Boy, for me at first, breathing was all about proper technique to be able reach air. This meant working on a horizontal position in water, proper rotation angle of body and further rotation of neck to reach air, etc. Also, the timing of the breath in relation to the recovery arm. I have to breathe BEFORE my arm passes my head. An 'early' breath, I guess some say. Too late a breath, and my mouth is already sinking underwater.
Once I pretty much achieved that on both sides, I was able to relax a bit knowing that air would be there. It took me about two years to get to that point!
The next big thing for me was air regulation. Conquering this is what helped my longevity....say swimming a mile vs. 10 laps. Air regulation entailed adjusting and coordinating my speed, exertion level, inhale volume, and exhale volume, with my frequency of breathing to sustain my oxygen expenditure. If I tore down the lane from the get-go, it wouldn't take me too long before I was huffing and puffing and had to stop.
Now I start out really slowly. If I can go 6 to 8 laps without feeling that panicky out-of-air feeling, then I know I'm achieving a good balance of exertion to oxygen intake. So I push ahead at the same tempo or maybe just a tad harder/faster. Of course with lots of practice and time, the body becomes more efficient at the stroke and there is less oxygen usage too. We learn how to 'turn off' and relax certain muscles that are not used and activate the ones that propel us. And swimming muscles become toned which also helps (becoming 'swim fit').
There's a LOT to breathing! For some it comes more naturally. For others, it's a longer process.
I don't know if that makes any sense.
Last edited by novaswimmer : 05-03-2018 at 10:52 PM.