Breathing For Swimming

by Pool Builders on 12-28-2009 in Articles

In many sports, breathing exercises are treated as a simple warm-up. It often takes some effort to convince players, and even coaches, of their real importance. However, it is quite the opposite with sports and hobbies related to swimming. Divers and swimming relay racers cannot help but see that it is essential for them to be able to breathe efficiently and above all, safely.

During a swimming race, it is very important to time your breathing to your strokes. If you take a breath a split second too late or early, while your nose and mouth are under water, you will have much more to worry about than simply falling behind.

Deep breathing exercises can also improve swimmers' performance in diving competitions. At first, this may seem odd. After all, a competitive diver hardly spends any time under water in the course of a round. However, breathing also helps you to maintain balance and concentration, both critical aspects when the slightest error in timing and positioning can ruin what might have been a great dive. You also need to time your breathing to prevent water entering your nose and mouth upon impact. Very inexperienced swimmers might have this problem, particularly if the water is very cold, since the shock causes their mouths to open.

Breathing safely becomes even more of an imperative if you are going to try free diving. This is when you dive, without an oxygen tank, to depths in which most people would be using scuba gear, or at the very least, a snorkel. Do not expect to be able to use the same type of breathing exercises for free diving as the ones you use for swimming in a pool. When you free dive, you are going down to depths where the pressure is significantly different from the water at the surface.

Going scuba diving is also much safer if you know how to build endurance. You will be able to stay under water longer, while still using the same amount of oxygen. Proper breathing can help you to depressurize more quickly after you go diving. This means you will have to spend less time in a depressurization chamber, and lowers the risk of you getting the bends because you rushed the depressurization process.

If you are into endurance running, you will probably be good at swimming. In fact, some swimmers incorporate running laps or treadmill exercise as part of their training. In other words, the inclusion of swimming and running events in multi-sport races like decathlons is not an example of athletic sadism. Rather, it is very sensible to include events whose shared stress on endurance, rhythm and breathing allow your skills in one to reinforce your abilities in the other. Running breathing can also be good for swimming, with some adjustments. Increase running aspects of your training, but be sure to time the swimming and running portions safely so you do not develop cramps.

Swimming is one sport in which it is very easy to recognize the many uses of good breathing. It can only be hoped the other sports will follow suit.

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