Thanks to Alex Silver of the Livermore Aquacowboys for giving us this book. We won’t attempt to give you a synopsis here but there are easy to understand exercises and great tips on the art of breathing to help all athletes in their quest for better performances.
We had two observations this weekend at a development meet for senior swimmers both related to breathing.
First up…Yaroslav said during his 200 meter fly that he focused on exhaling. Doing so, he said, gave him more relaxation which enabled him to have a strong last 50. Hmmm….it seems to us that this makes perfect sense. So often a swimmer or any person attempting to perform at a high level in any discipline focuses on getting a good inhale. However, the quality and quantity of the inhale is clearly dependent upon the amount of room available. This in turn is dependent upon the exhale. Can you remember back in school, giving an oral book report or speech to the class and part way through realizing that you are “out of air”? That happens because you forget to exhale so when you inhale you don’t have enough capacity to get a full inhalation.
So tomorrow, in workout, practice exhaling and see what happens. If it helps, thank Yaroslav. If it doesn’t help, blame your parents…they provided the gene pool.
Secondly, while watching Graham do a pace 50 backstroke in preparation for his 200 meter back we noticed that he was pursing his lips during the breathing process. It looked like he was forcing the exhale. We asked him to relax his facial muscles and simply breathe easily. Relaxing his lips relaxed his jaw which eased a certain amount of tension out of his neck. He felt more relaxed and swam a touch faster. In his 200 back he was able to use this new awareness and swim more smoothly. It really showed up later in the race as he was able to continue his effort and tempo where before he would tend to fade away a little bit at the end.
Anytime you can breathe while staying relaxed in your face, jaw and neck you help yourself tremendously.
Air is a wonderful commodity. Learn how to savor it and use it to your advantage. See you poolside soon!