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Two stroke breathing

  • Hi, I can't help but notice that many Olympians tend to use 2-stroke breathing when they swim. I do this quite often when I swim the 500, but my coach says I am breathing too often. My question is how do the Olympians breathe without getting out of body alignment and slowing them down? I currently use the "one goggle in the water" trick, but I was wondering if there are any other tips to this.

  • Hi Luke,
    For distances greater than 100 yds or meters, I would suggest breathing every 2 strokes, and here's why. Very simply, you get more oxygen turnover, more often. It's easier to go faster over distance with getting oxygen more often. This generally means, though, breathing only to one side, but, it's definitely a good skill to learn to both sides. You can still breathe every 2 strokes by playing with breathing to the right for one length of the pool and then breathing to the left the next length. But you get more oxygen sooner by breathing every 2 strokes, which is important over distance.

    Since actually getting that breath can affect our body position in the water, it is important to get the breath as you rotate to that side, keeping your head low (yes! one goggle in/one goggle out) and trying to make it as non-disruptive to the actual stroke as possible. This means, you get that breath quickly and get your face back into the water immediately. Getting your face back into the water as quickly as possible, and rotating to your non-breathing side to complete the stroke on that side is what's key. To get a quick breath as if sneaking it, helps to keep your body balanced in the water, helping you move forward faster, without really any additional effort. And always exhale when your face is in the water. Hope this helps!

  • Great thoughts deborah, i totally agree.

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