Don’t worry, all of your breathing problems when swimming freestyle are completely fixable. What you may not realize is your breathing problems can affect other parts of your stroke. Know this: your head dictates your body position. If you can’t exhale while looking at the bottom of the pool and need to raise your head you’re ruining your body position. By lifting your head you cause your hips to drop, which means your legs drop as well.
How do you solve your breathing problems? Well, sometimes you have to go back to basics and it’s no different than teaching swim lessons to kids. Much of this problem is in your head, so you’ll need to start from the beginning and build step by step.
To start the process…we’re going to blow some bubbles. Sounds silly, but like I said we’re starting from the beginning. Sink down into the water to where your lips are below the surface and blow those bubbles. After you’re getting comfortable with that, you can move onto the next step.
Now, put your face in the water to where you are looking directly at the bottom of the pool. If you need to have goggles on to not be freaked out, by all means wear them. While looking at the bottom of the pool, blow those bubbles.
After you’ve done that, you can move onto turning your head to work on inhaling. So repeat the previous step, except when you have to take a breath in don’t lift your head. Turn your head to either the right or left, breathe in and turn it back down so you’re looking at the bottom again. If you want to try this process with the kick board for a couple laps it’ll help too. I should take the time here to note that while swimming freestyle, the majority of people exhale through their nose and inhale through their mouths.
Once you’ve mastered all of these steps without lifting your head to breathe you can now try swimming freestyle. Remember, exhale while looking down, and inhale while your head is turned to the side. If you’re breathing every three strokes you almost start exhaling as soon as your head is back to looking at the bottom because when you finish you’ll be on your third stroke and ready to turn to inhale.