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  #1  
Old 03-16-2009
rwilkes rwilkes is offline
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rwilkes
Default Basic breathing .......

Hi everyone,

Firstly, thanks to you all for the help in my questions upto now, this site is a great source of inspiration especially when practice is not going well (which is most of the time !!!)

Anyway, this question will be basic to most of you, but how do you breathe in freestyle ???

My drills are coming on slowly, but when I swim a length of free, I am out of breath very easily. I am not overweight, relatively fit, so I figure it must be my breathing.

I take in air as if it is my last breath, like gasping for air. When underwater, I try to exhale but seem to be holding my breath at times also !!!! A basic breathing guide would be helpful !!!!!!

Also, does anyone feel better when they don’t kick whilst swimming ??? But that’s a question for another time…….. !!!!!!

Thanks everyone !

Russ
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2009
Jamwhite Jamwhite is offline
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Kicking requires that you use your very large leg muscles which eat up lots of oxygen. Reducing your kick to an efficient 2-beat kick (one kick with each arm entry into the water) will conserve lots of oxygen.

The most important oxygen saver is relaxing in the water. When I start to get the tense cannot breath feeling during a practice, I like to do a lap of skating drills and roll the sweet spot when I need air. This helps me because it is my relaxation exercise, so your milage may very.

Another thing that I practice is doing slow laps with my focal point just being my breathing. I usually isolate one side per length (breath left one length, then breath right). When I do this, I ignore the rest of my stroke and just try to find that perfect, relaxed breathing position.
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  #3  
Old 03-16-2009
naj naj is offline
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Jamwhite your on to something. Russ, when I first get into the water I'm so excited to be there that I shoot off going as fast as I can and not fully exhaling underwater or taking a relaxed inhale when I roll to breathe. A great rule for me is to be very mindful and make sure that I know I have time to breathe when I roll to my side. I also watch my recovery arm -- with my eyes -- enter the water and as I do, I slowly inhale then gracefully turn my head back into the water and keep going.
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Old 03-17-2009
daveblt daveblt is offline
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You mentioned that you seem to be holding your breath . Don't hold your breath .Try to exhale steadily and emphasize the exhale as you come around for air .

Dave
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  #5  
Old 03-23-2009
kevinp kevinp is offline
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This is a great thread. I followed some of the suggestions above, and had a great swim session today. I did the following things:

1) Reducing the intensity and frequency of leg kicking.

2) Roll the bare minimum necessary for the mouth to clear the water.

3) Exhaling on the last stroke just before the breath so that the lungs were empty just before the mouth cleared water. I did not exhale until the last stroke. I found that exhaling continuously during all strokes was distracting. Your mileage may vary - try out different things.

4) And finally, the biggest impact: varying stroke and breath timing as the swim progressed and I got more tired. Let me explain what this means:
I started with a breath pattern of L-5-R-5-L (this means a breath on the left side, then 5 strokes (hand entering water), then a breath on the right side, then 5 strokes, then a breath on the left side.
As I got more tired, I started breathing more frequently using the pattern:
L-4-L-5-R-4-R-5-L
I continued for some more distance, and when I felt that I could not maintain this pace, I downgraded again:
L-4-L-3-R-4-R-3-L
followed by:
L-3-R-3-L
L-2-L-3-R-2-R-3-L
L-2-L, R-2-R
and finally, you can go all the way down to L-1-R-1-L

This made a huge difference, and I felt in control the whole time. It does require that you focus completely on counting the strokes and breaths and monitoring how you feel. I was able to do eight lengths (200 yards) without pausing and felt that I could have gone still longer. I am excited!
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  #6  
Old 03-23-2009
rwilkes rwilkes is offline
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Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the programme on breathing. I am in the pool tomorrow and will give it a try....

I was thinking about "going back to basics", ie. balance drills again. I get frustrated at my progress, i am on underswitch and because of my breathing i can only switch twice then roll all the way past sweet spot.

How are your drills coming on ????

Russ
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  #7  
Old 03-23-2009
kevinp kevinp is offline
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The drills are going well - I just published a cheat sheet for Freestyle that includes some breathing drills

Total Immersion Freestyle Drills Cheat Sheet
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