As I turn my head to breathe (almost always to the left), I reach my head out to the left. I think this is probably because I am reaching with my right arm, and trying to reach as far as I can is throwing my head out of alignment.

I also breathe for too long. It's only like a half second too long, but every half second counts.

Also, as I have been pressing my chest and head to get my hips up lately, I have found it increasingly difficult to do a quick, straight breath.

What are some drills for these breathing issues? How else can I fix these problems?

  • I don't have a full answer here because I haven't swam competitively in over a decade and a half, but I vividly recall pantomiming stroke and breathing motions out of the water to develop rhythm and muscle memory.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 17:22
  • What do you mean by pantomiming stroke and breathing motions? Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 17:28
  • Out of the water, stand up and move your arms like you're swimming, breath on the stroke you'd normally breath on (every 4th, 6th whatever). What kind of sprint are you doing? 50m? 100?
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 17:30
  • Thanks. I care more about the 50, but I'm doing both of them. Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


You should be swimming facing directly down or slightly forwards. If you can imagine an axis going from the top of your spine straight up through the top of your head then when breathing you should rotate your head about this axis. In other words you don't move your head left or right, simply rotate your head to breath. No matter how far you have to reach with your forward arm this axis must always point in the direction you are swimming. A good drill to practice the rotation is to rotate your head only as far as having half your face out of the water. One goggle lens remains underwater during the inhale. You will probably end up pushing your mouth to one side as I do to try to have to get as much open to the air as possible.
If you want to breath 'faster' then make sure you completely exhale when you are facing into the water. If you can completely empty your lungs (with a constant exhale over the two or three strokes you face down and not a quick push) then your body will take care of a fast inhale itself.

  • I worked on it today at practice, and it seems I'm pulling my head too far out of the water. I will try to breathe with only half my face out and see if it works. Thanks. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 3:54

If you are doing free-style then best way to turn your upper torso(rather than just your face) up to 60 degrees and then breathe under the wave which is getting created by your front crawl. Initially it would be difficult But over period of the time this will be great technique. Every professional swimmer follows this. And I think it will address both of your problems. You will be able to keep your face out of the water for 1-2 seconds and your face will always be attached to your non-recovery arm so this will not make hips and legs downwards in water while doing front-crawl.

Hope this will help..

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