Breathing is within the aquatic motor skills that the individual must master to perform well during the swimming exercise, which is one of the great difficulties in the first contact with the aquatic environment.
When coming into contact with water, the respiratory mechanisms will undergo some changes because your face will be temporarily immersed, generating a limitation of the ventilatory function and, consequently, an increase in the respiratory effort.
With the individual sitting immersed up to the neck, vital capacity decreases 8 to 10% due to an increase in blood volume in the thoracic region. Therefore, the breathing activity is no longer reflexive and passive and tends to become voluntary and active.
How To Breathe Correctly?
In swimming, you can use either your mouth or your nose to execute your breath. It is usually easier to breathe through your mouth, inhaling through your mouth, and exhaling through your mouth and nose, as air resistance is lower.
The important thing is that you breathe most comfortably, and you can use your mouth and nose together. You will draw in air when your mouth is out of the water and expel it when it is in it.
- Wet the face: The student should not feel reticence to keep the face wet early. To do this, he must be asked to wet his face.
- Immerse and open the eyes: The next step will be to promote the immersion of the head, keeping the eyes open in water, preventing the oculofacial reflexes that usually lead to the closing of the eyes. These immersions will be with the head partially or immersed, for example, to push with the head a ball floating on the surface or retrieving objects from the bottom of the pool.
- This stage can be divided into two phases: Short-duration immersions (1-5 seconds) will be carried out in the first phase. In a subsequent phase, the execution of increased immersions is promoted. That is, an extension of the immersion time is proposed due to the student’s greater willingness to perform tasks.
- Exhalation in water: The student must understand that he will have to make active exhalations to exhale. Otherwise, the air cannot overcome the pressure exerted by the water. Asking the student to breathe out into the water or to blow a table tennis ball are examples of tasks that could be presented for this purpose. The duration of expiration should be gradually increased until complete expiration is possible.
- Rhythmic expiration: The underlying idea is to create a breathing rhythm, where the inspiratory phase will be performed at constant time intervals. For example, inhaling at one beat and exhaling at four beats will be a suggestion to promote rhythmic exhalations.
- Breathing rhythm: it is also necessary to synchronize breathing with the upper limbs. This is because it is the action of the upper limbs that, in any formal swimming technique, will determine the moment of inspiration, that is, the respiratory rate.
- Respiratory control: Respiratory control can be carried out frontally, through head extension, or laterally, through a lateral rotation of the head. Lateral inspirations are unilateral, that is, by rotating the head constantly to one side. Another alternative is bilateral inspiration, that is, alternating rotation to each side in consecutive inspiratory cycles. This type of lateral inspiration will be of particular interest as it can be a positive motor transfer to the inspiratory technique performed in the Crawl technique.