Breathing while swimming

One thing you can do today to improve your front crawl swimming is to practice breathing to both sides.

It’s common for people new to swimming front crawl is to end up being able to only breathe on one side. Usually this is a great first step but longer term it really helps if you can breathe to both sides.

More experienced swimmers often get into a habit of only breathing on one side because it feels better. However,  there are advantages of learning how to breathe on the other side even if it doesn’t feel so good.  It will make you a more symmetrical and more efficient swimmer and is good way of improving your front crawl swimming today!

Here are some tips on how to improve your breathing.

Have a go

The first step to improving is to just have a go!!

You can do it

Most people who tell me they can’t breathe to the other side can actually do it the first time they try. I’d go as far as to say 8 out of 10 people who come for a lesson and say they can’t do actually manage when I ask them to have a go.

Get used to the sensations

A lot of the time there’s not that much difference between the sides either. It’s just that it feels different. And you might not be accustomed to how that feels. So the first step is just to breathe on the other side and get used to how it feels – no matter how rubbish, splashy or slow it feels.

Learn a skill

The first goal isn’t to make it perfect or swim fast. It’s just to learn the skill and get used to breathing to the other side.

Let go of speed

Accept that it might not feel as good. You might swim slower, need more rest or not be able to swim as far while breathing on that side. All those things are OK and having a go is what will make it better.

Small Chunks

You might start off with 3 lengths to your favourite side, 1/2 a length to your non favourite side. Or you might only manage 6 strokes to your non favourite side.  But over time it will get better and you’ll be able to do a little more.

Breathe to both sides

There’s no hard and fast rules about needing to swim with bilateral breathing on alternate sides it’s just about being able to breathe to both sides. It’s perfectly OK to swim a length breathing only on one side. Just see if you can breathe to the other side on the next length.

Breathing Patterns

A breathing pattern I like is to swim 1 length breathing left, 1 length breathing right and 2 lengths breathing bilaterally to alternate sides.

Next time you go to the pool have a go and see let me know how you get on.

I can help

If you’re wondering if I could help you to learn front crawl then why not book a taster session here or if you have lots of questions then get in touch and book a FREE 15min Lets chat here.

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I’m Penny and I’m a triathlete and wild swimmer with a passion for outdoor adventures. I’m a triathlon coach and Total Immersion Swimming Teacher and I help people feel more comfortable in the water so they can swim further, discover the joy of swimming or finish a triathlon without feeling exhausted.