The freestyle breath is often over looked.

Lots of people think that you just turn your head, suck in air, and go.

Many people like to lift their head out of the water to breath, when in fact you only need to rotate your head to the side, with one goggle still in the water and one out, to get all the air you need. The head can stay in line with the body, at that 30-45 degree angle forward, but just rotated to the side. The head moving through the water creates a pocket of low water, allowing you to breath.

The fastest and most efficient freestyle breath is one that is well timed within the stroke. The proper freestyle breath also doesn’t require too much leaning/laying on the non-breathing arm during the breath. If you’re going to concentrate really hard about a high elbow pull and training this as a habit, make sure you aren’t really laying on the elbow and pressing outward when you breathe. Most often people really lay on opposite arm when the breath, sort of pressing down and out with their arm as one fixed lever. This places lots of extra stress on shoulder and elbow.

A high elbow pull is possible when breathing and not, it will just take some practice, a better kick and better core control. Learn to “glide-breathe-pull’ which means you break down your swimming stroke in 3 separate phases. The glide, then breathing with your arms still at the front and gliding down slightly, then the pull. Most of your mechanics will be focused on forward movements then and not mainly on keeping you out of the water to breathe easier. This might slow down your cadence but over time, you will get used to it, get stronger and your cadence will pick up again.

Best 3 drills for this to do as 25m tech + 25m swim:

  • 1 arm pull with the other arm at your side & breathe opposite the pulling arm
  • 1 arm pull with the other arm at the front (do not drop your elbow at the front) & breathe on the same side as the pulling arm
  • Doggy is swimming with your arms in the water and you breathe on the side each 3 strokes. No looking up at all!