4 Tips to Master Your Breathing Technique During the Swim

2. Repeat the final exercise in step one in shallow water at the pool.

Crouching with hands resting on knees or the pool gutter, dip your face for a sustained bubbling exhale (four to five one-thousands), then lift it to inhale with minimal clearance. Repeat until this feels effortless and meditative. Its calming effect will help you resume swimming with much more sense of command in breathing and everything else. You may precede this step with the other exercises in step one if you wish.

3. After a few minutes of the above, progress to bobbing.

Start with shallow and brief immersion—just dipping to your hairline—and work your way to longer, deeper immersion, focusing on sustained steady bubbling. Bob up, beginning to inhale as soon as your mouth clears the water. This time don't worry about keeping your nose at the surface, but focus on becoming comfortable getting air even as water cascades down from your head across your face. Then without pause, bob back down again.

4. Swim some easy 25-yard repeats.

On these 25 sets, let your need for air entirely dictate the speed and rhythm of your stroke. If it helps, count off your exhales and inhales by one-thousands, as you did in the bowl. For your rest interval, take several deep, slow cleansing breaths. When you can repeat these with a sufficient sense of ease that you need only three cleansing breaths before starting the next, you can progress to 50-yard repeats.

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