Saturday, December 27, 2008

Breathing in the Pocket

One of the challenges when swimming freestyle is to keep your body aligned correctly when you turn your head for a breath. Once you have your head in the correct position - leading with the crown - you want to keep it there or as close to that position as possible.

When you turn your head for a breath do so with the absolute minimum of rotation. We have success with our swimmers by asking them to keep their lower goggle in the water. You can check this by making certain your eyes are open when you breathe and looking so that you see under water with the lower eye piece and just over the surface with the upper eye piece.

What is really cool is that in addition to this as you swim down the pool leading with the crown of your head you actually create a "bow" wave, similar to a boat pushing through the water. Right behind this wave is a small pocket that sits below the water line. You can breathe right in this small pocket, below the water line! That's right; you do not need to lift or turn your head above the surface to get a breath. In open water this may not be possible but in the pool unless there is a ton of chop it is easy to do so.

You cannot do this if you need to turn your head up for a long time so make certain you have exhaled nearly completely. This will allow you a quick turn of minimal distance enabling you to grab a bite of air in the pocket and then get your head back to the proper position.

When you watch an Olympic caliber freestyler you sometimes don't even really see the nose - that is how little the head turns. Play with this and see if it doesn't make your stroke more powerful since you no longer need to lean on your non breathing side arm while you get your head up so far out of the water.

Let us know how it goes for you!

1 comment:

Adaa said...

Sounds so easy....just that I realised it's tougher to pull off underwater. But I'm getting there. So I guess reading this helped. Thanks! :)