Originally Posted by Aaron_Swims
I had the same thing with the snorkel! It distracted me more than it helped, and it was supposed to do the opposite! I think it's a case of either pushing through and practicing more with the snorkel until you're totally used to it or try to look in to other methods that could work for you.
This may sound strange because to even picture it in my head looks funny, but it has helped address some of the issues. I have simply practiced using the snorkel several times while standing at the kitchen sink, putting my face in the sink filled with water. I put a large hand held vanity mirror on the bottom so I could watch what was actually happening. Some folks recommend using a nose clip so the person doesn't have to focus on the breathing, but I am not really a fan of them so I initially practiced breathing without a nose clip (tried just the snorkel, then tried inhaling through the snorkel and exhaling out of my nose). I was expelling air not only through the snorkel tube, but also out from around the mouthpiece, like I was blowing bubbles. I practiced and practiced until I decided that my concentration was solely devoted on "trying to get it right" that I knew I had to try a nose clip (since they are essentially dirt cheap, I bought one even if I don't use it later down the road). The nose clip made a little difference because it forced me to only use the snorkel for breathing, yet I noticed the way I was not solely breathing through the snorkel tube; I was still also expelling air out from around the mouthpiece. When continuing to watch in the mirror, I noticed that my mouth was tense because I was trying to ensure the mouthpiece stayed in place. Once I was able to totally relax my face, no more bubbles were coming out from around the mouthpiece. I am still using the nose clip for now when using it at the pool, but hopefully I eventually will move onto exhaling out of my nose.
So, the "ah ha" that comes out of all of this, is relaxation is the key to everything with swimming. I have a long way to go yet in my progress when it comes to my swimming, but each "ah ha" is part of that progress.