempho 04-27-2011 07:20 PM


One of the pools I swim at has a sign "No Masks, No Snorkels, No Waterguns". But I've noticed they ignore the lap swimmers. If you're over 25 and not given to chasing other swimmers while giggling uncontrollably, you can use anything you want. Your pool may be stricter, though.


Richardsk 04-27-2011 11:34 PM

Hi Mempho

I'm definitely over 25 and if I chase other swimmers I seldom catch them. Giggling uncontrollably is not usually a problem. On a very quiet day they might allow a sneaky use of fin or snorkel, but I prefer not to bother the pool staff, who are very pleasant and friendly.

Mempho 05-11-2011 03:53 PM

Hey, why didn't somebody tell me that swimming with a snorkel is a whole new skill! I almost drowned in the first half-lap. I went back to the locker room and grabbed my noseplugs. That helped, but I could still only manage 2 laps before getting too frustrated to try any longer. Maybe I'll get the hang of it in a few weeks, but it's sure not the instant bliss I thought it would be.

Keep your eye on eBay ;-).

LennartLarsson 05-12-2011 08:31 AM


When i watch swimmers facing the problems you have, it looks like they need to focus on staying afloat. This means flat position and lack of balance. Rotation is essential and breathing is just a part of the rotation. Your head should constantly be relaxed and you you should look down, at the same time letting air out through nose or mouth. When you need air, your head just follow the rotation while pushing out the last air. Your mouth goes just over the surface of the water and the air goes in automatically. I know that Terry is against pull buoys, but as a mean for practicing rotation, they can be helpful. Use the pull buoy, do not kick (you can even strap your legs together to avoid kicking), aim your stroke at being long and relaxed, do not cross over (lead finger always pointing forward). If you do that right, you cannot avoid breathing the correct way. I am not a swim coach, but it worked for friends I have tried to teach freestyle. It is worth trying.


westyswoods 05-12-2011 10:43 AM

Snorkel Technique

Lennart presents some very valid points for using aids. Are you using a center mount snorkel? If not you get one. When I first started using one for drills there was a learning curve. My breathing pattern is in through the snorkel and out through the nose, Only when I get water in the snorkel do I exhale forcefully through the mouth to blow the water out. Balance is key, if you just let your head hang and the water support it you should be okay. Another reason for taking in water is not maintaining good steady head spine alignment. Moving the by rotation or side to side puts the inlet closer to the surface of the water.

Stick with it and remember it is only a tool.

Swim Silent and Be Well

aquarius 05-12-2011 12:56 PM


Originally Posted by LennartLarsson (Post 19460)

Use the pull buoy, do not kick (you can even strap your legs together to avoid kicking), aim your stroke at being long and relaxed, do not cross over (lead finger always pointing forward). If you do that right, you cannot avoid breathing the correct way.


I'm able to swim up to 1000m that way and feel relaxed, breathing every 3 strokes. But the next question is: how do you get rid of the pull buoy after that stage and swim as easily without it?

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