Lane 4 Aquatics
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Lane 4 Aquatics - 2nd World War Memorial Aquatic Centre

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Breathing while swimming

Date: 1 March 2014

Very few novice swimmers exhale properly into the water.

Nearly all intermediate swimmers think they are exhaling correctly, but very few actually do.

Even amongst advanced swimmers, quite a few like to hold onto their breath under the water.

Getting your exhalation right will make freestyle feel much easier, get you balanced in the water and as a bonus, make you more relaxed whilst swimming. 

Most swimmers realise that breathing technique is a fundamental of the freestyle stroke. But most think about their inhalation only and forget about their exhalation. 

Bilateral is swimming lingo for breathing to both sides, left and right. Classically this is done every 3 strokes (counting both arms) so your breathing alternates from side to side.

Because it's the natural way to keep your stroke technique symmetrical. Bilateral is particularly good for developing good body roll to both sides since you need to rotate well to breathe.

If you only breathe to one side it's nearly impossible to maintain a symmetrical stroke. Over weeks and months of swimming you gradually become lopsided and crabby. 

When you are swimming you should always be exhaling except when you turn your head to inhale.

Caption When you are swimming you should always be exhaling except when you turn your head to inhale.
Rockhampton Regional Council