I echo Coach Stuart's advice. Work on balance in the water.
This way your legs and hips will avoid sinking. Then as you rotate to breathe, that air will be available to you without having to panic and do extra-hard kicks with legs and/or downward movements with arms just to catch that air. Those movements are more exhausting than you realize. And once panic sets in, it's hard not to just stop and catch your breath. Once you finally are assured that the air will be there, you will begin to relax and swim with less effort.
This means, practice the drills that teach proper body position - or if you are working on full stroke, be extra mindful of body position and a streamlined form as you swim. And practice, practice, practice! This can all take months! Or weeks, depending on where you are at.
After 18 months of fairly serious commitment to this, I am finally beginning to feel more ease in swimming. I'm still slow though. And it took a lot of practice, plus I can't tell you how much water I swallowed or inhaled in the process!
Last edited by novaswimmer : 07-22-2015 at 04:54 PM.