Breaststroke 104: Coordination
The last article in this series introduced breathing in breaststroke, especially the drill on inhaling through the mouth and out the nose. When swimming the breaststroke, the swimmer may choose to keep the head raised above water, a point that most leisure swimmers consider crucial to their swimming experience. This post will teach you to do this, as well as the breaststroke breath timing.
In Breaststroke 102, the motion of the arms is illustrated. During the in-sweep as the palms are brought together at the center of the mass, pushing the upper body from the head, shoulders to the upper back up.
The lift generated provides enough time for the swimmer to draw a breath using their mouth.
As explained in the previous article, taking a deep proper breathe requires skill developed outside and inside water. First, to breath in, the lungs have to be theoretically empty so that there is room for more air to go in. Most swimmers try to come up for air while they have not breathed out all of it. The swimmer is then forced to breath out first, then breath in, therefore reducing their speed and streamline. Using a kickboard, practice how to breath out then come up for air when needed.
Time your breathe either early, just when the arms begin to pull, midway when the arms begin to push down or late, when the hands are coming together. Beginners are encouraged to use midway breathing as it gives enough time to prepare and get back in water. Late breathing is mostly used for competitive swimming to reduce any slight pause that may slow the swimmer.
The swimmer goes back into the water swiftly, ensuring that they get back to their best streamline. To do this, the hands are flattened out, the head kept low in water and a whip kick of the legs done to propel the body forward.
Based on individual strength and training, the breathing can be switched up to accommodate the needs of the swimmer. Some swimmers keep the head raised above water throughout the cycle so that the mouth and nose are above water, making breathing easy. To do this, the back will have to be arched more to compensate for the incline that will push the legs down. This also comes with increased resistance.
We propose a position where even though the head is held high, the water level is maintained between the hair line and the bridge of the nose. It is easy to raise the head and breath when assisted with a slight downward push of the arms, reducing the drag from resistance in water.
Further, some swimmers who have a stronger upper body, or want to work their upper body and arms will put more effort into the pull and gain more propulsion. Others may choose to use the legs as the dominant source of propulsion, choosing to work the leg muscles more.