Freestyle – Shoulder Breath

If it weren’t for the breath… that darn need for air… just about anyone could learn to swim a beautiful freestyle.  This drill, which asks you to connect the shoulder to the breath, can help you establish better rhythm and timing.

Why Do It:
Breathing late in freestyle usually means you’ll not get the proper amount of oxygen into your lungs.  It can also throw off the timing of your stroke.  Connecting your cheek to your shoulder to learn an earlier breath can help solve both of these issues.

How to Do It:
  Start by swimming slow freestyle, focusing on extending your arms with your shoulder pressed against your cheek.
2.  As you prepare to breathe to either side, before the pull even begins, press your cheek more firmly against the shoulder that’s about to pull back.
3.  When the shoulder drops for the pull, the head will be free to turn to air before the arm finishes the pull.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Make sure you’re really extending to feel the connection between your shoulder and breath… face and arm.  As you feel more comfortable with this, increase the pace to make it more like natural swimming.  Remember to keep your head stable until it’s time to push toward the shoulder for the breath, and it’s best to practice this drill alternating sides, breathing every 3rd or 5th stroke.