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Old 08-28-2017
fooboo fooboo is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 219
Default head position during breathing

I found my right shoulder was not as new, so I worked on it.
During breathing head is low, following shoulder, one eye out,
one eye in, Popaye mouth. Chin higher than top of the head.
Well... after I take a breath, I keep face rotated to the side.
Should I move it back to the water as soon as I take oxygen?
And how?
What I do now is to just keep chin connected to the shoulder,
while rotating and just move top of the head back, to stay in
the line. It might be wrong. Any opinion?
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Old 08-28-2017
tomoy tomoy is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 585

Hi Fooboo,

I've read/heard different thoughts on this.

A) As soon as you get air, rotate your face back into the water as soon as you get air, facing the bottom of the pool. That helps harness the energy of the recovering hand and arm down and forward into the water. I've experimented with it and it does seem to give me a little more power.

B) As soon as you get air, rotate it back to being centered on your shoulders (facing perpendicular to a line drawn between your shoulders), and follow this position back into the water, rotating in coordination with the rest of your body until you're facing straight down.

I think A) risks fatigue or injury because of applying pressure when your head and neck are not perfectly aligned with spine, but offers potential added energy and speed. B) is safer, and can be more relaxed which may help in longer distance swims.

Side thought: it is very common to take too much time to breathe. A) avoids this B) may allow it too easily.

I think I do something in between. Maybe a little closer to B), but I think I start to look down to the bottom of the pool just a little bit before the rest of my body is following the rotation of my face and head.

Similar to the back-end risks of initiating rotation with the hips or keeping the hips flat with the water while rotating the shoulders. It allows a twist differential with the shoulders and can give you more power, but it also places the lower back at risk of injury. The safe alternative is to "roll like a log" where everything remains in alignment, avoiding spinal twisting.

Proceed with caution! Good topic to discuss.
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Old 09-03-2017
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 647

I think of it like this:

When you are doing the switch drills without breathing, your body will be rotating between 45 degrees off your breast on one side \ to being 45 degrees off your breast on the other side / , but your nose will stay pointed at the bottom while your body is rotating. When you're rotating to breathe, your head will move with your body as though it is attached to your shoulder, which will leave your nose pointed to the side. If you can breathe in that position, you're all set, but some swimmers need to turn their head a bit farther than that to get a breath.

In either case, to resume switching after a breath, you want to point your nose back at the bottom, thereby returning your body to the position it would have been in had you been doing a non-breathing switch. If you kept your laser beam (the imaginary beam coming out of the top of your head) pointed forward as you were rotating to breathe, your laser beam should have stayed aligned with your spine throughout the process.

One of the best ways to avoid a pause when you breathe is to swim with a tempo trainer and focus on staying in pace with it regardless of whether you're doing a breathing or a non-breathing switch.

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Old 01-08-2018
Posts: n/a
Default Informative

I never thought keeping head position was such a critical think to do before reading all these posts.

Elke Weiss
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Old 01-08-2018
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Hamburg
Posts: 1,104

Hello Elke,

would suggest to be aware of head position (and head's weightlessness) as most critical and most important thing over all. From beginner's Torpedo and SG up to worldclass and highest speeds...

Best regards,
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Old 01-08-2018
CoachBillGreentree CoachBillGreentree is offline
TI Coach
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Posts: 61

Originally Posted by elkeweiss View Post
I never thought keeping head position was such a critical think to do before reading all these posts.

Elke Weiss
Oh yes. It's an amazing just how much your head position affects your center of gravity while swimming and thus the rest of your body's position.

Most of us have become so accustomed to our own swim style that we're not even aware just how much we're compensating in other areas producing more drag, overcoming that with more effort and tiring ourselves out far faster than need be.

It's a matter of taking the time while swimming to focus and listen to your body and ocean/pool. Correct the errors, refocus and listen again.
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