While there are many examples of great swimmers loping, or falling, into the water after a breath, for most of us normal swimmers, it’s a much better idea to maintain a direct and stable body position while swimming freestyle.
Why Do It:
Many swimmers push themselves up and out of the water for the breath, which often causes them to settle, or fall, into the water after the breath. This can give them a feeling of strength and rhythm, but can also lead to the need to go UP for the next breath, or to just get the shoulder out of the water on the next recovery. This drill will help you identify and minimize any up-and-down movement.
How to Do It:
1. The best way to learn how to avoid the fall is to swim without breathing.
2. Feel the stability of the head, and how it drives directly forward.
3. As you start to add the breath, focus on a simple rotation of the head, rather than pushing the head UP to air.
4. This will take particular focus on the lead arm while you’re breathing. How much weight is pushing on that arm during the extension or glide?
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Double breathing, or triple breathing can help you maintain a direct and stable body line. If you’re unable to rotate from one side to the other quickly and within the set rhythm of your stroke, then you may be leaning too much to one side… and potentially "falling" in the water after you breathe.
Remember… the goal of this focus point is to send all of your energy forward, not up and down. Even Jason Lezak has told us one of the reasons he went so fast in 2008 was because he reduced the up and down.