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Breaststroke – Breathe Every Other Stroke

Originally published February 12, 2004

Many swimmers love to pop out of the water for their breath on breaststroke. They get a bit out of air, and think the most effective way to continue to move forward, AND get their air, is to push themselves high out of the water. This is not only unnecessary but also sends you in the wrong direction for fast swimming.  It sends you UP rather than FORWARD.

Why Do It:
This drill shows you that you don’t have to climb out of the water to breathe. It also teaches you to stay lower on your stroke, sending more of your energy forward when you breathe. This can help you develop a smoother, lower, more direct breaststroke.

How to Do It:
1. Start by swimming regular breaststroke.
2.  On every other stroke, keep your eyes in the water, or as close to the water level as possible.
3.  You’ll see just a subtle difference between a breathing stroke and a non-breathing stroke. The head simply stays more in line with the rest of the body during the non-breathing stroke.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Maintain your rhythm, and don’t let your hands get caught under your chest. Don’t go under water completely to avoid the breath, just don’t come up so high.