Breathe Easy: How to control your breathing when swimming

Feb 14, 2022 | Blog
Have you ever thought about how you breathe? Not many people have, it’s a reflex after all.
But, suddenly, when immersed in water, it becomes a consideration, a conscious thought.
This month, our National Aquatics Training Lead, Lynn Goring-Crook, explores the art of breathing easy in the water by using a couple of easy warm-up exercises.

The importance of breathing

Breathing – simple right? In and out. Nice and easy. It just happens!

All true – until we are in water, then it becomes a conscious thought, a process, sometimes a fear. It can make or break learning to swim, it can drastically improve being able to perform a stroke, yet most importantly it can ruin our enjoyment of being in water.

However, with a few simple steps, we can start to address this with techniques that could be used by yourself or even children! It doesn’t matter what level you are – it is quite simply a breathing warm up.

Warming-up is key

Firstly, preparation is everything and this begins at the poolside. Take a moment to take a few deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth, to calm and reset the body ready for a swimming lesson or swim.

Whilst doing this, it is also useful to take some pool water and splash it on the back of your neck. This will help to acclimatise the body to the temperature of the water and is an effective tip open water swimmers often use. This can help to prevent the body from becoming tense when you enter the water.

In the water

On entering the water, lay back and perform a star float – a noodle behind the neck and shoulders can add support for beginners. Stretch out and allow the water to support the body and then take three more deep breaths.

Turning onto the front, hold onto the rail, with feet on the floor, shoulders under, and then practice blowing bubbles rhythmically into the water – ideally with the face submerged.

Enjoy the feeling of water on the face as it awakens the senses and our Blue Mind resets.

Ready to go

Now we are ready! We have retrained the brain into thinking about breathing and breathing easily. A swimmer can enjoy their swim, their swimming lesson or fun in the pool.

Go swim…and breathe easy!

Visit our Swimming page to find out more.