FREESTYLE - Breathe Early

Feb 6, 2004
FREESTYLE - Breathe Early

If you read my article �Perpetuating the Myth,� you know that my search for swimming clip art was a total bust. It was completely frustrating to see how our sport is portrayed � maybe �betrayed� is a better word. So for this week� drill, I decided to give my version of what swimming should look like.

For this demonstration, I've decided to use video of someone other than an Olympic-caliber athlete. Yes, our poster child for beautiful swimming is a rather normal, average, everyday, MOTHER of a formerly Olympic-caliber athlete. Yep... that's my Mom!

Why Do It:

Goodness, just look at those silly pictures in the other article, and imagine where all those artists GOT those ideas anyway. They went to pools, and watched how people struggled up and down the lanes. Now imagine how YOU look when you swim. Not only from a visual standpoint, but also for the sake of getting to air easily, smoothly, and consistently, you should ROLL to air, and lead with your head. Stay low and balanced, and you'll find that it� easy to breathe whenever you want. You�ll see that breathing can be a graceful, beautiful movement.


How To Do It:

1. Just start swimming. These pics show the swimmer in the Endless Pool. In this clip, you're going to see her breathing on every stroke.

2. As you see here, the swimmer is rotating her head to air early in the rotation process. It's almost as if she is leading the entire rotation with her head. This guarantees that she has a much better opportunity to get a clean, and full breath.

3. With age, sometimes comes limited flexibility, so turning the head early, will also help in the rotation of the body. If you lift the head too much here, you'll really feel a falling, or slipping, feeling with your lead hand. Notice how the head is rotated just a bit more as the shoulder starts to come out for the recovery of the arm.

4. As the arm continues with the recovery, the head is still in the breathing position, allowing this fantastically talented and wonderful swimmer, to fill her lungs with fresh air.

5. As the hand passes the face for entry into the water... SHE'S STILL BREATHING!!! It's amazing isn't it? With proper rotation and proper timing, and by leading with the head, anyone can get a nice breath.

6. After the breath is completed, simply rotate your head so that you look directly down at the bottom, and prepare for the next body rotation. Remember to lead with your head.

How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):

Think about connecting your cheek to your shoulder. As your body begins to rotate to your breathing side, and as your arm is pulling back, let your head go with it. Rotate it through, and see how quickly you can get your air.

When you first start to practice this, it can lead to a bit more rotation than you're used to, so you need to make sure you aren't popping up. You want to stay in a nice balanced line.

I know it's not fair to continue using such incredible swimmers as our models, but in watching my Dad teach Mom how to swim properly, we all came to realize that the "boys" got our athletic ability from Mom... :)

I got my sense of humor from Dad! Not sure which is more important at this stage in my life, but thanks to both. Now stop all this sappy stuff... and GO SWIM!

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